Maybe you’re passing through from another congregation, maybe this will be your first time attending a church service, or maybe you’re somewhere in between. Wherever you are on that spectrum you are always welcome to attend any of NHCC’s weekly assemblies. Here are a few things you can expect:
- A Variety of Dress
Every Sunday we have men wearing suits & ties and some wearing t-shirts, and women wearing skirts & dresses or jeans. We do not have a formal or informal “dress code” at NHCC, though of course it should be appropriate and modest. We’re more concerned with you being there than how you show up, and how you choose to dress is between you and God. If you want to dress up, praise God. If you’re getting off work and come in your work clothes, praise God. If you don’t own a tie but still want to come, praise God. We pray you’ll be blessed by coming as you bless us by your presence.
- Acapella Singing
Something you’ll notice from the first start of our services are no instruments anywhere but a lot of song books. We sing acapella, which in fact is a Latin derived Italian phrase which means “in the style or as done in the chapel or church.” We choose to sing acapella as a form of worship when we come together at NHCC. We do this for several reasons. First, we take note that verses like Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 tell us to sing and address each other in psalms & hymns & spiritual songs. Additionally,from the example of the early church, of whom we strive to be like in many ways, respected historians & scholars like Everett Ferguson, John McClintock and James Strong tell us that it was 5 to 10 centuries after Jesus that the church began to incorporate instruments to accompany singing in public worship assemblies. Thirdly, the very activity of singing together as a body lends itself to a sense of unity and group participation that should be present when we assemble together. As we commune through the Lord’s Supper and prayer (more on that coming up) we can also commune by raising our voices together with nothing interfering with a group praising God together out of mutual love, submission, & love. Lastly, four part acapella singing we think sounds wonderful, and is an incredible testament to the instrument of the human voice fueled by a worshiping human heart, each designed by God for Himself.
Having said that, don’t worry if you can’t sing, can’t read music, or may feel self conscious singing. We don’t judge based on musical ability nor on how you sing (arms raised, standing still or anything in between). It is one of many forms of worship to God, and one that is glorifying to God to simply participate in.
- Communion/The Lord’s Supper
By the example of meeting on the first day of the week & the practices of the early church we participate in the Lord’s Supper, also called Communion or the Eucharist, every Sunday morning we assemble. We do this to, as Jesus commanded at the Last Supper, remember His body & blood sacrificed for our sins. The bread we use, often matzo or a homemade unleavened bread (no yeast) is just bread, and the grape juice just grape juice, but what they represent and what happens when we take them together means so much more. We remember Christ’s sacrifice, death, & resurrection as both a memorial of that sacrifice and a celebration that even though Christ did die He is alive, which is why we can rejoice as those who belong to Him today. We commune together, linked by the blood of Jesus as brothers and sisters under Father God as a sign that we are unified under Jesus and that we still believe in His death, burial, & resurrection. Feel no pressure to participate if you’re unsure about what things mean, but we invite anyone who is part of the Lord’s church to participate with us.
Each week we pass around collection plates for those gathered to give as they have been blessed. Giving is actually a spiritual discipline. God gave us Jesus, Jesus gave us His life & forgiveness of sins, the least we can do is give back in many ways. Many people give their time, their talents, & their lives to God. That’s a wonderful things, but in this world we function around another form of currency. What this means is as a congregation with a building, with a small staff of ministers, and with a benevolence ministry we want to keep going we need money to maintain these things. Our congregational finances come 100% from what is given to us on Sunday mornings, with occasional donations from people using our building. We publish at minimum quarterly financial statements in the bulletin to show where everything goes, and we don’t promote a minimum amount to give. We invite the congregation to give as they feel that can and ought to, and we are thankful for their generosity. If you’re visiting we invite you to give as there is truly great blessing in giving, but also understand should you not.
When we gather together we admit, we pray a lot. But we don’t feel that’s a bad thing. When you have a relationship with someone, how well would you get to know them if you only talked a few times a week or month? Prayer is communication with God, and it is something which we as a congregation share often through someone leading our thoughts one way or another. Jesus prayed sometimes through the night, thus we try to pray several times through our assembly. We won’t ask you to lead a prayer if you’re new, and we don’t do anything special besides close our eyes and bow our heads in order to focus on God & what’s being prayed for.
Every week we have a lesson right out of the Bible on a variety of subjects. Our minister Thomas often preaches around 25-30 minutes, but in fair warning on any given Sunday it may not be him that preaches. Thomas enjoys and makes an effort to have many men from the congregation preach, from each of our elders to our campus minister to just about anyone who might have an interest in preaching. We do this not because we’re casual about God’s Word, but because Bible study and talking about what you’ve found in your study is everyone’s job, and its something which we believe should be shared and open to all who have studied to best preach truth from the Bible. Usually Thomas will have an outline in the bulletin and often a PowerPoint, though he tries to vary how he communicates from group sermons to using songs, stories, a different seating arrangement, a variety of illustrations and personal stories. Our goal is to walk out of assembly either encouraged, convicted, educated, or some combination of those from what you hear from God’s Word, no matter who is preaching.
If you have any questions before or after joining us, feel free to contact one of us and we’d be happy to talk with you about anything service related or otherwise!