What to Expect
If you have visited other churches, you may notice some variations from this description, because we as a congregation are autonomous (independent). We are not associated with any denomination or organized religious group. Let us walk you through a typical Sunday worship service:
As you arrive at Central, there is ample parking across the street at the Lufkin Civic Center and you will find the doors always open during our service times. The worship service is located in an area we refer to as the auditorium, just inside the main entrance. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose. We have a private, secluded, and quiet room connected to the back of the auditorium with rockers for nursing mothers as well as a staffed “playful place” for babies and toddlers to be attended to while you worship.
One of the unique things about us is that our worship music is “a-cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. We simply want everyone to worship God in the purest way possible, focused on praise to our heavenly Father (I Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 5:18,19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12).
We have song books available on the backs of the pews but we also project the lyrics to our worship songs on a large screen at the front of the auditorium. You may notice a few of our members holding microphones while singing. Our congregation has many talented singers and they help those of our congregation who do not read music to more easily hear their “part” of the arrangement. Please do not feel left out by this as we invite everyone to participate.
We hope you will find the singing worshipful and meaningful.
Spoken prayers are a large part of our gatherings. We believe in the power of prayer, and we often pray for specific needs and requests.
Who preaches is not as important as what is preached. Our preacher does not have a special title. He is not referred to as Pastor or Reverend.
He does not wear any special clothing that sets him apart. He is one of us. The reason for this is our belief that all are equal in the priesthood of believers (Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:26-28; I Peter 2:5,9).
The lesson will likely be from 25 to 35 minutes in length. We hope you find it refreshingly Bible-centered.
Inviting worshippers to make a commitment for Jesus will be a part of the sermon. At the close of the lesson, the speaker will “extend an invitation.” He will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings. Someone will be at the front to meet and minister to any who respond.
Do not feel ill-at-ease during this invitation. You will not be singled out in any way. There may be several who respond, or none. Some may respond for baptism, some to confess sins, some to ask for prayer for a specific need, or some to “identify” with this congregation.
If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during the service. The baptism will be by immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2;12) and for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper will be included in the worship service every Sunday. The reason for this practice is our desire to follow New Testament teaching. During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus. Each participating person will break off a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays filled with small cups of grape juice will be distributed. The cups will be referred to as the “fruit of the vine,” symbolizing the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Each participant will drink the contents of one cup.
At Central, baptized believers are encouraged and expected to participate in the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. If you choose not to participate, do not be embarrassed. Feel free to just pass the plate or tray to the person next to you. This Supper is the original way of remembering the sacrifices Jesus has made on our behalf.
Each Sunday, baskets will be passed throughout the auditorium in order to collect the weekly financial offering (I Corinthians 16:1,2). As our guest, you are not expected to make a contribution. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection basket on down the row.
You can expect to find people at Central from a broad spectrum. Like many groups, we are diverse — coming from varied backgrounds and at different levels of understanding and different stages of spiritual growth.
We do not claim to know everything, but we are learning. We do not do everything right, but we are improving. We do not always treat each other as we should. We have not arrived — we are on a journey together.
We were not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or personal righteousness. We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus (Mark 2:17; Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 1:7; I John 1:7).
We were brought together by a common goal. We want to be God’s people, organized and worshipping according to God’s plan. We want to be Christ’s church. That is the reason we can worship together, stick together, and with God’s help, accomplish some things that make a difference for Him. You will not have to look very far to find our shortcomings. Here at Central, you will find people who love Jesus and love the Bible. We hope you will join us in our pursuit of Him and His Word this Sunday.