The Lord’s Day: Following the pattern of the New Testament, our church comes together regularly on the first day of each week. This is known in Scripture as the Lord’s Day, the day Jesus conquered death and rose from the grave. Since every day is a holy day under the New Covenant (Heb 4, Col 2:16-17, Ga 4:8-11), we do not see it as a Sabbath day.
House Churches: We meet in the morning, in NE Atlanta (Tucker). Since the early Church met mostly in private homes, the typical New Testament church was smaller rather than larger. Excavated Roman homes known to host church meetings could hold 65-70 people. Everything in the New Testament was written to churches where everyone knew everyone else. We believe that churches function best in a smaller setting. Thus, we think the ideal design is for each congregation (wherever it meets) to contain scores of people, not hundreds and certainly not thousands. Since the typical American home will not hold as many people as a Roman villa, we are open to creative alternatives. Another thing the Romans did not have to worry about was where to park all the cars that it takes to bring 70 people to church! We meet at the Pine Creek Center, 4320 Cowan Road, Tucker, Ga 30084.
Participatory Worship: Our time together begins with a time of Spirit led, open sharing and singing (per 1 Corinthians 14:25ff). There is no bulletin. Nothing is scheduled except the starting time of the first song (10:30 a.m.) and the ending time (11:25 a.m.). However, spontaneous participation does not preclude prior personal preparation. During this time brothers operate out of their spiritual gifts to edify the church. Sometimes we sing a lot, sometimes not much at all (we sing both hymns and praise songs). On one Sunday several brothers may bring short exhortations, while on other weeks no one will share. Sometimes we pray a long time, sometimes very little. All depends on how the Holy Spirit has gifted and prompted various brothers to prepare during the previous week. Any of the brothers may participate verbally, but everything said must be designed to edify the whole church (14:26). Only one person at a time is permitted to address the assembly, and everything is to be done in a fitting and orderly way. Anything said is liable to public cross examination and judgment. Ladies do not speak out publicly in the 1 Corinthians 14 phase of the meeting (14:33-35). In contrast, they speak quite a bit during the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper.
Teaching: We close the participatory worship phase of our gathering (10:30 a.m. – 11:25) with a time of in-depth teaching (from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15), usually led by one of our elders (though any brother gifted in teaching has the opportunity to do so). The teacher is scheduled in advance. The church is decidedly in alignment with historic Christian orthodoxy and ethics. Inquiring minds will want to know that most of us hold to Calvinism, new covenant theology, biblical inerrancy, and the Danvers statement on biblical manhood and womanhood. You can find out more about New Testament church life at www.ntrf.org. Our elders’ favorite statement of faith is the First London Baptist Confession of 1646. You don’t have to hold to these positions to fellowship with us, but understand that you will hear these things taught with enthusiasm on the Lord’s Day.
Children: Since we are a family integrated church, the children stay with us in the meeting. If a child gets noisy one of his parents will take him out until he calms down (we have a room dedicated for this purpose). If you have young children you may wish to bring along something to keep them happy, such as a drawing pad and crayons or quiet toys. Kids often sit on the floor next to their parents. We believe it is the job of the parents, not the church, to teach their children about Jesus. Thus, we purposely have no Sunday school nor children’s church.
Dress: Our dress code is casual and comfortable. Ladies wear anything from comfortable dresses to pants to capris. Modesty is always in fashion! Children usually end up playing outside after the meeting and therefore wear play clothes and shoes. Getting dirty is not uncommon for the kids.
The Lord’s Supper/Agapé (A Holy Meal): The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is an integral part of our gathering. Actually, it is the main reason we come together each week. As did the early church, we eat it as a true meal per 1 Corinthians 11b. It is potluck with everyone bringing gracious portions to share. It is an actual meal to typify the coming Wedding Banquet of the Lamb. It is a great time of fellowship and encouragement and very much like a wedding banquet rather than a funeral. However, it is not simply lunch. It is a sacred, covenant banquet. In the middle of all the food you will notice the one cup and the one loaf, representing the body and blood of our Lord, designed to remind Jesus of His promise to return and partake of the meal again with His people. All believers are free to partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine as they go through the food line. It begins around 12:30 p.m. Everyone helps with cleaning up the Pine Creek Center before he leaves.