What to Expect When Visiting CCF
When you visit CCF, it might be a little different than what you’ve experienced before. Maybe, it will feel right at home. Either way, here is some information that we hope you find helpful when visiting CCF.
We are blessed to have a variety of ages and backgrounds in our church each week, and we believe this helps us appreciate the beauty of the body of Christ. Also, as a family integrated church who believes that children are a heritage and a blessing from the Lord, we tend to have a lot of little ones in our fellowship! We are a smaller body, with less than 100 people in attendance each week. Dress is casual, typically jeans/slacks and a golf or dress shirt for the men. Skirt and blouse is common for the ladies.
As a family integrated church, we worship together as families, so our children sit with us during the entire service. While the children generally learn to sit quietly and listen (we encourage family devotions to help train children in this way), some youngsters invariably make a little noise, particularly the babies. Since we view this as the sound of God’s blessings, this is no problem! When you visit, be prepared for a little extra noise, and don’t worry if your children are the ones making it!
As people arrive, there is much greeting of one another and church preparation. We then gather together (parents and children) for a brief time of introspection, followed by an opening prayer, to prepare our hearts for worship.
We sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together for the purpose of expressing our adoration to the Lord, and to give glory and honor to His name! Piano or other accompaniment is optional, and often provided by many of our talented youth. We tend to favor hymns, but also sing praise and worship songs.
A passage of Scripture is usually read by someone in the congregation at this point. This reading is often selected to support the sermon text and may be a short passage or an entire book or Psalm.
After singing, we enter into a time of corporate prayer where any believer can participate as the Holy Spirit moves each one of us.
Preaching at Cornerstone is primarily expository, meaning that it seeks to “expose” the true meaning of the text. We generally step through a section or book of the Bible verse by verse, section by section, but occasionally preach on a theme. With a plurality of elders there is plenty of variety in style and approach. Sermons last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. All preaching is driven by the Gospel, the Bible’s main message of God saving sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We desire to simply but powerfully preach the word of God.
We believe it is appropriate to offer the “breaking of bread” every time we gather for corporate worship, as this appears to have been the practice of the early church (Acts 2). Any baptised believer who is a member in good standing in an orthodox Christian church may participate in communion. As it is often difficult to see the fruit of conversion in a young child, children do not participate until they have been baptized. Visiting families may prefer to discuss these topics with the elders before their first communion.
Before communion is given by one of the elders, the heads of household are given a few minutes to prepare their families for communion, and pray with them. Following communion, we usually sing the doxology and close with benediction and a prayer.
We have a weekly pot luck lunch served immediately following the service. Visitors are not asked to bring food, as everyone usually brings a little extra for this purpose. Fellowship is very important in our congregation, we strive to make good use of our time together.
We regard fellowship and ‘conferencing’ as vital to the life of the church. Most members stick around for several hours to fellowship with one another. This seems to have been the practice of the early church as well. It is during these times when relationships are forged. It is also a great time to discuss the sermon, discuss Biblical themes, ask questions about Cornerstone, or to share burdens and pray for one another. The children enjoy this time very much, so expect them to want to return every week!
Occasionally we call a time of conferencing where the congregation gathers after lunch to discuss, dialog and debate vital issues of doctrine, practice or preference. Out of these conferences have come some of the practices that make us who we are.