An Introduction to the Lakeside Church of Christ
- Introduction--Who, Where & When?
- What Not to Expect
- What to Expect
- Additional Opportunities for Study
Introduction--Who, Where & When?
Who we are. The Lakeside church of Christ is a church family bound together by a common love for, and faith in, Jesus Christ. We are a simple New Testament church, pointing the way to the God of the Bible, and Jesus Christ as His Divine Son. We welcome anyone who would reach out to God for meaningful living, worship, and Christian service.
Our approach. We read in the Book of Acts about the growth of the first-century church as the apostles and other devoted disciples worked to establish congregations in cities throughout Palestine and other regions around the Mediterranean.
Each of these churches began in the same way: the people heard the gospel message and responded to it in faithful obedience.
These congregations sought to follow God's plan for their salvation, work, and worship. When they fell short of this goal, God inspired Paul or others to visit or write the churches to correct any problem and to encourage faithfulness. These letters make up the rest of the New Testament after the Gospels and Acts.
It is our desire to follow the example recorded in Acts of these churches in their faithfully following God's revealed plan. Where they did not follow faithfully, we may learn from their mistakes as explained and corrected in the epistles (letters).
In short, we seek to be a church following the pattern for Christianity God has laid down in the New Testament.
Back to Top of Page
Validity of our approach. Is it reasonable to let what was taught at the beginning of Christianity be the standard to define our faith and practice today? In other words, is it logical to study God's revealed word to determine what we should believe and do as Christians? We think so. Reason and rationality may be out of vogue in some religious groups today, but is there a viable alternative to using our reason to understand God's will?
God speaks to this through the prophet Isaiah (1:18-20):
"Come now, and let us reason together,"
Says the LORD,
"Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword."
Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
It is also reasonable to look to the Bible, the revealed Word of God, as our ONLY standard. In it God has revealed "everything pertaining to life and godliness . . ." (2 Peter 1:3), and it is the only standard "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). In short, the Bible is our only authority for our faith and practice and our relationship in Christ to God the Father.
Following the pattern that God laid down for Christianity in the Bible is practical. Individuals and groups unknown to one another have come to similar conclusions about salvation, the church, and worship simply by studying their Bibles. One needs more than the Bible to become a Roman Catholic, a Methodist, or a even a Baptist, but it doesn't take anything but the Bible to become a New Testament Christian.
This approach is the only truly ecumenical approach. Unity among believers in Christ can only be attained on the basis of the Bible only. Unity will never come through "agreeing to disagree" on man-made doctrines.
Back to Top of Page
Mission statements. Much is made today about creating mission statements to focus, organize, and/or mobilize a congregation. However, God has already given His followers mission statements for the church as a whole to be carried out by individual members, and for each individual as he or she seeks, builds, and maintains a personal relationship with God in Christ.
To the church, Jesus gave this mission statement: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" Matthew 28:19-20
This statement describes the main functions of any New Testament church: to reach out to others--"go make disciples", to bring about the obedience of faith--"baptizing them", and to cause growth in Christ--"teaching them to obey all that I have commanded."
To the individual, Jesus gave these mission statements: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39).
These "mission statements" impinge upon every facet of our lives as Christians: worship, evangelism, service, discipleship, fellowship.
We see the early church carrying out these "mission statements" from its very beginning:
"Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.' And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common. . . ." Acts 2:38-44
The Word of God is said to be the seed of the Kingdom (Luke 8:11). We believe when that seed is planted in the hearts of men today that it will produce the same fruit that it did in the early church.
Back to Top of Page
Our worship. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24With this in mind, our worship is simple and warm, according to the pattern revealed by God in the New Testament. We commune rewardingly with the Father, and edify one another as we participate actively in each expression of worship: Prayers are led by men of the congregation, offered as their heartfelt expression to God; congregational, a cappella singing furnishes praise to God and loving encouragement to others; observance of the Lord's Supper every Sunday provides communion with the crucified and resurrected Savior; teaching from God's Word is given a prominent place in each worship assembly, with an emphasis on its relevance today as we seek to be a New Testament church.
A Self-governed, independent body. We have no earthly, central headquarters to whom we must answer. This congregation is an autonomous church of Christ, with Christ alone as head. We do, however, enjoy a spiritual closeness to other churches of Christ throughout the world. We are free to study, teach, and work as our consciences, directed by the Bible, lead us.
Where and when we meet. The church meets at 13021 Julian Avenue in Lakeside, California each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for Bible classes for all ages. Worship services follow at 10:30 a.m. Sunday evening at 6:00 the church meets again for another period of worship. Additional studies are held each Wednesday evening at 6:30.
In addition to our regularly scheduled services, other meetings are held from time to time both at the building and in various homes as the need dictates. Usually these home meetings are for additional fellowship or studies of the Bible on specific needs. In these ways we attempt to impress upon all who will listen the message of the gospel of salvation.
We believe there are many in this community who would like to take advantage of numerous opportunities provided by this congregation for learning how to be a New Testament Christian from the Bible. Perhaps you have intended to visit our worship assembly or Bible classes, but hesitate to visit a church unless you know what it will be like when you go. Perhaps we can help you know what to expect when you visit one of our services.
Back to Top of Page
What Not To Expect
Don't expect to be embarrassed. You will visit us as a welcome and respected guest. No person will approach you in such a way as to annoy. You will be met with a smile and a warm greeting, and be asked to fill out a visitor's card so that we can have a record of your visit.
Don't expect to be entertained. We offer no bands nor talent shows. Our purpose is to worship God in the way He has directed, since He is the audience and we are the participants.
Don't expect to be begged for your money. The church depends upon the local members only for financial support. You will not be expected to contribute, but should you choose to, the money will be used to carry on the work of teaching the Bible in this community.
Don't expect a show of pageantry. We are not interested in impressing anyone with our meeting place nor are we seeking to impress with ritualism or sensationalism.
Back to Top of Page
What To Expect
Expect the worship to be simple and devout. Since our purpose is to be governed in all acts of worship by the teachings of the New Testament, our worship consists of only those elements which were part of the worship of the early church. We sing, pray often, partake of the Lord's Supper each Sunday, teach God's word, and give as we have been given to by our Lord. We seek to hold and demonstrate the attitude Jesus enjoined when he said, "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
Expect congregational, a cappella singing. Since the New Testament instructs Christians to sing in worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), we encourage everyone to sing. Our singing is beautiful and spiritually stirring when, unaided by musical instruments (a cappella), all worshippers sing and praise God together. Why a cappella? 1) This is the way the early Christians sang. (Again we learn from the example of the New Testament church.) 2) From creation: The human being is the ideal worship instrument. 3) A cappella music expresses unity in the assembly, and 4) focuses attention on God without mechanical distraction.
Expect to find Christians only. We wear no distinctive name that would divide Bible believers. We submit to no religious authority other than the inspired Scriptures. Thus, by following only the teachings of Christ and His apostles, we are simply Christians (Acts 11:26) just as the disciples were in the first century.
Expect to find a friendly spirit and atmosphere. We believe that friendliness is a natural attribute of God's people. Our visitors, who always receive a warm welcome, appreciate the courtesy and cordiality of these Christians. We truly hope that you will accept our invitation to visit us soon. It will be our pleasure to have you. And we sincerely believe you will be benefited by coming. So why not decide now to visit our services?
Back to Top of Page
Free Bible Correspondence Course (non-denominational). In the privacy of your own home, using your own Bible, and at your own convenience, you can survey the major themes of the Bible. A correspondence course comes to you one lesson at a time. When you have studied the lesson, complete the open-Bible test at the end, send it in, and it will be graded and returned to you with the next lesson. This procedure continues until you have finished the eight-lesson course. You will then receive an attractive "Certificate of Completion." More advanced courses are available free at your request. To enroll, contact us, and the first lesson will be promptly sent to you.
Back to Top of Page
Bible Classes taught in your home. In approximately five one-hour sessions, you can learn the major theme of the Bible. Full color video tapes with professional narration provide the basis for a survey through the entire Bible and its major theme. The classes are presented by trained instructors and are offered as a free service to families and individuals, regardless of religious backgrounds or preferences. These lessons seek to meet the spiritual needs of the community and to encourage a proper response to God and His will.
If you have any questions regarding Bible teachings on any subject or our practice or teachings, please come visit our assembly, or contact us, or leave a question in our Question Box. We will be happy to provide a Bible answer for your questions. We urge you to study the Bible for yourself to see what it teaches. We would be happy to assist you in your search for truth.