Here’s a brief message to members of the Alameda Church of Christ:
I was recently engaged in two conversations that I want to share with you.
The first conversation was with a group of people who attend churches outside the Church of Christ. They were lamenting the fact that worship music has become so loud and concert-emulating that nobody sang anymore. One mother said that her sons don’t know how to sing in church because that’s never been part of their church experience. They wander when the focus of worship shifted from glorifying God to “putting on a show.”
The second conversation was with a person who recently left her church home because she was “hungry for the Word” and “our church just doesn’t focus on the Word enough.” So, her family has been searching for a congregation that teaches the Bible faithfully and fully.
Those conversations made me reflect on how we at Alameda “do church.” And it affirmed to me who we are and what we’re doing. Please understand that I am not saying we’re perfect. We are flawed beings, so we don’t get everything right. But there are many things we do get right. Among them are participatory worship and immersion in the Word.
We worship in a style that encourages all people to sing praises to their God in their own voice. The Bible presents singing as a key worship practice and spiritual discipline. Singing is an important component in faith formation, and our worship style emphasizes that reality. We would say that it is not the only style of worship, and others would argue that it’s not the best style of worship; but it is a mode of worship that allows people to be active participants in worship who are engaged with their minds and bodies. We have no desire to put on a concert for attenders to consume; instead, we facilitate an environment where people sing the praises of God by adding their voice to a chorus of voices that are proclaiming the greatness of the King.
We also hold a high view of Scripture and devote a great deal of time to studying and sharing the Word of God. The Bible moves us to Christ-likeness, which should be the goal of every Christ-follower. It also reveals to us the character of God, our purpose, and life’s meaning. If a church is not immersing itself in the Word of God it will have a shallow foundation. Over time, that shallowness gets exposed. Alameda has a strong history of bold and effective preaching and teaching that is centered on the Bible and is intended to exalt the Messiah, not the man in the pulpit.
Again, the reason I am telling you this is not to pat ourselves on the back; it’s to point out that we have something that people are interested in experiencing. Many may have followed the crowds to the “church du jour” but, once the novelty wore off, many have been left wanting something deeper, something that resembles more of what’s observed in the church communities of the New Testament.
Like those churches in the New Testament, we have our problems. But we know that the solution to our problems is found in Jesus Christ – and that’s why our worship and teaching is designed to promote the Savior, not ourselves.
So even though we aren’t the biggest or hippest church in town, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to invite your friends to Alameda. We may be just what they are looking for.