Q: What is Sunshine Church of Christ?
A: We are a group of Christians trying to restore in this twenty-first century the essence of the original church as it existed in the first century. We strive to go back beyond modern day denominations to the original plan Jesus gave His church, following only the Bible as the one true authority on how God should be worshiped and served and how we should live our lives.
Q: What denomination is the Church of Christ? Where are your headquarters located? Are you part of the United Church of Christ?
A: We do not conceive of ourselves as being a denomination. We see ourselves simply as members of the church which Jesus established through His death on the Cross and resurrection, the church described in our New Testaments. We are a self-ruled and independent congregation with allegiance to Christ and the Bible. Our congregation is governed locally by a plurality of elders selected from among our members. These men meet the specific qualifications for this office as mentioned in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 and I Peter 5. There are also deacons who meet the biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3. We have no earthly headquarters; there are no governing boards – neither district, regional, national, or international. We are not affiliated with The United Church of Christ or the International Churches of Christ.
Q: Are you a friendly congregation? Are you a “big” church? How old are most of your members? What is the ethnic makeup of your church?
A: You can expect a warm, friendly welcome when you visit us. Friendliness is the natural response of a Christian to anyone he or she meets. We believe that one of the basic foundations of Christianity is love and friendship toward our fellow man. When you visit us, you will be considered an honored guest. You will be greeted with kindness and courtesy. Our Sunday morning attendance usually averages between 250 and 275 and spans all ages and walks of life. Our congregation is particularly blessed with children. Our members include farmers, teachers, businessmen, housewives, students, doctors, lawyers, etc.. We are a predominantly white congregation, however people of all races and ethnic background are most welcome.
Q: What do you do during your worship services? Do you “get in the spirit” or speak in tongues?
A: Our worship services are based on the worship described in the New Testament. Jesus taught that worship was to be spiritual and according to truth. Our worship to God includes the Lord’s Supper, singing, prayer and teaching the Bible. You can expect our services to be conducted with reverence and order. We strive to engage in all worship and service with decency and order. We try to avoid extremism in worship. Neither ritualism nor emotionalism is characteristic of our worship. You can expect our worship to be spiritual, reverent and orderly.
Q: Are you an “instrumental” or an “a cappella” church?
A: Singing is a prominent part of our worship service. One of the things most frequently noticed about the church of Christ is that we sing without musical instruments. A cappella singing is the only music used in our worship. Simply stated, we are seeking to worship according to the instructions of the New Testament. There are eight verses in the New Testament that deal with music in relationship to praising or worshiping the Lord. All of them mention singing; none of them mention playing musical instruments. As a matter of history, the Christian church did not use instruments in worship until near the time of the Reformation. “A cappella” means “in the manner of the chapel.” Since we are striving to restore the church as Jesus and His Apostles gave it to us, we leave our musical instruments at home when we come to the assembly. Many who visit with us are impressed with the beauty and spirituality of the music during our services. Why not come see and hear for yourself?
Q: What about public prayers?
A: You can expect public prayers during our worship. Prayer is a vital source of strength in a Christian’s life. We pray often in private and with one another. When we come together in assembly, prayer is a very important part of our worship. In keeping with an orderly fashion, we are led in prayer by a brother who speaks his prayer publicly, and the rest of us follow him silently as we pray together. This allows us to worship reverently and orderly. It also avoids noise and confusion.
Q: Do you collect an offering during the worship service?
A: We do not collect an offering from our members during the worship service. Boxes marked “Offering” are mounted on the wall in the foyer of our building for our members to make contributions at their convenience. The money contributed by our members is overseen by the elders and deacons and is used for evangelism and benevolence both locally and around the world. As our guest, you are not expected to contribute to these works. However, if you want to give, that is fine and we thank you. On rare occasions we may pass plates/baskets through the congregation to collect extra money to attend to some special need that has come to our attention. Our guests are not expected to contribute to these collections unless they have a desire to do so.
Q: Do you take communion? How often?
A: An important time during the worship service is the time we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. We observe communion (frequently called “The Lord’s Supper” or “Eucharist”) every Sunday. This is done because of what Jesus taught. He told his disciples to eat “the bread” which commemorates the sacrifice of His body on the Cross for our sins. He also told the disciples to drink “the fruit of the vine” to remember the blood that He shed for our sins. Trays containing unleavened bread and grape juice are passed around during our worship services and all Christians present are invited to partake of the elements of the table. We do not forbid nor compel anyone concerning their participation in the Lord’s Supper; it is the choice of each individual.
Q: What are your teachings based upon?
A: You can expect Christ-centered, Bible-based teaching in our classrooms and from the pulpit. We believe the Bible to be inspired of God and His final and authoritative word to Christians, the church and all people. Our Bible class teachers usually teach directly from the Bible. The sermons you will hear will be supported and drawn from the Bible. Most will include scripture references and passages read directly from God’s word.
Q: What other services can you provide?
A: We support a number of ministries as a natural extension of our beliefs. These ministries are detailed elsewhere on our website and include services for people of all ages and walks of life. As one of our elders expressed it, “we are a ‘full-service’ congregation.” If there is any way we can help you, please do not hesitate to approach one of our elders, ministers or deacons about it.
Q: Why are you named “Sunshine” Church of Christ?
A: Most churches of Christ identify themselves based on the location of the building where they meet. When our congregation was formed in 1912, the members met in a local school building called “Sunshine School.” We have since moved to our own building a few miles to the north on S. R 335 in front of the county airport, but we are still located in the area that is referred to as “Sunshine” by local residents. Sunshine Grange Hall is just up the road from our building and the Sunshine school building is a couple of miles to the south. We have been using the name “Sunshine church of Christ” for over a 100 years now and have found no good reason to change it.
Q: Do you have an “invitation” or “altar call” during your services?
A: Yes, there is an “invitation” given at the end of most of our services. The Bible teaches that becoming a Christian requires more than just attending worship services. The Apostles of Christ taught that becoming a Christian involved some basic steps. First, you must believe the good news you have heard about Jesus – that He was and is the Son of God, He died for our sins and was raised from the dead, all so that we could have Him as our savior and inherit eternal life. Next, you must repent of your sins ( resolve to stop committing sin ) and confess your belief in Jesus publicly. Finally, you must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of your sins. The invitation to become a Christian is normally followed by a song. At that time those who wish to do so may walk to the front of the auditorium and make their spiritual need known. No one will force or badger you into becoming a Christian. Only you can make that decision. We encourage people to study their New Testaments before they become Christians so that they understand what they are doing and what being a Christian is all about. In about five or six sessions we can give you the basics so that you are making an informed decision about Christ.
You do not have to wait for a Sunday service to become a Christian. Once you have decided to become a Christian, we will gladly hear your confession of faith and baptize you on any day of the week and at any time, day or night.
If you have questions about anything said or done during our services, or if there is anything we can do to help you, please ask one our members about it or call the church office and ask for one of our elders or ministers.