Visiting a new church for the first time can be a bit awkward, so we'd like to put your mind at ease by letting you know what to expect!
Blue Ridge is modern--that means that you're welcome to wear comfortable, everyday clothes when you visit. Our current facility is shared with a weekend dance group, so the decor is different than most churches you've probably attended! We offer coffee, juice, and snacks for adults and kids, because we know it's tough to get everyone ready on Sundays and sometimes breakfast "falls through the cracks." We embrace family-integrated worship, in which children of all ages take part in the service along with their parents. This isn't a "modern" idea, really, it's how God's Church traditionally worshiped, but it seems to have become a foregone conclusion that children "do something else" while parents are worshiping. We believe kids learn best sitting beside moms and dads who can explain the service and help guide them to participate. We seek to be faithful--that means we trust the Bible as our guide for all we believe and do, and we emphasize the Gospel above all else in our worship and teaching. We believe that being faithful means much more than being traditional--it means looking to God as the ultimate standard for whatever we do together in His name. And we seek to be friendly--not just in a backslapping, superficial way, but in ways that go much deeper. Often, guests and occasional attenders tell us they've been amazed at the care and concern others in the congregation have expressed for them and their families. Blue Ridge Church wants to care about you because God cares about you. We want to love and serve one another well in Jesus' name, and we believe you'll find yourself very welcome here, whether you're a lifelong Christian or exploring the claims of Christianity for the first time.
Here are some elements common to our worship services:
Psalm Reading...because God commands us to worship Him with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, we incorporate all three categories into our worship time. The Psalms are Biblical expressions of prayer and praise that are just as applicable to our lives today as they were to those of God's people millenia ago.
Corporate Prayer...praying together with one person voicing a general prayer to which we each contribute from our own hearts. Biblically, prayer is a central part of worshipping God and provides opportunity to confess our need for God, bring our own concerns before Him, and pray for God's care and provision for those of others.
Singing...we sing songs of praise and worship to God, seeking both to please His heart and to remind ourselves of the deep truths of our faith, all while bearing witness of His glory.
Preaching...as indicated above, our preaching is mostly expository--that is, we move through sections of Scripture, learning to understand them in their proper context and learning how the Bible progressively reveals God's nature and plan to mankind. Our goal is always to reflect the truth contained in God's Word as plainly and meaningfully as possible.
Response in Song...again, hymns and spiritual songs help us give thanks to God for the perfect light we receive from His Word, the Bible, and praise Him for Who He is.
Communion...usually we share together in Communion once a month, near the end of the service. Communion at Blue Ridge Church is open to all who have a testimony of salvation by God's grace. Simple unleavened bread and wine are shared (with nonalcoholic grape juice available for those who have medical or addiction concerns) as we celebrate the sacrifice of Christ on behalf of God's people and the promise of God's special grace conveyed in doing so.
Catechism...each Lord's Day, we share together a reading from one of the historic Reformed confessions of faith, such as the Heidelberg Catechism, Apostle's Creed, Nicean Creed, Westminster Confession of Faith, etc. This is not a worship of Church tradition, but a simple way in which God's people have recited and affirmed their faith since time immemorial.
Benediction...this is the usual close of our service, a simple prayer spoken by a pastor, asking God's grace and bidding peace to God's people.
Fellowship Meal...while not an official part of the worship service, a simple shared meal is usually available right after the service, for anyone who's able to stay. Members usually bring a dish to share, but visitors are always welcome to join us! There's more than enough food to go around, and it's a great opportunity to get to know your brothers and sisters in Christ. We think it's significant that Jesus' ministry often centered around sharing food and drink with others, one of the most personal ways to interact and a time to celebrate the bounty of God's goodness to us!
At Blue Ridge Church, we have two ordained teaching elders, Steve Hawkins and Josh Holbrook, who share primary preaching duties, as well as an administrative elder, Russell Taylor, who also preaches on occasion. Likewise, God has blessed us with numerous talented Bible teachers among our congregation members.
Baptism may be celebrated either within the context of the Lord's Day service or in a separate celebration, but always in the presence of the church family.