What are your services like?
- Our worship service is structured in the form of a conversation between God and the people: God greets us, we respond with praise.
- God’s Word shows us our sin, we confess that sin, and God assures us of his pardon.
- We praise him in song. This completes the worship portion of the service which will last for about 20 minutes. Our music is typically a blend of contemporary Christian music and traditional hymns.
- Following the praise and worship time, we come to God in congregational prayer… and this prayer time may take many forms.
- After which we open the Bible (prefer ESV version) to hear God’s instruction for us that day… and the Pastor then will spend the next 20-30 minutes expounding on the text.
- Following the message, the Pastor will give God’s blessing to the people, and we will once again respond to God with a closing praise song.
- Typically our services are over in about 60 minutes.
What style of preaching does the Pastor use?
- If you were to try and define his preaching style, exegetical preaching would probably best describe it.
- Exegetical preaching takes the passage and pulls from the passage the meaning of that text to the original hearers… and then makes the application of that truth to our lives today.
- Most of the time the Pastor opens God’s Word and preaches from the text often using other Biblical texts to further explain or enhance the message.
- Typically he will preach in series but the length of the series can vary from 3 or 4 weeks to much longer… for example when he preached through the book of Romans he was in that series for 26 weeks.
- Usually he will alternate between preaching on a book of the Bible to preaching more topically… but regardless his preaching will be exegetical.
- For this reason we encourage everyone to bring their own Bibles.
Is Sunday school available for my children?
- The Reformed churches have historically been very strong proponents of children’s education.
- We too take that responsibility very seriously.
- Sunday school is age dependent and the length of the class is modified also for each particular age.
- Sunday school happens during the church service so that those parents who prefer may have their children in Sunday school while they are in the service.
- However for those parents who prefer, children are always welcome in the church service regardless of age.
- We also have nursery for children up to 4 years old.
Does the church offer Catechism Classes and for what ages?
- Catechism is a lost discipline in too many churches today.
- Catechism does not replace Biblical studies but it is a critical supplement to one’s spiritual growth.
- In years past the catechism we used was the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the oldest and most recognized catechisms among Protestant churches and classes were taught by age or grade level.
- But starting in the fall of 2014 we are changing the way we do catechism. Starting then, we are having one catechism class for all ages, and instead of the Heidelberg Catechism we are using a new catechism known as The New City Catechism.
- This catechism was developed by Tim Keller and others and is a modern adaptation to the combined Westminster Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism.
- The beauty of this catechism is that it has been developed so that families can study it together.
- We think it is a very exciting approach to catechism and certainly a great tool for parents to use in training their children.
What are your churches’ views regarding baptism?
- The question of when to baptize has split churches over the years and needlessly so in our opinion.
- When we apply the water should not be the issue… what God promises to our children and what we promise to God about the raising of our children should be what matters most.
- In our congregation we have people who believe in what is frequently referred to as “believer’s” baptism; that is they wait until the child is ready to make a decision for Christ on their own, and then the child is baptized. In this case those parents would have their children dedicated as infants.
- As a church however we typically baptize our children as infants. We do so for several reasons: historically the church has always baptized infants going all the way back to the New Testament time; we also believe that infant baptism symbolically replaces the Old Testament practice of circumcision in which God put his mark of promise upon a people, and as in Old Testament times it was the parents who presented their child for circumcision to God thereby promising to raise that child to know and love their God, the same with infant baptism.
- Finally in infant baptism we celebrate not what the child has promised to God, but what God has promised to the child of believing parents…we believe that as children of believing parents the covenant promises of God are available to them.
- However we do not believe that baptism saves anyone, for at some point in that child’s life they must make a decision to serve God… and at that time we require that they make a public profession of their faith before the congregation.
- Regardless of which baptism style you prefer, rest assured it will not be an issue for us… for us the issue is what has God promised to us and our children, and what do we then promise to God. That is what is important about baptism.
Why did the congregation adopt their new vision statement?
- Where we welcome you to discover the life-changing love of God…
- This statement came about after our vision team wrestled for a full year over the question; what is God’s vision for this church? Our goal was to seek GOD’S direction for how he wanted us to carry-out ministry. We believe this vision statement answers that question. We break the vision statement down into three parts:
- Where we welcome you… we believe that a Christian who does not witness and welcome others is a contradiction in terms. Given what God has done for us, how can we not share his love with others? And we do that by welcoming them to join us at NVCC where together we experience our God in a very personal and real way.
- To discover… spiritual discovery and growth define our walk as children of God. A believer who is not growing in the grace and knowledge of God is simply not living out his faith. For this reason in addition to corporate worship and personal devotions, we encourage everyone to take advantage of bible studies, catechism classes, grow groups, evangelism and discipleship classes that we offer because they help us grow in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition every summer we offer a course specifically developed to help you become more familiar with your Bible.
- The life-changing love of God… A Christian is not a perfect person, he is not a sinless person, but he is a transformed person. If you want to be different, changed even, then we invite you to experience what God can do for you. At NVCC we celebrate the life-changing love of God every day. For through the redemptive work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, God changes us from those who were dead in sin, to those who are alive in Christ. Now that is something to celebrate!
What is your practice regarding Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper?
- Scripture gives very clear guidelines regarding who should and who should-not participate in the Lord’s Supper.
- We at NVCC follow scripture’s guidelines.
- Specifically there are three questions we each must answer before God: am I truly sorry for my sins, do I believe in Jesus Christ as my ONLY savior, and do I desire to live for him.
- If I can answer in the affirmative all three questions, then we believe you should join us in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
- However if all three of those criteria are not true of you, then we ask you to refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper. T
- Typically we observe the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month and at the Good Friday service.
What does it mean that NVCC is a “Reformed” Church?
- Reformed is a much mis-understood term, especially it seems among Protestant churches today.
- But simply put, there are three aspects to our being Reformed:
- First, we are part of the Christian Reformed Denomination. This is one of the oldest denominations in the United States and includes just over one thousand congregations across the United States and Canada with about 300,000 members.
- Second, we trace our history back to the Reformation of the 16th century. The Reformation saw men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, and many others, who called the church back to the Bible as the only foundation for faith and life. Pilgrims came to America because they discovered God anew in the Reformation and desired to serve him as they saw fit. And in coming to American they brought with them the Geneva Bible which contained the commentary of John Calvin, one of Europe’s leading Reformers. Being Reformed means that we share in this rich heritage.
- Third, being Reformed means that the sovereignty of God and the grace of God are two biblical teachings that define our ministry:
- First, we believe that God is sovereign over all things and all people. We serve a God who was never caught off guard, and who is always in control.
- Second, we celebrate the grace of God in our lives. The goodness of God is poured out on his people not because they deserve it, but because God in his grace chose to bless them.
- Being Reformed then means that we rest assured that God is in control of all things, and that he loved us so much that he pours out his grace on us every day.
Why does God allow suffering?
- We live in a world of suffering. Jesus told his disciples in John 16 that in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
- But suffering is difficult for us to understand and accept.
- God allows suffering in this world but we must always remember that it is not what he wanted for us in the beginning.
- God created man free from suffering and suffering came as the result of our fall into sin.
- Suffering is man-inflicted in that sense, not God inflicted.
- What is important however when we suffer, is that God has promised us two things:
- First, his power will overcome our suffering. The day will come when we suffer no more so all suffering is temporary.
- Second, in Romans 8 God promises to use our suffering for our ultimate blessing. There is no such thing as wasted suffering for the people of God.
- God will work in and through our suffering for his glory and our blessing. He promises it.
Is the Resurrection a believable historical event?
- It better be because Christianity stands or falls on the historical fact of the resurrection. So it is a very important question. Here are five reasons that together prove the resurrection:
- The early church from the very beginning believed in the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15 we find one of the earliest of all Christian creeds, written only 7-10 years after the resurrection, and in that creed we see that clearly the church at that time was convinced of the truth of the resurrection…they believed it because they knew it to be true.
- The location of the tomb of Jesus was well known. In fact the Jewish Sanhedrin posted guards in front of the tomb the scriptures tell us. So if any one, especially the Jewish Sanhedrin, wanted to disprove the resurrection story all they had to do was to roll away the stone.
- The third reason to believe in the resurrection is because of the story-line of the resurrection. All four gospels make the point that it was a group of women who first discovered the empty tomb. They would not have done so if they were simply trying to convince the people of that day that Jesus was alive. You see in Jesus’ day the testimony of a woman was deemed to be completely unreliable. In fact, women were not allowed to testify in court because they were believed to be so unreliable. The gospel writers wrote that the women discovered the empty tomb only because that was a historical fact.
- The fourth reason to believe in the resurrection is because even the enemies of Jesus did not dispute the fact of the resurrection. They could not deny the resurrection because they knew the fact of the empty tomb, so they simply created a story to try and explain it away.
- The fifth and perhaps best reason to believe that the resurrection is a historical fact is because of all the people that saw Jesus after his resurrection. In fact, if you dragged into court all the people who were eye witnesses to Jesus after the resurrection, and you gave each one of them 15 minutes to describe what they saw… you would have to set through 129 hours of testimony with every one of those people testifying to the exact same thing; namely that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and was raised to new life. The empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact.
What is this Open Forum @ 11:25a Sunday all about?
- Our open forum is a special time for us at NVCC.
- About 20 minutes after the service those who desire can return to the sanctuary and for the next 40 minutes participate in an open discussion about the message that day.
- People get to ask questions about what they perhaps did not understand or maybe dig deeper into a particular point.
- In the open forum, the pastor is not the answer-man, but just one of the people in the discussion… everyone is free to share as they want.
- In the open forum, we welcome and even cherish different viewpoints; our only rule is that we agree to use the Bible only as our proof-source.
- Open Forum is a great tool to stimulate us all to study the Bible more.
- Join us; I think you will really enjoy it. In fact for many of us at NVCC it is the best part of the service.