“Whoever joins us on a Sunday morning should be able to observe how Christians ought to worship.”
We aim to set a high precedent for what it means for Christians to have a strong desire to know God more intimately through a deepening study of His Word, the Bible. One of the primary ways we do this is through expository teaching. This simply means that there is a primary passage of Scripture that dictates the main point of the sermon. We usually put this to practice by a verse-by-verse teaching through books of the Bible or larger sections of the Bible. For Christians, this form of teaching allows the congregation to hold the preacher accountable to what is being taught, and it also holds the congregation accountable for taking it upon themselves to follow along through the teaching to be able to understand how the preacher is interpreting the Scripture passage.
The most common form of teaching among Christian churches is called “topical” teaching. While there is nothing inherently wrong with topical teachings, this style of teaching over time will reveal that particular church/pastor only teaches on a small range of issues (which tend to be whatever topics they prefer) and as a result, the members of that church will only grow to be as mature as what those few topics will bring them to. One of the greatest benefits of expository preaching for the entire church is that it forces the preacher to study and prepare beyond their own previous understanding of the Bible. As the preacher grows, so will the congregation.
Expository preaching is also beneficial for visitors and non-Christians because they should be able to observe Christians, who claim to love God, take His teachings seriously through wanting a deeper understanding of the Bible and how it immediately applies to their lives.
Family Worship Services:
Our worship services are family-style, which means that we do not offer children’s classes, childcare, or nursery care during the worship service (whereas many other churches do). The reason for this is simple; we have a biblical conviction that we would be doing Christian families a disservice by separating the family during one of the most precious times that a Christian family gets to share on a weekly basis. One of the best ways that we know how to support Christian parents is by helping them set the precedent that they are the primary caregivers of their children’s souls. God has placed parents in a unique relationship with their children where the parents get to be the primary source of evangelism, discipleship, and teaching for their children. Any ministry a church offers to youth and children should be viewed as supplementary to the role of their parents.
Family style worship services does not mean that we do not value special ministries that focus on youth and children, as we offer those opportunities during our Sunday School hour and through midweek activities and Bible studies.
Once again, family style worship services also set a healthy precedent for visitors and non-Christians who may join us by setting a biblical example for them of how Christians ought to worship.
Resources for parents
We also offer coloring pages and utensils for children to make use of during the worship services as well as a parent/child room with puzzles, coloring pages, and rocking chairs downstairs where the service is livestreamed on the television. This room is ideal for nursing moms and restless children who may need privacy and/or more space to move around.
At the same time, we have seen incredible change in children’s behaviors and family dynamics as parents learn to prepare their children leading up to Sunday mornings for family-style worship services.
Sunday School classes and Bible studies
The expository preaching on Sundays is the “meat and potatoes” of the spiritual diet at FBC Winthrop Harbor. With the entire congregation being able to benefit from a methodical study of God’s Word during the worship service, Sunday school classes and midweek Bible studies provide opportunities for Christians to grow in their understanding of God’s Word by attending classes that have more of a specific focus on pertinent issues in the church and community (children’s classes, marriage, parenting, finances, theology, doctrine, membership classes, Q&A opportunities, etc). These classes are also opportunities for deeper dialogue as another form of learning, as opposed to the monologue of an expository sermon.
We are thankful for our wonderful and qualified children’s teachers and Sunday school class teachers!
Small groups and fellowship groups
We always encourage our church-family members to join a small group or fellowship group (Sunday school classes and Bible studies also count) as a way of building a few-close relationships with others in the church body. We will all have needs that come up from time to time where it greatly benefits us to be closely connected with other Christians in the same local church. Not only will you benefit from joining one of these groups, but others will benefit too from getting to know you! You never know how God will use you in the lives of others when you make yourself available to build those special relationships.
By getting involved in these smaller group settings, it greatly increases the chances of everyone being cared for emotionally, spiritually, and even physically at times. There are many times throughout the year where people are in need of: encouragement, parenting help, childcare, physical care, and much more.
Again, the precedence for being involved in smaller communities also sets an example to our visitors and non-Christians of how Christians ought to worship and care for one another.