Many questions get asked by visitors to our church, those new in town, and friends and neighbors of our members. Here's a list of questions that may help you get to know First Christian Church better.
Who are the Disciples of Christ?
We are a mainline Protestant denomination (similar to Methodists and Presbyterians) with more than 700,000 members in the United States and Canada. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We believe the Bible is God's word, and we give each person the freedom to responsibly interpret the Bible for themselves. We celebrate communion weekly, and each church is autonomously governed (no one "higher up tells us what to do “ except God!). For more information on the denomination, you can visit disciples.org.
How big is the church?
Our church, founded in 1949, is growing into a healthy and vibrant congregation. We currently average 85 in attendance on Sunday mornings and have 150 members.
What time is your Sunday worship service?
Our worship service is at 10:45 a.m. This service includes special music by the choir and a children's time. We celebrate the Lord's Supper (communion) every Sunday, and all believers are welcome to participate.
What do you offer for children on Sunday morning?
Children are a special part of our congregation and we value them as full participants in the life of our church. Sunday School classes for children (preschool through the 12th grade) begin at 9:30 a.m. The morning worship service includes a Children's Sermon, provided by the Pastor, as well as the collection of the Noisy Offering. Following the Noisy Offering, younger children are invited to a Children's Worship and Wonder, a special worship service designed especially for them.
What do you offer for babies and toddlers?
Nursery care is provided for both infants and toddlers (to age 3) from 9:30 a.m. until the conclusion of the worship service each week. The nursery is located down the back right hall off of the gathering area. Our nursery has two cribs and toys and is staffed by trained members of the church who have made childcare their ministry.
What is Children's Worship and Wonder? What will my child do there?
Children's Worship and Wonder is a Montessori-influenced program which tells Bible stories using multi-sensory tools and offers children the opportunity to form responses to the stories out of their own life experiences. Children learn the meaning of church traditions and learn to prepare for participation in the church's worship practices. They learn to prepare themselves and quiet their minds in order to enter into worship and relationship with God, they learn how to talk with God and they learn stories from the Bible in a way that they can understand. Children receive a small snack (usually vanilla wafers or goldfish crackers and a small cup of juice) and also are given time to play with the stories, do art work, read books or other activities.
Who goes to your church?
We have quite a diverse group of people at First Christian Church. Our congregation spans all ages. You'll find just about every type of person here “ married, single, divorced, widowed “ professionals, workers, retired “ life-long Oak Ridge residents and those who have just recently moved to the area. But even more important than the kind of people who go here is the kind of people who are welcome here “ everyone!
Do I have to belong to your denomination to attend?
Not at all! In fact, many in our congregation come from a church background other than the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We have many former Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Baptists. We are what some refer to as a "patchwork church “ people with different church backgrounds "woven together by God's grace.
Do you have to dress up to attend your worship service?
No! Dressing up is not a requirement to worship with us at First Christian Church. Some do wear their "Sunday best but you're also likely to find others in slacks and a casual shirt, or even jeans. We believe the most important part about Sunday morning is showing up, ready to worship God.
What kind of things do you do in your worship service?
We strive to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere at First Christian Church. To begin, we share announcements and church news; we sing and listen to our choir perform beautiful music; we share the congregation's joys and concerns and lift them to God in prayer; we read the Bible and talk about it through the sermon; we collect an offering to further God's work; and we take communion weekly.
Can a visitor take communion?
Yes! We take communion each week as a reminder of God's gift to us in Jesus Christ. We believe in open communion “ that means that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is welcome to take communion, whether they are a church member or not.
Who is your minister?
Our Minister is Rev. Steven E. Sherman. Steve came to First Christian Church in March 2013 to begin his ministry with us. Steve has an undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida, and a Masters of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary. He has experience in the U.S. Peace Corps in Uganda, Africa, as well as ministry positions with Monterey Christian Church in Monterey, KY, and Union Church in Berea, Ky. Steve brings to the ministry an unparalleled level of personal integrity, a passion to see the church live out the values of God's kingdom, and a calm, yet strong pastoral presence. Steve has a unique ability to be both prophet and pastor, which is rooted in a wisdom beyond his years and a clarity of vision for ministry. Steve both lives and leads with the conviction that faith is a journey and that church is less about imposing a set of ideas on others and more about becoming a community where all are welcome. Steve is married to Erin, and they have two sons, Gabriel and Luke.
What kind of adult education/spiritual growth opportunities do you offer?
Adults have their choice of two Sunday School classes to join each week at 9:30 a.m. One class is a traditional Bible Study class and the other is called The Wired Word. The Wired Word class addresses current issues taking place in the news each week. The classes vary in size and ages but all are welcome to join. First Christian Church also offers a variety of opportunities for spiritual growth and fellowship outside of Sunday morning through groups like Disciples Women's Ministry (DWM), Disciples Men's Fellowship, and many other small groups.
What kind of outreach is the church involved in?
First Christian Church is active in a variety of outreach ministries, both here in Oak Ridge and around the world. One local outreach we strongly support is the Ecumenical Storehouse. We partner with other Churches in the Oak Ridge community to provide household goods and furnishings to families in need. Our global outreach is also an active part of our church. We help with a number of ministries around the world; providing blankets, going on mission trips, helping respond to natural disasters and financially supporting programs through "Week of Compassion" offerings. These are all areas in which we serve the global community.
With whom do I talk if I want to know more?
We would love to answer any questions that you may have about First Christian Church. If you didn't find what you were looking for on our website, please email or call the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-482-1481.