What To Expect When Visiting Southport
What kind of people are at Southport?
Southport is comprised of a wide variety of people who come from different walks of life. We celebrate our diversity and the way that God uses our differences to complete each other.
- We are a group of imperfect people. We each have our own weaknesses and struggles. If you are looking for the perfect church full of perfect people, Southport is probably not for you. But, if you are looking for a place to join a group of people to worship God and become like Jesus, you have found the right place.
- We believe that unity is something very important to God, and we make every effort to remain united with each other, with God's word being our standard. No two people will believe exactly the same thing on every issue and we promote the freedom that God has given us to come to know Him and understand His will.
- You probably won't find anyone at Southport who is exactly like you, but you will find a group of people on a journey together working towards a common goal of becoming like Jesus and bringing others to Him, who are interested helping in each other.
What is a worship assembly like at Southport?
- Location - We have a Sunday morning worship assembly which is held in the Auditorium. Sit wherever you would like. Most members arrive about 15 minutes before the scheduled time, but it's ok if you're running late.
- Music - The music is chosen and directed by our song leader, and everyone sings together “a cappella” (or without instruments). We believe you will be amazed and inspired by the blending of voices in worship and praise to God. The words and notes of the songs can be found in the songbooks found in the pew racks.
- Lord’s Supper (Communion) - Each Sunday we celebrate the death and life of Jesus with Communion. By eating unleavened bread and drinking grape juice in this weekly observance. We celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Trays with unleavened bread and small cups with grape juice will be passed down the pews to everyone. The bread and grape juice that are served symbolize to Christians the body and blood of Lord Jesus’ sacrifice. If you wish, you may participate, or just pass the tray down the pew to the next person.
- Contribution - Each week we also encourage our members to contribute money to the church at Southport. This is used to support the work of the Southport church and provide for the physical and spiritual needs of Christians here and around the world who may be in need. We do not expect our guests to give unless you want.
- Bible Reading - Our worship time includes public reading of a portion of the Bible as a means of teaching us, giving us encouragement, and guiding us in how we are to live. The scriptures read bring together a common theme central to the sermon focus for that day. We believe that God's Word is living and active and capable of impacting our lives today.
- The message - The speaker of the day, will speak to us about the relevance of God and His word to our lives today. You can expect to hear stories of faith, topical lessons and lessons in which you are challenged to follow Jesus in your daily life.
- Response - Following the message, an invitation is extended to anyone who wants to respond. This may include requesting a public or private prayer with an elder or minister who is standing at the front or in the back of the Auditorium. The response may be to confess faith and put Jesus on through baptism. A desire to become a member at Southport can also be made known at this time, or any other time.
- Prayer - The congregation participates in thoughtful, public prayers to God in the name of Jesus Christ. We know that prayer is an important part of our lives together as a church and as individuals.
- What to Wear - People at Southport wear all different kinds of clothes to worship assembly. We would like to encourage everyone to dress modestly, out of respect to others and in accordance with God's word. Please remember that our worship assembly is a time to worship The Almighty God and we ask that everyone keep this in mind when choosing your appropriate attire.
What will be expected of me when I attend?
- If you would like to simply observe the assembly that is totally acceptable. If, on the other hand, you feel comfortable joining us in singing, prayer, eating the Lord's Supper, or responding to the invitation, we encourage you to do that. At times during the service, we may stand for a song, prayer or scripture, and you may stand or sit, whatever you feel comfortable doing.
- While we encourage our members to participate in the contribution, we do not expect our guests to make a gift, but you are welcome to do so.
When arriving at the building:
- Parking - As our guest, please feel free to park anywhere you wish, We have spaces for anyone needing handicapped access and our elderly members or guests.
- Welcome - At the entrance we have people who serve as greeters that will greet you and help you with any question or special need you have.
- Church News Bulletin - Each week, a bulletin is distributed by the greeters as you enter the building. Also available is a worship order placed on the boards to the right and left of the pulpit so that you will know what’s happening.
- Worship - If you are arriving for one of our worship assembly (10:30am), you can enter the Auditorium anytime, which is located in the center of our building, and take a seat anywhere you would like to sit. Most people arrive 5-15 minutes before the assembly is scheduled to begin, but it's ok if you're running late. One of our greeters can help you find a seat.
- Bible Classes - If you are arriving for our Bible Class hour (9:30a.m.), you may attend any class that you like. Classes are available for all ages, including children (2 year olds through elementary), youth (junior high and high school). The adult class meets in the auditorium greeters can assist you in locating a classroom for you or your children. Our classes are designed to help us learn God's will and discuss the practical applications of the Bible in our lives.
- Restrooms are located in the in the main lobby. Go to the back of the Auditorium, and turn left. They can also be accessed from the classroom hallway. You can also ask one of our greeters for directions to the restrooms.
What if I need someone to counsel or pray with me?
- During each worship assembly, an invitation is extended to anyone who would like to meet with either an elder or minister for prayer. Someone will be available in the front and in the back of the auditorium, as well as the lobby during this time.
- You may also ask any elder or minister before or after the worship service to discuss a special need or arrange a time to counsel with them. If you don’t know any of the elders or ministers, just ask anyone to introduce you to one. You may also call the church office during the week (317) 787-7059 or email us.
How do I become a member?
- Make sure you understand and believe the gospel – The good news of what God accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Christian message. If the meaning of this great event is not clear to you, please speak with one of the members, minister, deacons or elders. Personal studies can be done with you and/or your family and friends at any time.
- Turn to God, Acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and Be Baptized – Turning away from sin and toward God (repentance), and embracing Jesus as your leader and Lord are key responses to the gospel. Baptism (immersion) with faith in God is another vital response. In baptism, we are connected with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Titus 3:4-7; Romans 6:3-4). When we respond to the gospel with sincere repentance, an earnest confession of Jesus as Lord, and baptism with faith in him, he forgives our sins and adopts us as his children. If you have already responded in these ways, make it known that you would like to speak to the elders about placing your membership with us. If you’d like to discuss or study with us further, or if you need help with them, please see one of the evangelist or one of the others mentioned above.
- Make a Commitment - When you become a member, we ask you to make a commitment to God, to yourself, and to the other members at Southport to learn to live in love and to become what God has planned for you. We will in turn commit to walk side-by-side with you on this journey to become like Him.
- What if I just want to Worship? - You are welcome to come and worship God with us as often as you like, for as long as you choose, even if you don't want to become a member. If you ever want to talk about what it means to be a member at Southport, contact one of our elders or the evangelist.
After I become a member, whats next?
Some of the ways you can broaden and deepen your relationship with God, and the other Christians at Southport. While this is an incomplete list, and some things may not be for all people, these things are a good place to start.
- Pray – talk to God and tell Him about your needs, your joys, your struggles, your triumphs and your tragedies. He is waiting to hear from you, and will bless you in ways you may not expect.
- Read the Bible – We believe that the Bible is God’s instructions to us, with much wisdom for successful living today.
- Attend Bible Class and Worship Regularly - Decide immediately that you will make a habit of attending worship services and Bible class. Regularly attending gives you more knowledge of God’s purpose for you, and gives others the opportunity to meet you and you the opportunity to know them. Building friendships takes time and some risks, so make the decision to be consistent in your attendance to go beyond your comfort zone a little in an effort to get to know others.
- Make Use of Your Talents - Make a commitment to participate in at least one area of work at Southport where you can use your God-given gifts to serve God, the believers at Southport, and our neighbors here in the area. If you need help in determining where you might fit best, get with one of our deacons, Mark Bemis, Carrell Butcher, Will Jones, Tim Kilgo, John McCauley, or Tony Thetford. Becoming like Jesus means becoming a servant. If your commitment to Southport amounts to nothing more than attending a weekly worship service, you will find it hard to become all that God wants for you to be.
- Join a visitation group or home Bible Study group - Living a life for Jesus in isolation is next to impossible, and that's why we think it's important for new members at Southport to make a commitment to a home group. You will build friendships with people who will love you and encourage you on your walk. Our experience shows that a commitment to a small group improves the opportunity to form supporting friendships in our walk with God.
- Don't Give Up - Becoming all God wants for you to be is a long process. Likewise, building relationships and finding your place at Southport won't happen overnight. Make a commitment to do everything you can, and pray that God will help you do what you can't do.