Curious how ‘Church of Christ’ (Iglesia ni Cristo) Members Attend and Conduct Worship Services?
As God requires, do everything in an orderly manner. And here is how the Church follows that commandment:
1. The Church Officers - be it deacons, deaconess, choir member, finance officers, the secretariat, SCAN members have each own set of uniforms for the Worship Service (WS).
2. The church goers are seated separately based on gender – males are seated on the left column and women on the right column.
3. There is an office where to get your proof of attendance (if you are registered from other Locale and just nearby to attend) or give your Transfer Certificate ( if you opt to move-in permanently to the place).
4. Choir members have identical clear books where the set of hymns are written, they stand to sing simultaneously and take their seats in the same manner.
5. The church pews are filled from the front to the last row with the assistance from a deacon (men’s side) or a deaconess (women’s side) ushering attendees to the proper pew row.
6. There is the name board (tarheta board) placed in the lobby facing the front door of every house of worship where one can find his name and turn it back to note that the person is inside to attend the service.
7. If you are a guest and you arrive at the chapel minutes late, you would probably think there is no one inside but the Minister who preaches the service- but when you peek on the windows:
-the church’s door is closed right before the third hymn is sang – from there no one is allowed to enter; that is to make sure that all worshippers have completed the service from praising thru hymns, the lecture part, the offering, the prayer at the start and after) there is silence in the audience, you will be surprised to see the house of worship is filled with brethren; everyone is just listening carefully.
- No one is chatting (nobody stops them but felt a sense of discipline to pay respect to the premise) or texting nor calling (mobile phones are left in a counter, turned off).
8. As much as possible, members with little children who are sometimes implacable are advised to manage shifting schedule on childcare with household members – WS are usually scheduled in two sets (morning and afternoon/evening) – the wife will attend in the morning and the husband in the evening, depending on their agreement and work schedule if there is. That is to keep the service at peace without noise from children’s tantrums and cries.
9. During Worship Services, men must be wearing formal attire like slacks, polo or barong or even coat and tie depending on his preference and the weather only rugged jeans (maong pants), shorts, t-shirt or sleeveless shirts are prohibited. Men are not allowed to wear earrings too (one ear or even nose ring).
-For women, knee-long skirt in any cut (pencil, bubble, balloon etc.) blouses, dresses or office suit are required – and mini-skirts, sleeveless, tube (with blazer or bolero would be accepted), pants, shorts, low-cut back or front shall be avoided. Wonder why? Let me ask this question, if you are to have a face to face interview with the richest man, the president of the country or any person of high rank will you not wear your best? Will you not wear a set of clothes that shows you are appropriate to be on that appointment? Well, it is not a great scientist, a famous politician, a billionaire BUT above every man or creature existing – it is God, the creator you shall come to meet to be dignifiedly dressed.
However, if you are a visitor who wants to observe, you are welcome to get in with your rugged attire but BE SURE to inform the deacon (usher) or deaconess (usherette) that you are a guest to be dealt with accordingly – you will just be asked to seat at the back pew even if you came earlier and will not be any more reminded of your inappropriate attire knowing you are just a visitor.
10. In Iglesiani Cristo (Church of Christ), wherever you are in the world, no matter what language you speak – the lesson on a particular date (be it Wednesday/Thursday or Saturday/Sunday), the lecture is the same. Yes, it could have been translated in different languages but it is the EXACT COPY of what is preached in every chapel worldwide. We received one message from God twice a week (the WS sched is officially Thursdays and Sundays – the preceding days like Wednesdays or Saturdays are counted to the next official WS Day meaning, the lessons taught on a Wednesday sched is the same as for Thursday and same goes with Saturday and Sunday – you just have to choose the time where you can come.
11. Scheduling is done if the seating capacity of the house of worship is short to accommodate the existing serial number of brethren till a new edifice is built. Sometimes the old chapel is collapsed to the ground to make way for the construction of a bigger and permanent structure.
12. Rest assured that wherever you go because of your work etc. a house of worship is nearby for you to perform your duty to our dear Lord God. The effort on our part (members) is getting theWS schedule as well as the exact address of the nearest chapel so as not to miss the most important Meeting we have to attend. Actually, there is now an application that you can install on your mobile phones and other gadgets called ‘Church Locator’ where you can find the nearest chapel to your location, I think it is supported by Google Maps and that the WS schedule is provided too.
When I was still working in the office wayback years ago when I am still single, if the day falls on the Worship Service Schedule (say Thursdays), I have to make sure that I attend the worship service before going to work. When I change my career from office to a field work, if it happened that I missed the morning schedule, no matter where the chapel is, I am looking for the nearest house of worship where I could possibly attend.
I am securing a proof of attendance (a small paper in a form-type) to be submitted to the Locale or place where I am a registered member so I would not be recorded as absent.Oops, before you conclude about it, we are never tortured nor punished for being absent. It is every individual’s conviction like me, to keep a perfect attendance in attending WS. If we will rely on Mathematics why attending Worship Service is a not a burden, why it became my conviction to attend every WS, we have 168 hours a week (24hrs by 7days). And a worship service is just about an hour each, calculating the travel time say around half to an hour each attendance – it would just be 4 hours at the max. What if the house of worship is just minutes walk from one’s residence?! Are we not greedy enough to take that away from our Lord God? We must know that we do not exist just to eat, sleep, drink, achieve our earthly goals nor be great BUT to worship God. It is the reason why He created man, to serve him. I know Christians like me are aware of this fact. But are we putting this to application? That is the reason why the setback of calamities never stopped an Iglesiani Cristo member to perform his duty. I heard of a ‘Hai-yan’ victim who lose love ones, shelter and belongings and never had a way of living when given the chance for an interview by media people, you know what she said “Please, siblings-in-Christ help me find a way to have another deaconess’ uniform so I can be on duty again…” and the Church Administration heard of the plead and urgently sent “saya” and “barongs”, shoes and choir uniforms for the brethren. They are so thankful when interviewed again. They could have begged for food and other material things they need but the foremost priority they value is their relationship and duties to our Lord God more than anything else.
Why attendance is checked and listed as absent? Those who were absent in the WS are visited and advised –given encouragement if feeling down, ask what could possibly be the problem that kept him from attending – help the member find a better solution and remind him that running away from God by neglecting duties is not in any way helping the situation but worsening it; that God more than anyone else has the solution to every problem no matter how impossible it could have been. After tons of visits and reminders and the brethren refuses to change and opt to intentionally abandon his duties of worshipping God, records will be the proof in case he should complain of being expelled from the Church. That is just one of the many grounds to be expelled.
In truth, I was admonished by some close friends not to write about the Church and make a separate blog so as not to bother my audience (readers) of my religion but I was thinking that if my blog is just solely about the Church, will you bother to drop by? At least here, I know you come to read a different topic but it may somehow kindle your curiosity to read posts like this. And somehow in a little way I can perform my duty of spreading God’s message to people important to me, my audience is very important to me, and that is you…
Written on this post is my personal opinion and keen observation, the Church Administration and council has nothing to do with it, with all due respect.
My dear friends, I hope that this post leaves something on your mind to ponder on. If you want to know more about the church where I belong, feel free to visit www.incmedia.org or find INC Official Main Site Here's another link:
I dare you, friend. If you think nothing can change your conviction based on your current religion, why not go to the nearest Iglesia ni Cristo Chapel (Church of Christ), see Church Directory to find the house of worship nearest you, it has the worldwide addresses . That is if you think you are not afraid of losing anything. If you are sure of what you have right now, that you are in the right place where God asks you to be.