NEW TO OUR CHURCH?
Whether you learned about us through your family and friends, the Internet, or our weekly Armor of God program, we invite you into our "home" and fellowship-- Welcome!
As churches go, we are a relatively small group, but rather than this being a "negative," we feel it allows for a closer family environment that helps us to be a warm and caring church.
Our Florida congregations are officially chartered by the Church of God International (CGI) of Tyler, Texas.
ON WHICH DAY DO WE MEET?
The Church of God International observes Saturday as the Sabbath. There are seven days in the calendar week. The week begins with Sunday (first day) and ends with Saturday (seventh day). A day begins in the evening and ends the following evening. When this knowledge is applied to our calendar we see that the Sabbath actually begins Friday evening and ends Saturday evening. Friday night is welcomed as time to slow down, a chance to be with the family or maybe catch up on some reading. Saturday brings a chance to sleep in, worship as a family, study, and devote a little extra time to prayer and meditation. The church does not legislate do's and don'ts for resting on the Sabbath other than emphasizing the statements in Scripture and the example of Jesus (see Mark 2:27-28 and Isaiah 58:13-14)
HOW ARE OUR SERVICES CONDUCTED?
Our worship service usually consists of a few hymns and opening prayer, announcements, an occasional sermonette (a 10 to 15 minute message) or special music, a sermon (45 to 60 minutes long), and then a closing hymn and prayer. There is no alter call or offering taken during the weekly service. If you come from a church with a highly formal service, you will find our liturgy more relaxed, edifying, and intimate. The teaching of the Bible and the preaching of the Word are vital to Christian growth and are central to our services. We encourage everyone to bring a Bible and follow along with the message.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
The Church of God International does not have a dress code per se. We recommend that whatever is worn should reflect attention to cleanliness, neatness, and modesty. With old and young meeting together, variety is expected and encouraged. Many church families do attend services wearing what traditionally are known as "church clothes"-- suits and ties for the men and dresses for the women. Others, perhaps influenced by contemporary leanings, prefer to come more casual. God will be pleased if you wear the "best that you have" as you worship the best that you can.
WHAT ABOUT ADDITIONAL BIBLICAL INSTRUCTION?
In Auburndale we usually have a Bible Study the third Sabbath of the month after services which is open to all who wish to attend. The CGI Auburndale also has educational services available to young people including Sabbath School the first Sabbath of the month. Other CGI congregations may have Sabbath School as well as the Ignite and Infuse programs. The Ignite program is geared toward smaller children, while Infuse is designed for teens and young adults.
BESIDES THE SABBATH, WHAT OTHER DAYS DO WE OBSERVE?
The CGI observes the annual Biblical festivals revealed by God in the Old Testament and upheld by the apostles and disciples of the New Testament church. The festivals are: the Christian Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. Observing these festivals reminds us of God's plan of salvation for mankind and point us directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP OUTSIDE OF SABBATH SERVICES?
A number of our brethren travel many miles to attend church with us so we usually "arrive early and stay late" to allow for fellowship with one another. To promote spending extra time together on the Sabbath we also conduct fellowship (or "potluck") meals. These are announced well in advance to coincide with a ministerial visit or holy day observance. On Sabbaths when no meal is planned, many of the brethren find that meeting at a restaurant is an excellent opportunity for further fellowship. Please note that we observe the dietary laws God gave to His people as recorded in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. These chapters describe creatures "that you shall eat" and those you shall not eat because they are "unclean." Among the unclean meats are such items as pork, shrimp, lobster, and catfish.
DO WE TAKE UP OFFERINGS?
Tithing and giving offerings are personal expressions of worship. How one goes about giving is up to the person. No collections (of money) are taken during regular weekly Sabbath services. However, since there are commanded offerings associated with annual festival observance, donations are collected on the high days during the year. Regular tithes and offerings are usually mailed directly to the home office in Tyler to continue the outreach efforts of the church as a whole. Those wishing to give small donations locally to help with local expenses are welcome to do so.
DO WE HAVE ANY REQUIREMENTS FOR CHURCH ATTENDANCE?
We are an open church and do not have any specific requirements for attendance. We have people attending who are new in the faith. Some will not always keep each of God's laws as they should, and some will not believe everything we teach. We pray that they may be strengthened through the services we render and come to a closer walk with God. We request that you neither be judgmental nor base your standard for obedience on what you see your brother do. Christ is our standard, not weak and sinful men. Always remember that you will be judged for what you do, not what others do.
On Holy Days and at other times we may occasionally make changes to our location and time for services. Please check our SCHEDULE page for the most up-to-date information.