People use words in different ways in different cultures and in different settings. The same is true in our church. In addition, some words are used in our church that are not very common in general conversation.
The purpose of this glossary is to help bring clarity and understanding by giving some idea of what we mean by different words. We will be adding words to this glossary over time.
Have an idea for another word you would like included here? Please let us know!
Lord’s Supper and Baptism are two of the most important rituals that Jesus taught his followers to practice. While Lord’s Supper is a repeated practice for those who are a part of the church (at Crossway we celebrate Lord’s Supper usually on the first Sunday of each month), Baptism is something that each person does once as a sign of his or her entrance into the family of Christ.
Water is always central in the practice of Baptism, and it provides a picture both of being washed for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 22:16) and of being buried with Christ in His death and raised with Him in His life (Romans 6:3-6 and Colossians 2:12). Baptism does not save people, and it is not necessary for salvation (Luke 23:39-43). Baptism is a wonderful picture of our identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a joyous celebration by the church of new life in Christ!
Jesus commanded that all who become disciples, that is, who become children of God, are to be baptized in (or into) the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20).
Different churches practice Baptism in different ways. The two main models are known as Paedobaptism (or infant baptism), and Believer’s Baptism. In Paedobaptism, children of believing parents may be baptized before they are able to understand and respond to the Gospel. Often this is done by sprinkling water on the head of the one who is being baptized, and it marks their entrance into the Covenant Community.
At Crossway, we practice Believer’s Baptism, meaning that we baptize those individuals who give a believable profession of personal and saving faith in Jesus Christ, whether that person is a child or an adult. We practice baptism by immersing people completely under water (being described as “having been buried with [Christ] in baptism” in Colossians 2:12).
While people are baptized as individuals, baptism at Crossway is a church family event during which the church welcomes those being baptized in a new and richer way into fellowship in the church. So we anticipate having Baptism be a part of a regular worship service whenever possible. The ones being baptized will have the opportunity to share their stories of coming to faith in Christ. The pastor (or other church representative) will then lower this person into the water and then raise him or her back up, reflecting the Bible’s description of participating both in Christ’s death and in His resurrection. The church will then rejoice together in this significant occasion!
Those who are interested in being baptized can ask the pastor or other church leader about it at any time. Also we will have periodic times when people will be encouraged to consider being baptized who have not yet been baptized.
Are you interested in learning more? Please contact John Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-917-0498.
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, is one of the most important rituals that Jesus taught his followers to practice. Jesus described it as a special way to remember what He did for us when He was crucified, and also to receive and experience His grace to us. There are differences among Christians about how they understand and do the Lord’s Supper. But the essence is clear: Jesus gave his followers this ritual so that we would be strengthened and encouraged by His grace.
Crossway Multinational Church (CMC) celebrates Communion on the first Sunday of each month during our worship service. CMC’s practice is informed by one of the key descriptions of this ritual found in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, a letter of the Apostle Paul:
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
We celebrate Lord’s Supper in various ways. Often, a piece of cracker and a small cup of juice is distributed to each person as we remain seated, as a symbol of God bringing His grace to us. Other times, we will invite people to walk to the table to take their own cracker and juice. This action is a symbol of our response of faith to God. He invites us to come to Him, by grace through faith, and so we invite each person who has put their faith in Christ to come.
The Lord’s Supper is for those who have taken this action in their hearts. If you have not put your faith in Christ alone, we ask that you not take the cracker and the juice, since this ritual is for those who have become Christians by the grace of Christ. We invite you to reflect on this practice and to pray.
Welcoming People of Many Cultures
Here at Crossway Multinational Church, we believe it is good and enjoyable to have people in our church who live life based on different cultures. One way that people have described different types of cultures is Expressive, Analytical, and Reflective. Expressive cultures tend to be louder, to speak a lot, to have many activities happening at home, and to express more emotion. Analytical cultures tend to be pragmatic, orderly, structured, and very logical. Reflectivecultures tend to be quieter, to emphasize thinking and reflecting more than speaking and expressing, to watch other people more out of concern for them, and to work to save face.
Whichever one or more of these categories best describe you, we want to welcome you and help you feel at home, even as we want to do for people who are more comfortable in the other categories. We don’t want to make you have to act like other people. So if you are an expressive person, we want to help you find good ways to express yourself. At the same time, if you are a reflective person, we don’t want to force you to express yourself. We’ll all have to adjust some to welcome and honor the others, even as we hope that people will do for us.
These variations will show up in many ways, including in our worship services, in our leadership, and in our daily interactions. When interacting with others and their behavior or reactions seem strange to you, consider whether or not they are more expressive, or more analytical, or more reflective than you are. Seek to understand them and welcome them for who they are, even as you want to be understood and welcomed for who you are.
Updated October 3, 2014
We believe that God has spoken in the Bible, sometimes called the Scriptures, through the words of human authors. Since God is the ultimate source of its contents, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
The Bible contains 66 “books,” the first 39 making up the Old Testament (also known as the Hebrew Bible) and the remaining 27 making up the New Testament. These books are sometimes very short (less than 500 words) and sometimes quite long. Some books are letters written to individuals or groups of people while others give primary focus to telling the story of one ore more people and still others are primarily poetry.
We believe that the Bible can never mean what it never meant. In other words, the Bible means what the original authors meant. So to understand the Bible we need to work to understand the original authors and the original readers, including their language and their cultures. There are many resources from experts in these areas to help us with this task. Study Bibles are one type of resource that can be very helpful.
The Bible was written almost entirely in Hebrew and Greek, and scholars have helped us have a very high degree of confidence in what the original text was. There are many translations of the Bible into today’s languages so it is not necessary to learn Hebrew, Greek, or English to be able to study and learn from the Bible.
Updated October 3, 2014
What It Is In Christian churches, an offering is a gift that people give to God by giving to and through the church. These gifts include money as well as other valuables, time, and actions. Giving these gifts is an act of worship, that is, of living out our conviction that God is the source of and deserves all that we have and are. As people who are committed to this church, we give first to Crossway and then also to other organizations and individuals as we each choose.
Visitors We want visitors of Crossway not to feel any pressure or expectation that they would give offerings.
Our Practice At present, people give financial offerings in various ways including postal mail, electronic transfer, and in the offering box. We keep and manage records of people’s gifts only as necessary so we can provide IRS tax receipts to each individual at the end of each year.
Where the Money Goes At Crossway, the church uses these gifts to cover the expenses of the church and to serve other people, both nearby and far away. At present, Crossway does not pay any people, so the biggest expenses will be rent and resources to help us do what we do, such as resources for kids and the sound system. Beyond our own people, we anticipate providing gifts to like-minded churches and organizations as well as to individuals in need.
Updated June 28, 2014
What It Is “Worship begins with God. God the creator, the rescuer, and the redeemer initiates our human approach to Him. … Worship is seen as reverent devotion and service to God motivated by God’s saving acts in history.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1117) Worship includes one’s actions in daily life generally (when one lives as describe previously) as well as what the church does when we gather for a “worship service” on a weekly basis.
What It Looks Like Many different physical postures are described as a part of worship in the Bible. In addition, many specific postures are deeply connected to culture. At Crossway, we want to give people freedom to express worship in ways that are appropriate for them while respecting the preferences of others. People may raise their hands, stand, sit, or bow down. People may stay still or dance or clap. God invites us to use our bodies and our voices to express the reality of what He is doing in our spirits.
What It Sounds Like The Bible describes people singing, using musical instruments, praying out loud and silently, weeping and rejoicing, celebrating the “Lord’s Supper” (also known as Communion), listening to people tell of God’s work in their lives, and listening to preaching from the Bible. Singing has been a common way for people to express themselves “with one voice” with each other, but it is not the only way. At Crossway, we want to express worship in various ways, and we want to learn the songs and sayings of Christians from many cultures. We also want to give people freedom to sing or not sing, to use English or another language, as is helpful for them.