#31 Three Chopt Church of Christ, Richmond VA Church

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A few weeks back my friend Jenny and I attended the Church of Christ located on Three Chopt Road. www.3chopt.org

When we first walked in we were immediately greeted by both a zealous middle-aged woman and a young gentleman.  They asked that we leave our name, address, and phone number since we were visitors and then inquired how we found out about their church.       “Well” I said.  “I write a blog where I check out a bunch of different church’s and randomly one of the people who comments often is a guy from Tanzania and I think this church might sponsor he and his wife’s mission there.  So, I thought it might be kinda cool to check you guys out since I’ve come to know him through the blog” 

 “OH MY GOODNESS!  OH! MY! GOODNESS!” She replied.  “OH MY GOODNESS!!!  ISNT THAT WONDERFUL???!!!  The Tanzania group!  You’ll just HAVE TO stay and meet Mrs. X, the missionaries mother and father in-law!!!  Michael”, she kindly summonsed the young man, “Please take these young woman inside, sit with them and make them feel at home.” 

And so, the young gentlemen Michael led us into the sanctuary where the rest of the congregation was sitting in their pews.  He made room for us in a seat right next to him and the service began.

Truth be told, I knew absolutely nothing about the Church of Christ until after I got there.  I hadn’t done any research prior nor had I really heard much about them in the past.  I think I even considered that the church was just another non-denominational church with a jazzy name but this certainly was not the case as I came to find out later.

The first half of the service consisted of a lot of singing.  And let me tell you, WOW.  I mean, WOW upon WOW.  These guys don’t believe in the use of instruments in church so everything was sung a capella.  I suspect because there is no other noise to drown out their tone of their voices everyone pays special attention to how they sound and like I said, WOW, it pays off!  The music was OUTSTANDING. 

I learned the most beautiful hymn ever while attending.  It’s actually been a special prayer for me since that service and I now offer it up to God continually.  For your viewing pleasure, I’ve posted the lyrics below at the bottom of this post.  To really get a true appreciation for the song, you just gotta go to a Church of Christ and listen to these cats sing.

It was a communion service and the sermon was centered on the importance of living an obedient life.  This topic is one I’ve come to have great respect for as this biblical truth about faith without works being dead has radically changed my life.  

When the service ended, Michael thanked me and my friend Jeni for coming and asked that we visit again real soon.  I was kinda hoping I was going to get the opportunity to meet Mrs. X so I could take a picture with them to post on the blog.  It just seemed too cool that I was in the same church with the parents of someone who reads my blog from all the way across the world.  However, I refrained as I didn’t want to be that weirdo that introduced myself like “Hey stranger, can I get a picture so I can put you on the internet”  I don’t know, just felt it might be a bit much for a first time meet and greet.

In all honestly, my favorite thing about the church was the music.  I say every church goes a capella.  For real.   I can’t say enough wonderful things about it.  The church elder (I think that’s what they call him?) seemed very kind and he was eager to introduce himself upon our leaving.  He stopped his conversation with a member to follow Jeni and I out and thank us for attending.  They were a really friendly bunch and certainly very aware that we were visitors attending as they did everything possible to make us feel at home and welcomed back.

My only complaint was that the church leaders did the pop by later that week.  I know it’s a nice, welcoming thing for a church to do when you visit, but I admit, I just don’t like it.  I’m not a fan of the church door knockers.  I don’t even appreciate it when my friends and family stop by unannounced so I certainly don’t like it when strangers do.  But that’s just me.  I’m sure a lot of souls are saved that way. It’s really just a matter of preference.

Here are a couple of things I found interesting about the Church of Christ doctrine.  It's important to note that since church's run independantly, not all doctrine is accepted by each individual church, however, this is the gist from what I can gather:

Baptism by full immersion in water is a NECESSARY act that one must do in order to be saved.  You can NOT get to heaven without it.  Found this really interesting.

Individuals are NOT elected into heaven in the way of predestination.  Every person has an opportunity to accept Christ into their hearts. Many use the following verse to justify:  “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable unto him" (Acts 10:34-35.) 

The church observes the Lord’s Supper EVERY single week when they gather together on the first day.

The church is patterned after the New Testament church and believes that the OT laws, for example tithing 10% of your income are no longer applicable.

Church leaders do not take titles, but most often the congregation refers to one another as “Brother” or “Sister”

Most church’s do not allow the use of musical instruments in their church but instead sing a capaella.  They do so based on (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

Women should not take leadership roles over men, nor should they lead prayer unless in women’s and/or children’s groups.

 As promised, here are the lyrics to the Sanctuary song.  It really rocked.  You can check out this youtube video too.  But these guys have nothin' on Three Chopt Church of Christ, it's even kinda lame in comparison:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuW-AiG9nDk

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary

Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You

It is you, Lord
Who came to save
The heart and soul
Of every man
It is you Lord
who knows my weakness
Who gives me strength,
With Thine own hand.

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and Holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving I'll be a living
Sanctuary for you

Lead Me on Lord
From temptation
Purify me
From within
Fill my heart with
You holy spirit
Take away all my sin

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Tony York

    Tony York September 23, 2010

    That’s a great song…. and I have sang it in several baptist churches as well. smile

    I didn’t realize that they didn’t use instruments.  I wonder how they disconnect all the psalms that talk about instruments.

  • Scott

    Scott September 24, 2010

    What I had heard was that instruments are not mentioned in the NT, so that was why they do not use them. There are some COC churches that do use instruments.

  • JamesBrett

    JamesBrett September 24, 2010

    well, being the church of christ kid on the block—or blog, as it were…

    i personally think that traditionally there are a lot of things the church of christ has gotten right, and a lot we’ve gotten wrong.  and then there’s just the personal preference stuff.

    tony, there are many coc’ers who believe it is sinful and damning to worship with instruments; i would like to think they are in the minority, but it does probably depend largely on where you are in the country.  others just prefer to be like the new testament church where possible—and they didn’t use instruments.  others just like a cappella music better (they likely grew up with it).  and others find nothing wrong with it and have some of both.

    one thing i really do like about the churches of christ is that each congregation is autonomous from every other and, so, scripture is interpreted from within each community.  that’s why there’s so much room for differences in things like worship style (and many, many other things as well).

  • Shirley Herod

    Shirley Herod March 13, 2011

    Jessica:  What a wonderful surprise when I went looking for an article on our RISE day come this Sat.  I thank you for your nice comments and you were mostly right on target.  We love our singing and it is beautiful.  YOU really have to sing to make it good.
    Come back and see us again.  We love visitors and love for people to come our way.  We are a family of Christians working to be Christlike.

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