Here at Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church, we view ministry as the duty of each person. God has given at least one spiritual gift to each believer, and it is the duty of each believer to use that gift for God’s glory. Consequently, you’ll find many opportunities to use your spiritual gift here. Do you have the gift of teaching? Feel free to discuss with one of our pastors about opportunities to teach and to become a pastor at our local church. Do you have the gift of service? Feel free to discuss with one of our pastors or deacons about opportunities to serve and to become a deacon at our local church. Do you have the gift of administration? Feel free to discuss with one of our pastors any programs you want to oversee. Do you have the gift of giving? Feel free to give to our local church by depositing your donation when the plate comes to you or by donating online. Do you have the gift of mercy? Feel free to look through our prayer requests in the bulletin and offer to help anyone in need. You’ll find an opportunity to use your spiritual gift here for God’s glory, and we expect you to use it if you’re a member or regularly attend here.
We love kids. They don’t love us as much as they love you, their parents and grandparents, however. You are also the primary spiritual leader and teacher in their lives. That's why we'll let them stay with you and attend the Sunday gathering. We know your kids are smarter than most people give them credit for. That’s why we give them deep teachings. If they don’t understand something, then you can explain it to them. It’s a win-win for everyone. During Communion, if your child is a baptized believer, then by all means, they should participate. If they are not a baptized believer, then they will be taught about Christianity by one of our teachers if they are older. We will also have a nursery available during Communion for those whose child is an infant. This nursery is also open for anyone whose child is not enjoying the sermon as much as you are and is making some noise.
We all know what it’s like to wake up early on a Sunday morning and not feel like we’re ready to praise God in singing. That’s why before we sing, we’ll help you understand why we’re singing. That way, your mind is engaged when you sing, and God will be pleased with you engaging all of who you are instead of just going through the motions.
God not only commands us to sing hymns and spiritual songs in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, but also the Psalms. When explaining who God is, the Psalms are one of the best places to go because the Psalmists constantly wrote and sang about what God is like. These emotional yet deep songs are invaluable, and that is why we sing them to the tune of Amazing Grace.
Context. Context. Context. You won’t find context being ignored in our preaching at Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church. Instead, you’ll find one of our pastors preaching word-by-word, verse-by-verse, and book-by-book through the Scriptures. The content will be deep and thorough, so feel free to take notes on the back of our bulletin so you don’t miss anything!
If the sermon you hear on a Sunday wouldn’t fit on Easter because it doesn’t put a spotlight on Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and command to repent and believe, then that sermon was a waste of time. Who Jesus is and what Jesus did will always be magnified here, and the gospel will always be our solution. You won’t be called to obey just because we say so, but rather because of who Jesus is and what He did and what He tells you to do. We believe the gospel is sufficient for the justification of the sinner (we don’t need to do gimmicks to make it more appealing or to get your attention) and for the sanctification of the believer (we don’t need to add rules and demand moral perfection) because the gospel is sufficient.
Foot Washing and Love Feasts
The best conversations often happen with food in front of us. The Lord’s Supper is not just a stale, 1mm x 1mm piece of bread and a plastic shot-glass full of Welsh’s. Instead, our Lord’s Supper consists of everything Jesus commanded His followers to do. This includes washing one another’s feet. I can already hear you say, “That’s nasty!” That’s the point! If God could wash humans’ feet, then surely we can wash one another’s feet. It is a time where true humility is demonstrated as men wash men’s feet and women wash women’s feet. This is followed by the love feast, which consists of some great food and an opportunity to have true fellowship with people who believe exactly what you believe. Only then do we all partake of the bread and cup as a means of remembering what Jesus did on our behalf so long ago.
Plurality of Elders
This is not a dictatorship. We are led by a plurality of pastors, who oversee everything and provide spiritually for the congregation and are supported by a plurality of deacons, who provide physically for the congregation.
If a local church is obedient to Christ, then it must observe church discipline. If you attend Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church, and someone sees you sinning, don’t be surprised if that person confronts you about that sin. If you repent, then no harm done. It’s like it never happened. If you don’t repent, however, then don’t be surprised if that person comes back with another believer to talk to you about your sin. Again, if you repent, then no harm done. However, if you don’t repent, then don’t be surprised to be confronted by the entire congregation on a Sunday morning gathering. If you repent, then no harm done. However, if you don’t repent, then you will not be welcomed by anyone at Washington Heights. I know. It sounds harsh, but God does not allow local churches to allow someone who thinks he is a believer but really isn’t a believer to fellowship with real believers. God cares too much about the false convert’s soul, and the false convert needs to be woken up from a self-imposed lie. In order to do that, the false convert needs to know that habitual sin is not acceptable. The salvation of that soul and the purity of the local church are too important to pretend like everything’s okay.
Here at Washington Heights, we take Paul’s command to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:9-16 regarding taking care of widows seriously. Members who are widows and who qualify are free to live in the house next door that the church owns. It’s the least we can do to honor the faithfulness of our older congregants who have set such a good example for the rest of us.