What can I expect at your services?
Our services are characterized by simplicity. We place a great emphasis upon the public reading and preaching of the Scriptures. The sermon is definitely the focal point of the service, except in our mid-week prayer meeting which, after a brief time reflecting on a portion of Scripture, is spent in corporate prayer. We emphasize congregational singing of the psalms as well as traditional hymns. We would definitely differ from the growing contemporary worship style. We, however, are not of the persuasion that traditional worship produces a dull service. Deadness of worship is always a matter of the heart, and no amount of volume from a “worship band” can remedy that situation. It may camouflage it, but not fix it. We think you will find a true enthusiasm in the singing of our congregation. The main goal of our services is to worship, exalt, and present the Person and work of Christ. As Scripture indicates, He is to have preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18).
What is special about GFPC?
GFPC occupies a somewhat unique position in the ecclesiastical landscape. We maintain a Reformed position in our doctrinal framework, and we take this seriously. (See the “Beliefs” page). We also maintain a Separatist position with regard to our affiliations and lifestyle issues. Contrary to some in the Separatist movement that often struggle with presenting such lifestyle issues in a proper Gospel context and take on a legal spirit that often leaves people in bondage, we seek to emulate some of the ‘old school’ who properly understood the fact that while we thrust away the law as a ‘Covenant of Works,’ we nonetheless embrace the very same law as a ‘Rule of Life.’
Why is the word “Free” in our Church’s name?
The word “Free” in our name indicates that we are not a member of the mainline Presbyterian denomination. Like other denominations in Scotland and Ireland before, we have separated from larger denominations that have abandoned or altered historic Christian beliefs to such an extent that Biblical Christians can no longer support the leadership and direction of the denomination. This situation has occurred among Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and many others.
How does our church differ from a Baptist Church?
The large number of Baptists in this area causes many to ask how our church differs from a Baptist Church. That’s a good question. Historically many Baptists have held very similar beliefs to our church. Some of the major Baptist Confessions of Faith have been modeled on the Wesminster Confession which Presbyterians and many others maintain, they have just amended small matters, most notably regarding baptism. Given the fact that our church allows believers of paedo-baptist and believer’s baptist persuasions freedom to maintain and practice their own convictions on the subject of baptism, the only necessary difference between our church and a Baptist church is the issue of Church government. We are ruled by a plurality of elders within the local church, and are members of a conservative presbytery. Granted, many modern Baptists do not maintain their historic Reformed roots, so we would differ from them in the same way as they differ from the older Baptist Confessions of Faith.
How do you relate to other churches?
We are very happy to enjoy many levels of warm fellowship with our brethren from other denominations. We recognize that true believers can disagree on some points of interpretation on matters of doctrine that are large enough to mean that we must be part of separate external structures, but small enough that we happily recognize that we are still all part of the family of God. We do believe, however, that Scripture clearly teaches that not all who claim Jesus as Lord truly know Him. One way this is manifested is in embracing false doctrine, therefore, in accordance with Scripture, we must come out from among those who embrace or allow false doctrine and stand apart.
What about children?
We have an abundance of children in our congregation and welcome them in our services. We do provide two nurseries for babies and younger children so as to keep the service as free from distraction as possible. We also provide a room where parents may attend their own child and watch the service on a video monitor. During the Sunday School hour we provide a large range of Sunday School classes with age appropriate instruction.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for those in attendance, save that we would ask that attention be given to modesty. You will find a variation of attire among those in attendance. Scripture clearly indicates that God looks on the heart and not outward appearance. The key factor being that appropriateness and respect for the dignity of the occasion is the norm. You will undoubtedly notice that many of the ladies in attendance will have on a headcovering or hat of some sort. Although the norm in years past for all church goers, this is not an outdated fashion statement but a reflection of our belief that Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 11 applies for all ages, not just first century Corinth. We recognize that this has become uncommon in our day (although many are reevaluating the passage) and we can assure you that no visitor is required or expected to have on a headcovering in order to attend.