Church Services—What is Different?

History Book
History Book
History Book

Church Services

A veteran minister of the Gospel, George Hughes, wrote this compelling description of the goal of Apostolic Faith church services: “The great aim of all our work, either inside or outside, in our own church buildings or in rented facilities at a neighboring community, is the salvation of souls. . . . There are many factors that contribute to the success of our efforts, but the greatest of these is the leading of the Spirit of God, and therefore, we must strive to see that this holy Guest is always present to do His office work in our services.

A view of the congregation gathered in the tabernacle during a service at a camp meeting in the early 1960s.

“When people attend our services for the first time, the impression they receive sometimes determines their permanent attitude toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason, it is vitally essential that every service we hold is completely successful from start to finish. . . . The songs, selection of music, testimonies, and above all, the sermon, should be so inspiring and inspired that every unbeliever will receive the impetus he needs to start him on his way to God.”

Those who attend Apostolic Faith services around the world are encouraged to pray through to a born-again experience that enables them to live a life of victory over sin.

Based on these principles, most of the services held by the Apostolic Faith organization are evangelistic in nature. Those who attend the meetings are encouraged to pray through to a born-again experience that enables them to live a life of victory over sin.

What Is Different?

Services in the Apostolic Faith churches are conducted in a simple manner. The church avoids formal practices. Ministers do not wear clergy vestments. Although prayer books are not used, Bibles are available in many Apostolic Faith churches so the congregation can follow along with Scripture readings. Sermons are delivered extemporaneously rather than being read.

The pastors and ministers of the Apostolic Faith churches are encouraged to attend the regular ministerial training sessions held several times each year at the headquarters. The organization has developed its own Bible study series and training materials. Emphasis is placed on the spiritual qualification of the ministers themselves; they must practice as well as preach the Bible doctrines taught by the organization, align their lives to the Biblical standards of holy living established in God’s Word, and meet the qualifications outlined in Titus 1:5-9 and other Scriptures for those who are in leadership roles in the church.

Bob Downey, Director of North America Work for the organization, preaches at an annual camp meeting in the Midwest.

The organization does not keep a formal membership roll, focusing instead on encouraging those who attend to make sure their names are written in Heaven. For reference and legal purposes, a record is kept of those who are baptized in water. An address and phone list of those who currently attend is kept primarily so those individuals can be notified of upcoming events and of changes in the regular schedule.

Throughout its history, the Apostolic Faith work has been supported financially by tithes and ­offerings. No solicitations are made of the public, nor are collections taken in any of the services. In fact, the church has been referred to as “the church without a collection plate.” There are offering boxes in each church in which tithes and freewill offerings may be placed. When church expansion projects or outreach endeavors are considered, the premise is that the organization will move ahead with the projects as the Lord makes resources available. This method of financing the Gospel work is based on Genesis 28:22; Malachi 3:8-10; and 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Most Apostolic Faith services are evangelistic in nature, and one outstanding aspect is the focus on prayer.

An outstanding aspect of Apostolic Faith churches worldwide is a focus on prayer. Before each service, workers gather in a room separate from the sanctuary to pray for God’s blessing upon the meeting. Written requests for healing, deliverance from problems, spiritual guidance, and the salvation of others are read aloud and then brought before the Lord in prayer.

At the close of each service, those present are invited to come to the altars of prayer. Spiritually hungry seekers and Gospel workers kneel at benches lining the front of the sanctuary and in the pews. This focus on prayer is based on Isaiah 56:7 and Mark 11:17. During the prayer time at the close of the service, ministers also pray for the sick or afflicted who wish to be anointed with oil and prayed for as directed in James 5:14-15.

An outstanding aspect of all Apostolic Faith church services are the altar services that conclude each meeting. Here, seekers gather around the altar benches that line the front of the tabernacle.