Timothy G. Koonce, Belvidere, IL — Communion is a beautiful way for Christians to commemorate Christ’s redemptive sacrifice on Calvary. Our church partakes in communion 1 to 2 times per year, accompanied with foot washing. The entire service is centered on repentance and consecration. I haven’t found scripture to be specific concerning how often Christians should participate in communion. However, the scripture is clear that we should do it in remembrance of Christ. It is necessary for us to remember what Jesus Christ has done for us through His suffering and pain, to give us redemption from our sinful nature. If we make it unimportant, we can take for granted what Christ has done to give us salvation.
Clifton R. Turner Jr., Colorado Springs, CO — Our church reserves communion for 3 to 4 special times a year, specifically New Year’s. We do this in order for communion to remain special, and so that the partakers have the utmost respect for it. Our entire church has a moment of repentance, and then we take communion at the same time, as one body. After communion, we have a time of prayer to express our gratitude to the Lord for His great sacrifice.
We accompany communion with foot washing every other year. There was a message that I picked up at a camp meeting by Scott Graham, entitled “The Sand In My Shoes.” It was such a powerful message about service that I decided to incorporate the message in our special communion and foot washing services. The end result was a very special and spiritual moment for everyone, even those who were initially nervous about the experience.
Mark A. Brown, Watertown, SD — Our congregation receives communion at Easter and around Christmas. Every time our church has communion, the whole service is centered on it.
Our congregation consists mostly of first generation Pentecostals, and many have little church background. Some of the newer members have an understanding of communion that stems from a Catholic or Lutheran faith. This gives me an opportunity to relate to them on some level, but also to introduce communion from a biblical perspective.
Communion is something that we essentially need to do, so that we don’t forget the price and purpose of Christ’s blood and sacrifice. For our church, communion has been a great unifier and is always a great time of repentance and searching of hearts. God always shows up. I am a big believer in doing it.
Greg W. Davis, DeKalb, IL — Our church participates in communion around New Year’s Eve and Easter. We have the whole service geared toward communion, and I usually prepare a special message. We stage communion according to scripture: partaking of bread, then grape juice. Communion generates understanding and appreciation for where we come from, and what the Lord has done for us. It’s His church, His sacrifice, and His covering.
Occasionally we will pair communion with foot washing. We have also gone to other churches and participated in foot washing in a combined effort. The essential aspect of communion is dealing with the blood of Calvary, and the importance of that blood in our lives. We cannot be a successful Christian if we rid the preaching of the blood from our pulpits. It all starts with the blood. It starts at Calvary.
Joseph E. Romero, Brooklyn, MI — The churches that I have been involved in have participated in communion in conjunction with the new year or a special service. There is no directive in either the gospels or epistles regarding specifically how often to partake in communion. However, scripture is clear that communion should be observed, and that it is not a one-time event (Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:26). Nonetheless, determining exactly how often the first century church partook of communion based on scripture alone is mostly guesswork. Circumstantial evidence within the New Testament does suggest, for example, that the first century church did communion in connection with a regular “agape” feast (Acts 20:6-7, 1 Cor. 11:17-34, Jude 12), which leads me to believe that communion was probably more than once a year, perhaps even weekly.
Luke 22:19 is imperative: “This do in remembrance of me.” Paul mirrors this sentiment in 1 Corinthians 11:26 when he expects us to partake of communion together “until he [Jesus] comes.” Indeed, the Greek word for communion itself means “fellowship.” In this context, communion is fellowship with the Lord, His death, and His body — the church. The whole point of scripture is the unfolding story of our restored fellowship with God, and communion illustrates this beautifully.
Alan D. Peevler, Berea, KY — Communion is an essential ordinance of the church. In the Old Testament, the Passover was mandatory for the Jews. Likewise, I feel that communion is mandatory for the born-again Christian.
We partake of communion on New Year’s and Good Friday. Our congregation always participates in foot washing before communion. Foot washing really stresses the idea of humility, love, servant hood, and prayer. I feel that it helps our hearts to be better prepared for communion.
Our church has a unique way that we receive communion. After foot washing, I teach about the importance of communion. We have two large tables set up in the sanctuary, resembling the Last Supper. The lights are dimmed, and the tables are nicely decorated with table cloths, dinnerware and beautiful candelabras. All of the plates are right side up, except for the place at the end, where we suspect Jesus might have sat. That plate is left unturned. We have people come up twelve at a time to sit at the table, and partake in communion. We continue, until everyone has taken part.
I first experienced this type of communion service as an evangelist. I went to sit down at the communion table, right next to where Jesus might have been. As I was praying, I felt as though I was sitting next to the Master himself. We then began to sing, “He was nailed to the cross for me.” The atmosphere was powerful, and the service meaningful.
Thomas E. Snyder, Lima, OH — Our church participates in communion around the New Year. We almost always include foot washing, as it was a part of the Last Supper activities. Foot washing reminds us that while we are reflecting on our own spiritual condition, we should exhibit humble service to each other.
One year I had prayer going on in the main sanctuary while I met with each family privately and talked with them about the significance of communion. As a family, they partook of the flesh and blood of Christ, and committed themselves afresh to each other and to the Lord. The father of each family made a verbal commitment to his wife and children to serve the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength. Is communion necessary for salvation? No. But to refuse to do something that the Lord asks us to do might say a lot about our sincerity to follow Him.