The thought of visiting a church for the first time can be a little intimidating, but we hope you'll feel right at home as you join us for a worship service. Nothing could make us happier than to welcome you as an honored guest! We assure you that you won't be put on the spot in any way. But you'll leave with a number of new friends and the assurance that you are genuinely valued and always welcome here.
You'll probably notice the excitement right off the bat. The place is usually buzzing with conversation and warm greetings. It's not because these people have gathered for some kind of show, but because they've been looking forward to being here, together, to worship and praise God! Every time we meet for worship is the best kind of family reunion. You'll see all ages and all colors, new acquaintances and old friends, people from every background and occupation and educational level you can imagine. You'll no doubt hear talk of grandkids and sports, service opportunities and Bible subjects, hobbies and work. Whatever your interests are, you'll probably find fellow enthusiasts.
Most of what we do will probably be familiar to you, but depending on your own background there could be some things that are a little different so may we briefly offer a glimpse of what to expect. In every case, we're trying our best to read the Bible for what it says and pattern our practices on that alone. (We feel like one of the truest honors we could show God would be to try to do just what He says!) Although there isn't any kind of "official" format or order, the paragraphs below describe some of the things you're sure to find us doing.
- Singing: This just might take your breath away. We're pretty enthusiastic about the privilege of worship in song. If you feel comfortable, please join right in; there are no professionals here, just everybody pouring out hearts to God together. (And don't worry if you think your voice isn't quite up to par. If your heart is, that's what matters.) You might hear quite a variety of song tempos and lyrics and styles, but they all have the intent of praising Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and also of teaching and encouraging each other. This is what we read about, and are commanded to do, in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. (By the way, many people are surprised by the absence of musical instruments. That's simply because the New Testament only speaks of singing and making melody in the heart, so that's the pattern we try to follow.)
- Praying: We know of no greater reassurance than to be welcomed into God's presence to express our adoration and thanks and to bring Him the burdens of our hearts and our pleas for divine help. It is a special blessing when the family comes together and lifts many hearts to the Father at once. It's exactly what we read the early church doing in New Testament times, and we enjoy our Father's same loving attention today as well.
- Communion: Our Savior instituted this occasion of remembrance on the night before His crucifixion, and asked us to remember His death until the day He comes again. In the New Testament we read of the church gathering on the first day of the week to observe this very personal memorial, so that's what we do. This is both a solemn and joyful occasion, when we are cut to the heart by the pain of our Savior and the weight of our sin, and realize again the joy of being made whole by the sacrifice of His blood. Should you take part? That is a decision only you can make, and no one will try to make it for you. The Bible teaches that this is a time for members of the body of Christ to remember Him, and that we should examine ourselves carefully in taking part (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
- Giving: Now here's one we don't expect you to take part in. The Lord gives us a duty (and yes, a privilege) to return our best to Him in thankfulness. And He has taught us that these gifts are to be used to carry out the works of the church in benevolence and teaching the message of Jesus. So you'll see us cheerfully taking this opportunity every week, each person making his own gift just between himself and God. As a guest here, you should not feel any obligation to take part.
- Teaching: We don't have Jesus with us in the flesh today, but we have the words of teaching He left for us and the instruction God gave in the Bible. So we take a great delight in meditating on those teachings and the promises they hold as a way of drawing closer to God and living our lives in gratitude for His grace. In most cases there will be a preacher presenting the lesson, but he'd be the first to tell you that he's just one of us -- no special title or authority. You might enjoy attending some of the Bible classes, too. There you'll find a little more informal environment where anyone can chime in with a comment or question. (And you should feel free to ask anything at all! Your question or comment will lead us all to learn something new as we look to the Bible together to find the answers.) You can expect that anything you see us doing or hear us teaching should come from God's Word, because we know of no other valid authority.
We’re not claiming to have the market cornered on righteousness. If you're looking you can find hypocrisy and a lot of other very human frailties among our membership, which is composed entirely of forgiven sinners. We don't always get it right, but Jesus does. That's why we're trying to be the church He has designed and described. Maybe that's where you'll find your place, too. We'd sure love to get to know you and let you see more.
The door's open and the Son is shining. We look forward to welcoming you here.