WHAT TO EXPECT
Walking through the doors of a church for the first time can be intimidating, and we know that. So, this page is designed to give you a heads-up about what you can expect when you walk through ours.
Before you leave home. No need to worry about what to wear. Wear what you want and know that most people dress pretty casually. When you come, you’ll see everything from shorts and sandals, jeans and t-shirts, to some dress pants and some dresses. Pastor Mike almost always wears jeans, and the only reason he wouldn’t is if all his jeans were in the dirty clothes hamper on Sunday morning.
Parking. Honestly, parking is not our strong-suit. We meet in a former Ethan Allen furniture store which makes for a beautiful building but tight parking. Have no fear, though, because when you visit us, we’ve reserved a couple of spots right up front just for you. Don’t be shy. Pull on up to the front door and enjoy first-class parking! If spaces in the church parking lot are taken, feel free to park in the spaces in front of the Noah’s Ark daycare center behind our building. We own that building, so the parking spaces are ours too.
Greeters and Welcomers. At the door, you will be met by a greeter. A greeter is an exceptionally nice person who will welcome you, shake your hand, and point you to our Welcome Center where you’ll get and even nicer welcome by one of our Welcomers. He or she will not only greet you but will also give you a quick tutorial of our building so that you know where the essentials are: restrooms, nursery, and the back door – in case you want to run!
Nursery (thru 3 years). We value children. And, we value their comfort and safety while in our care. We recently expanded and remodeled our nursery, so there’s plenty of room for your child. Our nursery is staffed by wonderful nursery attendants who love children and are excellent in caring for them. They will greet you at the nursery door, welcome you, and have you sign your child in. You’ll also notice one or two teens in there as well. We have a group of teens who rotate each week and serve as assistants.
Worship Seating. We recently expanded and remodeled our worship center, so there’s plenty of room for you! Right when you walk in the worship center doors you will notice that you are entering the back of the room. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you had to enter the front of the room where everyone could watch you?! Not here. You can enter the back, and you can even sit in the back if you’d like. However, our people like to sit in the back too, so if you want a back row seat, you may have to fight for it! All kidding aside, there is usually plenty of room, and an usher will greet you at the door, hand you a Worship Guide, and help you find a seat if needed.
The Service. Ancient Future Worship. This is the way we describe our philosophy of worship, and the way it plays out on Sunday morning is that we do what could best be described as “contemporary liturgy.” We incorporate some of the rich worship practices of the past with relevant, biblical preaching and a blend of contemporary worship music along with choruses and hymns from the past. Our worship team consists of talented musicians and singers who are versatile and able to lead us well in both the modern and the ancient. See below for an overview of what a typical Sunday morning worship service looks like. By the way, if you have children between the ages of 4 and 5th grade, then right before the sermon, you can choose to send them to the “My Message” time where they will enjoy an age-appropriate and engaging Bible lesson, crafts, and games. The teachers will take them to the children's rooms (the rooms are right across from each other and not far from the worship center) and you can pick them up there after the service. Feel free to tag along with them when they exit, check out their room, and meet their teachers. And, if you assess that it will be more fun in there than in the worship service, feel free to stay!
After the Service. The temptation for many visitors is to “bolt” right when the service ends. We’ve even made that easy for you with strategically placed side doors that exit to the outside of the building. But don’t do that! Stick around. Our people want to meet you, and you’ll find that some of them will come right up to you after the service to welcome you. That’s hard for them to do when you’re running out! You’re invited – with the rest of the church – to grab some light refreshments after the service in our cafe.
Communion Meal or Picnic. On the third Sunday of every month, we do something special after the service. From September-May, we transform the worship center into a dining room and eat a communion meal together. During the summer, we meet at the park behind the church (Lynnewood Park) for a picnic. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know people better than on a normal Sunday morning.
Safety and Security. An old hymn says this about safety and security: “Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms.” While we believe that ultimately the safety and security of our church comes from the Lord, we also believe that there are steps that we should take as well. Therefore, every Sunday, there is a security team on duty keeping an eye on things around the building. You may see men with walkie-talkies walking through the hallways and around the buildings. Just smile and say “hi” – if you know what’s good for you!
HERE'S WHAT A TYPICAL SUNDAY SERVICE LOOKS LIKE...
Call to Worship: We desire to live lives that are wholly devoted to the Lord, impacting and shaping every area of our lives. This call to worship is a call for God’s people to reorient their lives in submission and worship of the King of kings.
Worship in Song: We joyfully sing together because the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Colossians 3:16 to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (by) singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We sing modern worship songs, praise choruses from the past, and ancient hymns.
Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but – because of the death and resurrection of Jesus – “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession of our sin and then reveling in the assurance God gives us of His forgiveness through Jesus is something that God’s people ought to engage in daily, and this is why we do it each week when we gather. You will be invited to kneel during this, and we provide kneeling pads right inside the main sanctuary doors if you’d like one. Feel free to grab one on your way in. We won’t make you kneel, so feel free to stay seated during this if you’d like.
Prayers of the People: Jesus Christ is the King over all things and the Head of our church. Therefore, thanking Him, bringing our requests to Him, seeking guidance from Him, and listening to Him through prayer is at the core of all we do. Each week, you will be invited to join us in prayer for a specific need in our church, our city, or our world. Sometimes, we invite people to pray out loud from their seats, so don’t freak out if your neighbor prays out loud!
Welcoming and Greeting One Another: We greet people around us as the children (ages 4-5th grade) leave the worship center and go to their “My Message” time.
Scripture Reading: We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men, and the divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life. Therefore, we give the reading of Scripture a high place in our worship services.
Sermon: Pastor Mike usually preaches through books of the Bible, but on occasion, he will preach a topical series. If Mike’s not preaching on a particular Sunday, our associate pastor, Joe Eastman, will most likely be doing the honors.
Giving of Our Tithes and Offerings: Everything we have comes from the Lord, and all throughout the Scriptures, we see that He expects His people to be extremely generous with the resources He has given them. By taking an offering each week, we have the opportunity to worship the Lord and exhibit our trust in Him by giving back to Him a portion of what He has given to us for the furthering of His kingdom both here and around the world. We bring our offerings forward when we come forward to receive communion.
Celebrating Communion: God’s people are to be people whose lives are shaped by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, we meet together at the table each week in order to remember His sacrifice for us and to anticipate the day when we will join Him at the banquet table at the culmination of His kingdom (Rev. 19:6-10). If you have placed your faith in Christ, you are welcome to come forward to receive the elements. If you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and Savior, then feel free to stay seated. No one will make you feel uncomfortable for staying seated.
Doxology: Ever since this chorus was written in 1709, the church universal has been singing it as a response to the Lord for His countless blessings. We will sing this each week after we take the offering as an act of corporate worship and as a reminder that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:7)
Benediction: A blessing is given from the Scriptures to close the service, and it always ends with the pastor saying, “So, let us go forth to serve the world as those who love their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The congregation responds by saying “Amen!” and the service comes to a close.