WHAT TO EXPECT
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.
Covid-19. Pursuant to the 8/20/21 NM DOH new indoor mask mandate, we once again require that masks be worn while inside our building by everyone (age 2 and older) who attends our Sunday worship services. Masks may be removed indoors for the taking of communion, and only those speaking from the pulpit or leading us in singing should remove their masks indoors while they lead.
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 up to the front door and enjoy first-class parking! If there are no parking spots left, 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.
The Front Door. At the door, you will be met by a greeter. A greeter is an exceptionally nice person who will welcome you and point you to the Worship Center and nursery (if needed). He or she will not only greet you but will also answer any questions you may have like: "Where are the restrooms?" "Is Pastor Mike long-winded?" and "If I want to yell 'Amen' when Pastor Mike nails a point, can I?" (Yes. Yes, you can.)
Worship Seating. When you walk into the worship center, you'll 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?! Not here. You'll 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! For now, our rows are 6 feet apart, and we ask that 2-3 seats be left between people or family groups.
Children's Ministry. It's called MY MESSAGE. Children K-5th grade are released from the service before the sermon to go off for their own "message" - which is designed to help them engage with the UP, IN, and OUT aspects of the Jesus-Shaped Life.
Youth Ministry. It's for students grades 6-12, and they also gather during the sermon on Sundays for their own time in the Word. The Jesus-Shaped Life is also a main focus of our youth ministry as students go UP by digging into the Word together; they go IN by building relationships with one another around tables of home-baked breakfast foods; and they go OUT by praying for their friends and inviting them to occasional OUT gatherings.
Worship. God created us for worship! While all Christ-followers are called to live daily lives of worship, it's also essential that we gather regularly together to worship. When we gather as a church family, 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. See below for an overview of what a typical Sunday morning worship service looks like.
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 and head outside to visit. Our people want to meet you, and you’ll find that some of them will even come right up to you and welcome you. That’s hard for them to do when you’re running to your car and peeling out!
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 being reminded of 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!
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.
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.