Perhaps, you are wondering? I mean you really have not gone to a church service before. At the least, you have not been at St. Andrew’s. So you are wondering what a church service is all about. If you are, this is the reason for this little introduction.
So what happens at a church service? Is there a certain type of clothes you are expected to wear? No, there really isn’t. Just wear the clothes you would normally wear. It is your heart God looks at not your clothes!
Here is a tip that just might help you. The first few times you come, you may not quite know what is happening. e. g. When to stand etc.. Don’t sit at the front (most people do not anyway!). Instead, sit near the back so you will see what others are doing in front of you.
So what happens during a church service? We gather each Sunday to worship God! Now, this may seem like a strange thing to say but it isn’t. God is the most important person in our lives. Through Jesus, God’s Son we have become His sons and daughters.
In other words, we gather to worship God (Give God His true worth). And to do this we have at least these things in the service:
CALL TO WORSHIP: The minister or pastor calls the people to come before God.
PRAYERS (Prayer is talking to God) OF PRAISE: We tell God how great He is.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION: We acknowledge our failures (sins) and ask God to forgive us. This prayer is read together as a congregation.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: Jesus taught us this prayer. It is as follows “OUR FATHER, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
PRAYERS FOR THE PEOPLE: It is here that we pray for those who are sick, in trouble etc.
HYMNS: These are really songs. Some are older songs which the church has sung for many years. Other songs are modern. When we sing, we are telling God how much He means to us and how much we love Him.
CHILDREN’S TIME: This is usually a story or lesson for the Children who have come to the church service. They are called up to the front (If they do not want to come that is okay too!). If there happens to be no children at church the Children’s Story still goes ahead. The adults would be disappointed if there was no Children’s Time.
THE OFFERING: This is the time, we give back to God. The money received on the collection plates (They are passed around the congregation.) is used for the running of the church and for reaching out to others. When you first come to the church service, you don’t need to put anything on the offering plate. We are just glad you are with us.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Usually there is special music during the service. What is sung or played helps us to realize God’s greatness and His great love for us.
MEET AND GREET: Every third Sunday of each month is Friendship Sunday. During the church service, we stop the service. This is a time, when we can get out of our seats and meet those we may not have seen all week.
THE READING OF THE SCRIPTURES: If you do not have a Bible don’t worry. There will be a Bible for you to read as it is read aloud from the front. (They will be in the racks in front of you). The Bible, we believe is God’s Word. We read it to remind us of who God is and how we are to respond to God’s love.
RESPONSIVE PSALM: We also read from the Psalms (Found in the Old Testament in the Bible). This is done responsively. The minister reads the first part and the people the next part. There is a red Psalter in the racks in front of you.
THE SERMON: This is the message the minister or pastor gives. It is usually based on the Scripture lessons that have been read. The minister usually stands in front of where the people are sitting and talks without notes. It lasts about 20 minutes or so. (It isn’t as boring as you might think. The minister doesn’t believe it should be and tries to make it interesting. By the time the sermon is finished, you should have something to help you in your life.)
BENEDICTION: After the last hymn, the minister or pastor raises his arms and blesses the people. In other words, what is being asked is that God will bless each one in the church service and help them throughout the week.
GO NOW IN PEACE: In response to the Benediction, we all sing the following song: “Go now in peace. Never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day. Go now in faith, steadfast, strong, and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. Go now in love, and show you believe. Reach out to others, so all the world can see. God will be there, watching from above. Go now in peace, in faith, and in love. A-men, a-men, a-a-a-men.”
The Service is now over. At this point, you can either leave or go down stairs. If you go down stairs, you will not be disappointed. There will be refreshments and something to eat. You will be able to meet some of those who were in the service.
Now that you have an idea of what happens at a church service, you may still have one more question: Why worship God?
As I said before, we are giving God His true worth. For us, God is very important. In fact, we love Him. To worship God is something like going to a concert to hear your favourite singer. When you see and hear them singing, you just have to let them know you think they are great and wonderful. This is what we are doing when it comes to God!
P.S. As you arrive, one or two people from our church will be available to greet you as you come in and will help you with questions or where to go. You will receive a bulletin with information on the service as well as news about our church. Our services tend to run approximately 11 a.m. to 12 noon.