What to expect when you worship with us.
A lot happens on a Sunday morning at Community. If you're new to Community and/or Christian worship then it can be confusing when you enter the main doors to the church. If you arrive before the service starts (always recommended!) you'll see adults and children talking with each other and walking to different parts of the church. You might also hear pre-service music coming from the sanctuary, the big room directly in front of you.
There are several ways to clear up any confusion that you might have. Reading this guide is a good first step. Emailing the Church Office or one of the Pastors earlier in the week is another way to get answers to specific questions. If you've just arrived at the church your first stop should be the Information Desk just inside the main entrance and to the right of the main sanctuary doors. The volunteer is there to welcome you to Community and to provide any information that you might need (e.g., you might wonder about Community's nursury and programming for your older children during the service).
Perhaps the best source of information on what to expect when you worship at Community is our weekly bulletin. You can get a bulletin from the Information Desk, from the ushers who help you to your seat or here, online. The bulletin spells out the liturgy for that Sunday. A liturgy is simply a guide to the different parts of the worship service.
When you read the liturgy you'll see that the pastor and congregation "walk" together through some very significant steps:
- Responding to God's call for us to worship Him, we open in praising Him and then acknowledge that we've messed things up in the past week and need to confess those shortcomings. These sins have harmed our relationships with God, each other and our community. In confessing our sins we also hear about God the Father's assurance that He has forgiven us because of what He has done through His Son, Jesus Christ.
- It is then with a mix of humilty and joy that we turn to the Bible, to read and hear God's word to us. The sermon that comes after the Bible reading is the result of the pastor's encounter with God's word. This encounter involves many things: study, prayer, reflection, and conversations with the other pastors and members of the congregation. Together, we examine and reflect upon what God is telling us--not only about ourselves but, more importantly, about Him.
- In some mysterious way, God's Spirit brings all of these things together and the congregation is instructed in and benefits from a deeper understanding and experience of God, His word and His world. At the centre of that understanding--you might say, holding everything together--is the truth of what Jesus accomplished on God's behalf for our benefit: salvation. Salvation is a both a word basic to Christianity (you can't have Christianity without it) and a word that's full of meaning for Christians. The more sermons you hear, the more you'll understand what salvation is all about and what it means for your life, the lives of your family and friends, and the life of your community. If that sounds a bit vague or even confusing then come join us, listen in and participate as we unfold and fully explore God's gift of "salvation"--it's a life-long journey of discovery that you'll never regret.
- The final part of the worship service takes us from listening to God's gospel ("gospel" means "good news," which a sermon always is) to responding to God's gospel. Here you will sing, have the opportunity to give an offering (a financial gift), and listen as our prayers are spoken to God. Finally, the pastor will offer a benediction (a blessing to the congregation). We leave refreshed and ready once more to serve God and others in the arts, the sciences, in politics and economics, at home, in school and on the job, in the great outdoors or in the office. Everywhere, in fact!
The walk that the pastor and congregation take together each Sunday is only part of what you'll find in the bulletin. Christianity and the Christian life are much bigger than what happens in church on Sunday and the bulletin provides info on activities occurring during the coming week.