I’m not a regular churchgoer—what can I expect?
Whether you’ve never been to church or it’s been a while or you’re used to one specific kind, it’s natural to be anxious, worried that you won’t know what to do, how to act, or what to say. The first thing to know is that you don’t have to be any different in the church than you are on the street or at home. As for what to expect, grab an Order of Worship, which includes all the news and announcements of the church, on your way in on Sunday morning. We often get first-timers at Grace, and we genuinely love it. We’re committed to helping you not feel like an outsider, assuming you want that help. As you might expect, there will be some music, some prayer, some readings (the congregation, if you’re wondering and want to join in, reads the words in bold print) and some teaching from the Scriptures. Feel free to participate actively in our worship or to just listen and observe.
What is your worship service like?
Worship at Grace reflects the people of Grace and the Reformed tradition of Christianity in which we stand. We include both modern and ancient music, all within a simple liturgy (which is to say that we follow a particular order rather than free-form). If you’re interested in this sort of thing, our worship follows a pattern set in the early centuries of the church, beginning with a humble but bold approach to God our Father. We consecrate ourselves to God as he forgives and embraces us. The Service of the Word follows, as God ministers to us through the reading and preaching of Scripture. We then move toward the Service of the Table once a month (usually the first Sunday of the month) in which we come to Christ together as he ministers to us through the sacrament of his body and blood.
What am I expected or supposed or allowed to do during communion?
Communion at Grace is served to the people in their seats as a reminder that it is God who choses and comes to us in Christ even when we were still enemies of God. Christians from any denomination are invited to participate in communion—it’s the Lord’s Table, not ours. If you know that you belong to Jesus, trust him, surrender to him, and are willing to love and forgive other Christians who have hurt you, then you should participate fully. If you feel you aren’t ready, then you can simply let the bread and the cup pass (we don’t want you to do anything that’s not true to where you are spiritually). Just know that we are glad you are with us and seeking to know the Lord.
How should I dress?
Some are comfortable in their Sunday best, some are comfortable in their weekend casual.
I know I don’t “have” to give money, but will I feel pressured to give?
The easy answer is no. Any public request for giving is not directed at you. We’re honored to have you as our guest and expect nothing in return. Jesus did not come to manipulate giving, but to free it.
When our community does give money, we give through a box on the table near the sanctuary entrance. This offering supports the church’s clergy and ministries as well as local and global ministries we support. If it is designated such, some of the monies given support the mercy work of the deacons who are able to distribute it to those in significant financial need.
What does "presbyterian" mean?
Presbyterian simply means "ruled by Elders" and it refers to the form of church government that we see in the early church of the New Testament era (see Acts 6, 14:23, 15; 1 Timothy 3, 5:17; 1 Peter 5 and others). The Elders of the church are elected from the congregation themselves and minister in the name of Christ to the people. Far from being authoritarian in nature, the rule of the Elders is that of servant leaders like Christ (John 13, 1 Timothy 3, 1 Peter 5).
How do you become a member of Grace?
Membership is voluntary and happens on the basis of a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For those interested in membership, we have an informational seminar a few times a year where people can share their stories, hear more about the church and ask questions. It's a safe time to explore and connect with others while you consider making such a commitment to the Lord and some of his people. The seminar does not obligate you to move toward membership, however!
Anyone becoming a member would simply need to affirm the following questions:
1. Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of
God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save
in His sovereign mercy?
2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God,
and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him
alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon
the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as
becomes the followers of Christ?
4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and
work to the best of your ability?
5. Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline
of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?