First Time Visitors
If you are a visitor, we would like to welcome you to First Christian Church! Here are some things you might want to know about our service and facility:
- What time should I arrive?
- Entering the building
- Worship Service
Worship begins at 10:00 am on Sundays. Please come early and join in the many conversations taking place!
Parking at First Christian is free and plentiful. If you wish, there is a circle drive where you can let off passengers at the front door before you park.
The front entrance is accessible with automatic doors. An elevator provides access to the lower level and our fellowship hall. We have audio amplifiers for those who prefer assistance in hearing the service. Just ask an usher for an amplifier.
Most people enter the building through the front door. As you enter, you most likely will be greeted by members. Please feel free to chat and ask questions. You may also enter the building through the side door if you park in the side parking lot. If you enter via this lower level door, you can go directly upstairs to the sanctuary via the stairs, or you can use the elevator, which is to the right as you come in the door. If you come in this way, you may miss the greeters. However, any member would be happy to talk and answer any questions.
For children age infant through preschool, childcare is available in the lower level nursery. Just ask any member how to get to the nursery.
Parents are welcome to keep their children, including infants and small children, with them during worship. We celebrate children and enjoy having them with us, so you are encouraged to keep your child with you if you prefer. If at any time you feel that your child is making too much noise or your child is restless, you are welcome to utilize the Kids Corner at the back of the sanctuary, a small space with toys, books and coloring supplies for young children with busy hands. You are also welcome to use the Lounge, a room in the back gathering space, which has a speaker, where you can shut the door and continue to listen to the service. Toys and a comfortable chair are available so the you and your child can be at ease. Please note that parent supervision is required in these areas. An usher or other member can show you the location of the Kids Corner or the Lounge.
As you walk through the gathering space and toward the sanctuary, ushers will greet you and offer you a copy of the day's bulletin. The bulletin contains the order of the service, which includes the parts of the service, hymn numbers, and parts spoken by the congregation as part of worship. Much of this information will be projected on screens during the service.
Besides offering the bulletin, the ushers will be happy to assist you in finding seating, showing the location of the restrooms, and answer any other questions you might have.
Members and visitors may sit anywhere they prefer. Worship is conducted similar to most mainline Christian churches. There will be some music, some singing, some readings, and a sermon/message. At times the congregation is asked to stand, but individuals may continue sitting if they prefer. Hymns are listed in the bulletin and on the projector screens. We use two hymnals, a red one (The Chalice Hymnal) and a purple one (the Chalice Praise hymnal) which is indicated in the bulletin as "CP." The words for the songs are projected on the screens, so reading from the hymnals is optional. Here are the components of a typical worship service:
Announcements: The pastor or worship leader leads in providing announcements of events or deadlines that the membership should know about.
Prelude: During this time music is played, which allows individuals to prepare themselves mentally and spiritually for worship.
Call to worship: A reader reads a passage or two that reminds us of scripture and the day's topic, with responses from the congregation. The words are in the bulletin and projected on the screens. This marks the beginning of worship and helps get the congregation in the frame of mind for worship.
Singing: The Disciple Singers lead us in singing for worship. Enjoy the many instruments and the variety of old and new songs during worship.
Readings: Readings from scripture are read by a member. Sometimes "call and response" readings are used (a reader and the congregation take turns reading scripture) during this time. One passage is always from the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). The passages are selected from the Liturgical Calendar.
Children's Message: After about 20 minutes into the service, children are called to come to the front, where a member provides a short message about the day's topic, geared to children.
Joys & Concerns: The pastor leads in communicating particular joys or concerns among the congregation. Individuals often use this time to ask for prayers for loved ones who are going through difficult times.
Message: The pastor, or sometimes a designated person, reflects on the scripture readings to help us understand and relate the messages to our daily lives.
Offering: Offering plates are passed among the congregation to receive freewill offerings. Most members pledge an amount annually and provide their offering in other ways (such as electronically), but some choose to provide their offering during this time. The offering is used to pay the bills needed to run the church and to fund our many missions.
Communion: The Disciples of Christ have an open table. This means that we do not distinguish between members and visitors. All, including visitors, are welcome to participate in our communion. The table is central to our worship, so we have communion weekly (and often at other events). The congregation remains in their seats, while servers provide trays of bread (all gluten free) and grape juice (instead of wine) for people to serve each other in their seats. The communion is started from one loaf, which is broken into pieces and distributed. Each person breaks off a small portion and eats it. Then each person takes a small cup of grape juice and drinks it, replacing the cup in the tray. Anyone may choose not to participate in communion for any reason.
Closing Hymn and Benediction: A hymn is chosen to uplift people and prepare them to reenter the world. The benediction marks the end of worship with words that remind us of the day's scriptures and links them to what we can do as we go out. Visitors are encouraged to take one of our music CDs, created by members of our congregation, so they can listen to several of our common hymns for personal worship at home.
Fellowship: Once worship is over, individuals may leave if they want, but many choose to stay in the gathering space at the back of the sanctuary where refreshments are served and people can get to know each other. Visitors are especialy encouraged to join us to talk and ask questions.