New to Worship
"There's HOPE around the Corner."
Come and Worship with Us!
Based on an article by Pastor Dennis Stueve, St. John Lutheran Church, Hemet, CA
It can be hard to go to a church for the first time. There are so many questions that aren't answered in mailings and newspaper ads.
For example, "Will I know how to get into the building for the service, or will I pick the wrong door?" "Can I bring my children to worship?" "What should I wear?" "What will the service be like?" Unknown factors like these can make church intimidating.
I hope to answer some of the questions you might have about our church before you visit. I'd like to make your visit with us relaxed and enriching.
My deepest wish is that when you visit Hope Lutheran, you will hear about your Savior, Jesus, and come to know the grace and love of God more and more.
Every church has its own style of worship. I think you'll enjoy the services at Hope.
Our Style of Worship
All worship experiences center around the Word of God and focus our attention on Him.
- Sunday Morning 10:00 a.m. - Classic Worship - an open and welcoming blend of traditional forms with contemporary elements. Lots of variety in music styles. Child care is provided for both worship services. Children's Messages include the children and families in worship, while allowing parents to focus on the message.
The order of worship is printed in the service folder. All the readings and prayers are printed there for you. You are welcome to bring along your own Bible and follow along there if you choose.
Sometimes people wonder how they are expected to dress at a church they've never visited before.
Since the Bible presents no dress code, aside from simple decency and Christian humility, Hope Lutheran Church doesn't make any rules either.
Like most people, our members try to make their worship time at church a special time. This is often reflected in the way they dress.
But dress is a personal matter of worship before God. One may dress casually and rejoice that we have a God who accepts us as we are. Another may dress to reflect the awe and reverence we have for our Savior King.
On any weekend at our church you may see running shoes and high heels, jeans and suits, or open collars and ties. When a person dresses out of love for God, the choice of dress (casual or more formal) is acceptable to God ... and us.
"When will they take the offering?" "How will it be collected?" "How much am I expected to give?" "Do they want visitors to contribute too?" These are typical worries about church offerings.
The Bible teaches that our offerings to God should reflect our belief that all we have is his gift to us. It teaches us that with our offerings we worship and honor God.
Like most Christians, our members bring offerings to God through their church. Since offerings are gifts of love for God, no one dictates what each person is to give.
We pass an offering plate during the service so that our worship may include bringing gifts to God. (Offering envelopes are available and keep our gifts a private matter known only to God who sees what we do in private.)
A child may bring the quarters and dimes his parents give him. Someone older may write a check. Both are remembering Jesus and giving their gift out of love for him.
You may wish at first to learn more about our ministry before bringing your offerings to God through our church. But you are welcome to participate as your heart leads you to give.
The Worst that can Happen
Attending church somewhere for the first time can be intimidating. Here are some common worries:
- "I would just die if they made me stand up and say something." I assure you, we won't embarrass you in this or any other way. We want you to feel comfortable and at home with us. Church should be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We promise to do all we can so you can learn about your Savior.
- "I know my child is going to be too noisy." We welcome your children to attend our services, but if you feel uncomfortable with their noise level we do offer child care at our services.
- "I know I will feel out of place." I hope that this visitor's guide will ease your mind, but if you have a question, please ask someone for help. Don't hesitate to say, "I am new. What is this about?"
- "I am afraid I will say or do something wrong." All of us have felt this way when in a new situation. But I hope you see the people of HOPE to be ordinary people just like yourself. We want to accept you as you are and help you become what Christ wants you to be. We do not want to throw cold water on that by a critical spirit.
- "I just want to watch at first and I know that they will try to involve me or sign me up." It is unpleasant to be pressured or to be part of a "membership drive" as though we were heads of cattle, isn't it? We believe that church membership should be a voluntary thing, and that the most important thing is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. It takes time for this to be cultivated. People need time to evaluate and decide if they wish further involvement. We believe we should respect that need.
- "I don't know that much about the Bible." Church and Bible Study are opportunities to grow in our knowledge of the Bible and faith in Jesus. You won't have to answer any questions you don't want to answer. And remember, sometimes the wisest words we say are, "I don't know."
I pray that this has helped answer some of your questions and alleviate your fears. Our goals as a congregation are quite simple. We want to grow in faith and share that faith with people like you. Everything we do is meant to accomplish these two goals. I pray that there is nothing that stands in your way from learning more about your Savior.
Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you.
God's blessings to you, and we look forward to seeing you in church.