What To Expect

Visiting The Fellowship?

What to Expect:

We invite you to come with an expectancy to receive from God. That’s more important than all the details listed below. Jesus promised his own presence in the church. We sense his presence when the message of songs or sermon touches us at a deep place. God’s Word is no longer dry Bible talk, but a living connection to our Creator and Redeemer. Results? Our thinking, feeling, praying and even living itself are transformed as His love and truth washes over us. Sounds spooky? Overwhelming? Come with an open heart and discover the beautiful holy presence of the Lord.

But it also helps to know exactly what to expect in this church setting. Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s a wide variation in the way church is done in different places! What will you find at The Fellowship? To begin with, we are not locked in to either what’s Traditional or what’s Trendy, but only to what is True to God and to the pathway He has led us on.

Arrival

In the Worship Service

After the Worship Service

Classes

 

Arrival

Location

We are near the corner of Routes 106 and 123, across from the entrance to Target. Long term residents of this area know us as the church across from the waterfall. When you drive in the church entrance, you’ll find a parking lot with plenty of room for your car. Among the many doorways to the building, you’ll see the one clearly marked with the sign “Worship Center.”

Welcome Desk

As you enter, you will see the Welcome Center, staffed by friendly volunteers. They are well informed to answer any questions you may have about restrooms, classrooms, children, nursery, the worship service, or the church generally. We also have a small token gift for you to remember The Fellowship. You can pick up your gift bag before or after the service.

Congregation

Our people dress in wide range of ways, from jeans and a t-shirt to the occasional guy with a tie or lady in a pretty dress. Whatever you wear, we want you to feel comfortable, because we are not here to gauge people by their clothes. You’ll meet a community made up of families and singles, young and not so young, virtually every skin color, and (or last count) 23 different birth nations! Tradesmen, professionals, unemployed, retired folks, immigrants, homemakers, business men and women, the occasional homeless person, and the cutest babies anywhere – you’ll notice a warmth about our community, a family full of grace.

There are several first time visitors on most Sundays. You won’t be alone, you won’t stand out or you won’t be stared at. You will be warmly greeted, but you’re not going to be made to stand up in front of everyone, or do anything strange.

Bible

You’ll notice many carry a Bible, while others read Scripture from their smart phone. If you own a Bible, you will want to bring it. The pastor doesn’t preach a sermon so much as simply teach Bible. If you don’t own a Bible, no problem. There’s a bookshelf of Bibles and an usher will be happy to help you get one. In addition, the main Bible passages will appear on the overhead screens, and they are usually printed in the service program. The teaching is usually from the English Standard Version of the Bible. Many people carry the New International Version, or other translations. The differences from version to version are usually minor.

Special Needs

All entries on both levels are wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator between levels. And, of course, there are handicapped parking spaces near all main doors. There is plenty of space in the worship hall for wheelchairs to move and to settle in any section of the room.

If you are hearing impaired, ask for help from one of the volunteers at the tech booth just inside the entry to the Worship Hall. They can provide for your use a small inconspicuous FM receiver with ear buds. For many, this has given them freedom to hear sitting anywhere in the Worship Hall. Note, this is not a hearing aid (amplifier), but a small radio. For those who know sign language, a deaf interpreter signs in front of the left wing of the congregation. We hope someday to have sign language for the whole service, but for now the songs of our service joyfully engage both singers and signers. 

Jesus Followers” is a group of mentally & emotionally disabled adults who take part in our worship services, and who have a weekly class of their own. We appreciate their lively contribution to the life of our community.

Gluten-free wafers are available during communion. We seek to accommodate food allergies at retreats and other meal events. When you drop your children off at a class, be sure to inform the teacher of any food allergies.

 

In the Worship Service

Flow

The length of the worship service is about 75 minutes or so. The flow of the service usually includes music, prayers, scripture readings, offering, individuals sharing their stories, and a practical message from God’s Word, the Bible. We have communion on the first Sunday of each month. Occasionally baptism is part of the service.

Music

To express our worship we rely mostly on congregational singing rather than extensive reading of liturgy. The music may be accompanied by worship band, piano, or orchestra. Words are on the overhead screen, but hymnals are on the back shelf if you want to see the music when we sing standard hymns. We enjoy using a range of options, from enthusiastic to mellow and reflective, from traditional to contemporary, from ancient classics to ethnic gospel. Some people may raise their hands or clap. There’s an unforced freedom for people to express love for God in the way most authentic for them. It’s perfectly okay not to sing. In fact a number of people don’t sing and most don’t raise their hands.

Offering

We announce that visitors do not need to contribute to the offering. And we mean it. You are our guests! Those who make this their church home count it a privilege to support the ministry here, as well as sending much of our giving outside the church, to our missionaries scattered across the globe. Some donors give in the offering plate when it passes by. Others give online or through their bank. In other words, you won’t stand out when you pass the plate on by.

Bible Message

The word pastor means “shepherd.” He is responsible to feed the flock the Word of God. The basis of this is the conviction we have that the Bible is a message to us from God: entirely truthful, sufficient as a guide to living, and a channel of meeting with God. The messages are usually in a series that progresses week by week through a book of the Bible. You can listen to or download the pastor’s Bible messages here. But don’t come to church just to hear a man. Instead, come to hear God speaking to your heart through his Word.

 

After the Worship Service

Prayer Team

Do you sense a need for God’s help? Is that feeling heightened as you listen and take part in worship? Sometimes people are moved to seek help after the service from the prayer team at the left front of the Worship Hall. Whatever your need – forgiveness, illness, guidance, or a need in a loved one – they will pray for you. If you would like a quiet space to pray alone, the prayer chapel is marked by a sign at the open door just behind the pianist.

Refreshments

After each service, coffee and light refreshments are available in the Family Activity Center, at the coffee window. These minutes of conversation and sharing, meeting old friends and making new ones, can be one of the best parts of Sunday morning.

 

Classes

All ages. Some classes meet at 9:00 and some at 10:45, the same hours as the Worship Services. The pattern for some people is to worship at 9:00 and to go to class at 10:45. For others the pattern is going to class at 9:00, then to worship at 10:45. Both worship services are identical, but the classes are not. So your own pattern will be determined by picking the class or classes that best suit you, and possibly your family. At 9:00, there are classes for all age groups: adults, teenage youth, and children. At 10:45 there are 2-3 adult classes, and a partial hour children’s church. The volunteers at the Welcome Desk will be happy to help you find the right classrooms.

Children in Church

Having children and youth in the main Worship Service benefits them and benefits the service. We try to include them in ushering, special musical numbers, speaking, and other ways. Children staying with their parents in one service and going to class at the other hour is ideal. In the 10:45 service when we dismiss children partway through the service, some go to Children’s Church (age 4 to grade 3), and some stay in adult church. Babies are welcome in the service. For parents who choose it, we offer a clean, well- equipped, well-staffed nursery for children from birth through age 3. But we welcome the presence of children in the service, even if they are at times a little restless. Learning to sit in church is a process, and God welcomes the sounds of children. So do we. We are a family!

Child Safety

When your child needs you in nursery, you will be paged using the number you received when your child was checked in. That number is also the way you are identified to pick up your child. Children in classes use only the solo bathrooms, accompanied by a teacher who first makes sure the bathroom is clear, then waits in the hall. If a child needs bathroom assistance, or a diaper change, a parent is paged. Staff will no longer change diapers or touch a child in that way. All children’s groups must have two adults present in the classroom. We have cut windows in all doors so that there is always full visibility in classrooms and offices. Security cameras record the comings and goings in every hall and open space. Every children’s worker and youth worker is screened and given a background check. They are given safety guidelines and training, including how to recognize “grooming.” All are required to avoid any touch, gifts, or special friendships that could be misjudged, and to remind one another of the same. An action may seem completely innocent, but better to call it out than to regret it later. Child predators seek out trusting environments as soft targets. They soon recognize that this church is not a soft target! Please do not send your young child out of the Worship Service alone to go to the restroom. Go with them. Finally, bring your child to nursery or class only if they have been free of fever or contagious disease for at least 24 hours. Inform the class teacher of any food allergies the child has. Do not rely on the child to report this. The safety of our children is of prime importance. If you observe any lapses in these policies, please report it to us immediately.

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