Be Our Guest
Come as you are. Be our guest this week if you are able!
Our worship, offered three times a week (Thursday nights at 6:00pm and Sunday mornings at 8 & 10:30) is built around the truth.
Truth is – we are all the worst sinners we know. Truth is – Jesus came into the world to save sinners! Truth is – a church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for those who can help themselves.
So, no dress code. No expectations. No judging. We’re each here because from pastor to each soul we are each the worst sinner we know. But Christ came to save sinners!
You can expect to be welcomed at the door – this door in fact. Unless you’d like to be dropped off and seated within feet of our accessible and sheltered doors under our drive through canopy. Our worship space was constructed in such a way as to make it easier for those needing enhanced accessibility to join us.
Service folders are available as you enter – though many choose to use either the hymnals placed under the church seating or the entire service projected on the walls to either side of the altar.
The Greek word “tetelestai” is the word Jesus spoke from the cross, meaning “it is finished.”
Speaking of the altar up front – it is literally labeled with “truth.” It reminds us that although altars were used to bring sacrifices that reminded God’s people of the perfect sacrifice to come – Jesus came and offered himself once and for all on Good Friday as payment for our sin. There will never be or need to be a sacrifice on the altar. There’s nothing we can add or do to earn God’s favor. It is finished!
That’s important to remember as you walk into the sanctuary. You’ll notice offering plates there (we don’t pass them during the service). Those are for our members as they support the ministry we carry out together. You are not obligated in the least – you are our guest!
And if you bring young children with you there is a children’s worship “training room” to your left just before you enter the church. We love the sound of children in church and the chance to teach them to worship with us, but if you need a quiet place during the service please know it is there.
The service starts with ringing of the bells and an introduction to the day’s worship by the pastor. He’ll give you an idea what the conversation will be about between God’s heart and yours. You can count on him having put in hours in the original languages of the Bible to share and apply God’s Word to our daily lives. Expect to feel convicted and relieved many times over as the truth of God’s expectations and his saving, forgiving love in Jesus are shared throughout the service.
This is a lot of words and we haven’t really got started. If it helps, in preparation, feel free to check out an archived video of one of our services here at any time – and check back here if you have any questions. Or reach out in an email and we’d be glad to answer any questions.
Back to the basic service.
There will be a hymn or worship song accompanied by organ, piano or maybe a video.
We will confess our sins in order to free our hearts to believe – when God pronounces through the pastor that our sins are forgiven – that any promise of love or heaven we hear in the service are indeed meant for us!
We’ll pray – and then settle down to hear up to four messages from God’s Word. You can usually expect a reading from the Old Testament, the book of Psalms, from one of the New Testament letters or “epistles,” and from one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John – the books that describe the fact that Jesus came to be our Savior, just as God had promised). Sprinkled in between those readings will oftentimes be verses from the Bible that remind us God does just that, keeps his promises.
After another worship song or hymn Pastor will share an exegetical sermon usually based on one of those readings. That just means that, trained in Biblical Hebrew and Greek, he will share what the original language speaks to God’s people today, not his thoughts, feelings or opinions. God’s Word drives the message, not his own agenda. Listen for law (part of the Bible that tells us we need a Savior or would be lost.) Without it we wouldn’t value what Jesus did.
Then make sure you don’t leave without hearing specific Gospel (that’s the part of the Bible that tells us that Jesus took the punishment we deserve to the cross – and pronounced it paid. And that Jesus kept every expectation God had of us perfectly – and God credited that to our account). Without being assured of God’s love we’d be miserable and without hope.
If you haven’t already checked it out, or haven’t ever ran across it – check out God’s Great Exchange – a great way to understand how God “balanced the books” so know his love and promise of heaven!
After the sermon’s final “Amen,” (or this is most certainly true) we’ll usually sing a song asking God to work that hope and joy in our hearts now and always and also use one of the statements of belief (or Creeds) to celebrate, affirm and encourage each other in our faith.
Prayer, or the ability to confidently approach our Creator, knowing that he loves us, wants us to call on him in trouble and thank him for his blessings, is one of faith’s greatest privileges. We’ll pray for ourselves, the world and oftentimes, specifically on behalf of St. John’s members who ask us to mention them and their struggles or victories by name.
If there is no communion offered (scroll way down for more about that), there’ll be one more worship song and the closing benediction or blessing. God instructs pastors and teachers to speak his name over his people. That name claimed us to be his in baptism and watches over us every day – until we get to hear it again next week.
The service concludes officially with announcements for the week and an opportunity to get to know the people who worshiped with you. If you didn’t get a chance to introduce yourself to someone, and hopefully the pastor, now’s the time to do it. We want to get to know you – and you us!
Nothing else, if you didn’t already do so, please leave us your name and some kind of contact information on the friendship register that was hopefully passed down your row sometime during the service, or is certainly somewhere in that row after the service.
Oh – and while the basic “bones” of every service are pretty much the same, there are variations like communion services, Blended worship services, Midweek services during Advent and Lent and special services like Christmas, Easter and the like. You can click on any of them for a little more info, but … we hope you’ll give us an opportunity to answer any questions you have in person.