Visiting a new church for the first time can be very intimidating. We’d like to help you out by telling you a little bit about what to expect to help relieve some of that anxiety and give you a picture of what a typical Sunday looks like at Real Life. Our desire is that you will find a safe place to be real, ask questions, and grow toward God.
When you first arrive you will typically be greeted by a kind face and handed a worship folder that contains our announcements and lets you know more about who we are. You will then find a pot of coffee, hot water for the tea and hot chocolate drinkers, and an oatmeal bar in case you didn’t have time for breakfast. These items are open for everyone and you are welcome to bring them into our sanctuary as well. The greeter will be happy to answer any questions and make sure you know where to go.
If you have kids, know that they are very welcome! We believe these small humans are super important! The kind face at the door will show you where to go depending on their ages. We have a nursery for the smallest ones through age 3 and Kids’ Church for those 4 years old through 5th grade. Each child will be given a name tag which also has your name on it so we know who will pick them up after the service.
All kids ages 4 and up start in the sanctuary with our church family. Together we sing songs and pray. Before the sermon we gather the kids and say a blessing over them before sending them to learn about God on their own level. Sometimes we also have Family Worship where the kids stay throughout the service and learn how we worship together in “big church”. We welcome their laughter, questions, and noises and try to help set the grown ups at ease by providing packets to keep their hands busy while they listen.
Seating and Dress
We invite you to come as yourself. You will see folks dressed in anything from “business casual” to jeans or shorts. When you enter our sanctuary you will find the green cushioned chairs arranged in a semi-circle around the communion table, which sits in front of our stage. You will also find a few tables and chairs. You are welcome to sit anywhere you like. You will typically find a Communication Card on the table, in the seat backs, or in your Worship Folder. This card is an easy way for us to get better acquainted; you can ask for any kind of information or assistance or simply let us know what you think.
The service usually begins with a welcome and some announcements from what we call our worship host. Sometimes they will give you an opportunity to say hello to those around you. We then read a passage of scripture (usually a Psalm) and our band leads us in songs of worship.
At Real Life we have a Preaching Team, which means you will often hear a different voice each week. After the music one of our preaching team members will read scripture and share a message for about 20-30 minutes. Sometimes these messages are the traditional “sermon” and other times we ask people to participate (to their comfort level) as we engage the Bible as well as different stories and ideas. Our response to the message is often to receive God’s grace through communion.
Following the message each week, we celebrate communion. Communion (also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper) is a Christian celebration of the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At Real Life we celebrate with an open table; this means we believe it is God’s table and so all who desire to receive grace from God are welcome to participate. You do not have to be a member or a regular attender to receive.
Here’s how it works: The leader will bless the elements (that’s the word we use to describe the bread and cup of juice) and then they will invite you to come and receive. If you wish to come forward, you cup your hands and we place the gluten free cracker in your hand. This bread or cracker represents the body of Christ broken for us. You then dip the cracker in the cup of grape juice which represents Jesus’ blood, spilled for us. If you aren’t able to come forward, we are always happy to serve you where you are. While people are receiving, the band plays a song and everyone is welcome to listen, sing, or pray. Those who aren’t ready to receive the elements are welcome to stay in their seat and observe or participate in the music.
At the end of our service we receive an offering. Our offering is for people who call Real Life their church home and these funds are used to support Real Life as well as ministries in our community and across the world. As our guest, your gift to us is simply your presence. When the basket comes by you can drop your communication card in it so our staff can get to know you and know how we can serve you.
We end each service with a benediction. The benediction is a blessing that the Pastor pronounces over the people to send them into the world to do God’s loving work.
After the Service
We play music after the service and encourage people to take time to get to know others. This is a great time for guests to meet our Pastor and staff. This is also the time where those with kids will make their way back to the nursery and Kids’ Space to pick up their kids, and maybe meet other parents.
We believe that all we do on Sunday morning, from sharing our lives over a cup of coffee to the songs, scripture, communion, and everything in between, is an act of worship. We believe God uses these moments when we are gathered to shapes us so that we might grow more and more into the image of God, our Creator. And when we leave, we leave to continue to worship God with how we live our lives and love others. We invite you to join us on the journey!