WHAT TO EXPECT
On an average Sunday we generally have about 75 adults and 40 youth ranging from newborns to high school. With a church our size, you will not be able to be invisible. We want to welcome you without being a pest; hospitable, not overbearing. We do not use bulletins but we do have a half-sheet handout that helps orient visitors to our Sunday worship at an information rack in the foyer.
Our service starts at 10:15 but do not be surprised if people are still milling about by the coffee at 10:18 (or 10:20). Our service time can vary from week to week but we usually end in the 11:45-12:00 range.
People at Life on the Vine dress casually. We project the words to our music on two screens on the north and south walls of the sanctuary. Our music style would be best described as contemporary praise while also drawing from familiar hymns. We sit in the round with a large table in the center of the room from which we serve communion each week. This configuration centers us on the presence of Christ and guides us out of isolation and into seeing one another.
We observe communion every Sunday. When we take communion, each row moves toward the north and south aisles and comes forward to receive the elements from a server. The server will offer the bread to you and say, "the body of Christ broken for you" and then you are invited to tear off a piece of bread. Then the server will offer you the cup and say, "the new life in Christ's blood." You may then dip the bread into the cup and eat it. We also have wafers on each plate to accommodate those who require a gluten-free option. Communion is open to all who have been baptized at any age. Those still awaiting baptism at any age are invited to come forward as well with arms crossed over their chests so the server can bless them with words such as, "may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May he lift his eyes to you and give you peace all the days of your life. Amen."
Jesus invites the little ones to come to him for to such belong the Kingdom. If you have children, we have a nursery for ages up to 18 months (we call seedlings) and a class for 2-4 year olds (blossoms) that starts prior to the beginning of service where there is an age-appropriate bible story, snacks, and play. The 5-10 year olds start out in the main sanctuary with everyone until after the Scripture readings. At that time, a worship leader will say, "Let us now send the children to continue their worship with a blessing." All of the children stand at the south entrance of the sanctuary. The congregation extends our hands to them and says, "Children of God, the Lord bless you as you continue your worship." The children and teachers respond back, "And also with you." They go into an adjoining classroom to hear a Bible story with a time of response. All children return to the sanctuary after the sermon and the prayers of the people.
We understand that it takes time to make friends with others in a church. It also feels like once you have connected with one or two people in a church, your connection to the whole community grows. This can take some time but we have generally found that grabbing a meal or coffee with others from the church is a good place to start. A handful of people often go out to lunch after the Sunday service. There are a few dinner groups that meet during the month. We also like to invite people into our homes to get to know each other better. A pastor can let you know what is happening and how to connect with a few others who live near you or who you may have a shared interest.
We look forward to your visit and we hope that you feel welcome when you come but even more we hope that you sense God's holy, loving, gracious, merciful, mysterious, beautiful, powerful presence among us as we gather together in faith.