I'm New

Visiting a church for the first time can be a daunting experience. Here are some things that will hopefully help you prepare.

Location

We are just north of 83 on Arlington Heights Rd.  The driveway leading to our church building is on the west side of Arlington Heights across the street from a park and school.

When you arrive

With a church our size, you will not be able to be invisible.  Somebody will welcome you and introduce themselves.  You will be given a small handout that describes the order of our Sunday worship.  Grab a cup of coffee. 

What Should I Wear? 

We dress casually.  Feel free to dress in whatever way is comfortable for you.  Jeans and a t-shirt are normal. 

What Else Should I Expect?

We project artwork and the words to our music onto screens in the sanctuary. Our music style would be best described as contemporary praise while also drawing from hymns. We sit in the round with a large table in the center of the room from which we serve communion each week. We have found meeting in this configuration to be forming us away from becoming passive spectators of a few gifted performers.  Rather, it re-centers us around the presence of Christ and seeing one another as fellow brothers and sisters.
 
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 gluten-free wafers available at each station.
 
Communion is open to all who have been baptized at any age. Those still awaiting baptism are still encouraged to come forward to receive a blessing.

What about the children?
 
We see children as fellow worshippers with us.  Jesus says that anyone who receives a little one in his name, receives him. 

We have a nursery for ages up to 18 months (Seedlings) and a class for 2-4 year olds (Blossoms) that both start prior to the beginning of service.


Children ages 5-10, worship 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 gather at the doors of the sanctuary and face us. 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 the children are picked up from their classrooms after the sermon during our worship in song. 

Sunday Morning

Our Sunday morning liturgy or pattern of worship was formed with great intentionality, drawing from many traditions.  It is one of the primary places where we are formed to be disciples of Jesus out into the world.  Gathered around the Table, we discern Christ’s presence and work in our lives and relationships with one another.  From this place, our imaginations are transformed to see Christ’s presence and work in all the world. 
   

GATHERING

We greet and welcome one another in the foyer informally.  We grab a cup of coffee and introduce ourselves to someone we haven’t met before.  Some may quietly enter the sanctuary to pray or walk along the walls and reflect on the artwork. 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

We take a few moments at the beginning to share family news, community life, and opportunities to serve together. 
 
PASSING THE PEACE

Proclaiming that Christ’s death and resurrection have reconciled us to God and one another, we greet each other with, “The peace of Christ be with you.”  “And also with you.” 
 
SILENCE

Integral to worship throughout the ages, silence makes room for God.
 
INVOCATION

After asking the Spirit to guide our time together, we light candles on the altar as a symbol of God’s special presence among those who gather in Jesus’ name.
 
SCRIPTURE

Each week four passages from Scripture are read, one each from the Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel, spanning the great story of our God.  Listen for any common threads.  We stand for the Gospel out of respect for “The word of the Lord” to which we respond, “Thanks be to God.”
 
ICON

In a culture of images that typically amuse, lie, or seduce, we invite God to renew our imaginations with art that affirms his goodness or confronts our sin.
 
LITANY

In unison, as one body, we confess sin, pray in submission, or affirm a truth.
 
SERMON

The sermon is a place where good news is proclaimed over the trouble in our lives and in our world.  In hearing the good news, we may encounter Christ.  Because preaching is a communal affair, all of us depend upon the Spirit for the speaking, testing, and obeying of God’s word.  So the preacher prays, “The Lord be with you” and the congregation responds, “And also with you.”


PRAYERS

We voluntarily may offer short prayers of confession, submission, or affirmation out loud in response to the proclamation of Scripture, ending with ‘Lord, in your mercy.’  To express agreement with the one praying, we all say, ‘Amen.’ 
  
TABLE

We encounter the mysterious and glorious presence of the Triune God at the meal Jesus gave to his disciples.  The Table is open to all who are faithful followers of Christ and have no enmity with anyone in this body.  Children and others awaiting baptism, may come forward with arms crossed to receive a blessing.
 
PRAISE

Singing comes at the end as a response of worship and adoration to God’s truth and beauty.
 
SENDING

We are sent out in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit out into God’s mission in the world with God’s blessing and presence with us.