A Note From Our Pastor
Welcome to our website! Going to a church for the first time can be hard. There are many questions that just can't be answered by a newspaper ad, questions like, "What will the service be like?" "What do I do with my children?" "What should I wear?" "Will I feel welcome there?" Unknown factors like these can make church intimidating.
With this section I hope to answer some of the questions you might have about our church before you visit. Our family here at Emmanuel wants to make your visit with us relaxed and enriching.
My deepest prayer is that when you visit Emmanuel you will more and more come to personally know God's underserved love for you in Jesus Christ. And the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding shall guard your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Please let us know if there are questions not answered by these pages. We want to add to this Visitor's Guide whatever will be helpful to you.
Pastor Thomas Smith
I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD" (Ps 122:1). Every church has its own style of worship. I think you’ll enjoy the services here at Emmanuel, but as in any church you should expect it to take a couple of Sundays to become accustomed to our way of praising God together.
Each week the outline of the service is printed in the service folder which will be handed out to you as your enter the church sanctuary. The service folder directs us to the hymns, Psalms and liturgy (or path of worship) that we use in our hymnal called Christian Worship. The Bible readings and the prayers are also printed there for you in the service folder. You are certainly welcome to bring along your own Bible and follow along with it if you prefer.
Our services focus on readings from the Bible. There we hear God talk to us. Music and singing are an important part of our services, too. Loud or soft, in monotone or rich harmony, all our praises are music to God.
The services usually include the following parts in a variety of forms:
The Invocation: We begin our Christian worship service by calling on the name of our Savior God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Admitting sins and finding forgiveness: We acknowledge that we have not been or done what God asks. Then we are assured of forgiveness by the pastor because of what Jesus has done for us.
Bible Readings: Our pastor reads from God’s Old Testament prophets, Jesus’ apostles, and from Jesus himself in the New Testament gospels.
Sermon: Our pastor offers instruction and encouragement in a Bible based sermon. Expect God’s grace and guidance for dealing with problems but most importantly expect to hear the promise of eternal life in heaven through Jesus, God's answer to our sin.
Response to the Word: We respond to God's amazing grace with offerings and prayers for the things He has promised to us and for strength to do what He has asked.
Holy Communion (celebrated the second and last Sundays of each month): According to the institution of our Lord Jesus, he offers us his true body and blood together with bread and wine for a tangible and personal assurance of our forgiveness. The Bible also teaches that Communion is a wonderfully intimate expression of our oneness of faith. Accordingly we practice "close communion" and invite to the altar those who have expressed their agreement with the teachings of our church family as drawn from the Bible through membership. This is in no way a judgment on anyone's faith. Everyone is welcome to stay to the close of the service.
Benediction, or parting blessing: We hear one last assurance of God’s loving care as we begin a new week of His grace.
Mixed throughout these different parts of our service are hymns and songs of praise to God. Our services use traditional forms and modern language and application. The traditional brings us the best from God’s Church throughout the ages and the contemporary brings God’s promises and His will into our daily lives. We hope you enjoy both.
At Emmanuel, we invite children to join their parents in worship. While little bodies can be busy ones, the Good News is meant for them too. Long ago our Lord made this clear when he told his Old Testament people, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds ... Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).
In our lobby area we have some children's activity bags hanging from hooks that you are welcome to make use of in church. (Those with names on them are those of the children who attend church regularly.) We have children's service folders (bulletins) which have pictures to color and puzzles to work. If you youngster does become restless during worship and feel you both could use a little break, you're welcome to make use of our nursery.
Most of us have or have had young children, so you're with caring people who understand what it's like to have little ones.