Here we share exactly what you can expect on a Sunday morning at Hope City Church.
We’re a pretty informal and relaxed bunch at Hope City but we know for many people the idea of coming into a church is a bit daunting: What do I wear? Where will I sit? What’s going to happen? Am I going to be asked to do anything awkward?
We’d like you to feel completely at ease when you do come along to visit so here’s what a typical Sunday looks like:
- First up, you’ll get a warm welcome at the door and someone to show you where to go and explain what’s where (like where you’ll find the homebaking!). We welcome lots of families with young children each week and we love having them as part of our church family. It is important to us that they feel relaxed so don’t be surprised if you see them running around playing before they head off to our children’s programme.
- Wear whatever you’re comfortable in – we don’t get into our Sunday best! Sit wherever you’d like – no one’s got a pre-booked seat. And no – you won’t be asked to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. You’re here as our guest so please just join in with bits you feel comfortable with and feel free to just observe the rest.
- We start each Sunday with our host for the day sharing a few words of welcome and explaining what’s going to happen over the hour or so we’re together
- Next up it’s a few songs led by our band and singers. You can either join in (words are up on the screen) or just sit and listen
- Then we take a few minutes to pray together. Praying is just speaking to God, something he invites us to do, and we don’t have to do it in a special way or with special words. Some regulars at the church will read out prayers they have prepared and then, if we agree, we can join in at the end with an “Amen”
- At this point kids up to about the age of ten go to our children’s programme along with their leaders where they’ll explore a bible story, play games, and enjoy a craft. We get the chance to say “hello” to whoever we’re sitting beside while we wait for parents or guardians to come back. If you’d be more comfortable keeping your kids with you, or you’d like to go with them to see the children’s programme, that’s just fine
- A 25 minute talk on the section of the Bible we’re looking at comes next, normally by one of our members. We have Bibles ready on chairs if you want to borrow one and we put the words up on the screens too
- It’s important each week that we don’t just sit and listen to what’s said, though, but also actively engage with it – especially if we’ve got questions or don’t fully understand what we’ve heard. First we have a short discussion with the people around us about what we’ve heard, and then it’s time for Q&A
- When we say we’re modern and contemporary, we really are – we even use our mobiles as part of the service: we use an online tool called Slido which allows anyone to ask a question at any time during the gathering and later on we all get to vote on which questions we’d like to hear discussed. We usually manage to get through three or four of the questions raised – but our answers are rough and ready as we don’t have much time to prepare them!
That’s a regular Sunday gathering! If you dropped kids into our children’s programme, it’s time to go and pick them up. Then enjoy some tea, coffee, juice and homebaking. If you’re the social type, we love to chat – just speak to anyone. If you’d rather just keep yourself to yourself, no problem.
For those who want to dig deeper into what they’ve heard in our morning gatherings, during term time everyone’s invited back at 5pm for our evening gathering where there’s more time spent in small groups discussing and exploring what the Bible has to say to us. As a church we want to really understand how God’s word impacts on what we do and how we behave 24:7 so this helps us tackle the real life issues we face as Christians, in our families, at work, and amongst our friends. Our evening gatherings also include more sung praise and an opportunity to share in bread and wine to remember Jesus’ death – you’d be very welcome at them whether you want to join in or just come and observe.