What to Expect
What To Expect
As pastor, I want to make sure your visit to the Vineyard is an enjoyable experience—as stress-free and relaxing as possible. I’ve visited enough churches to know it’s not always easy coming to a new one for the first time. Probably the most important question you’ll walk in with is, “What can I expect?” Hopefully, the following description of our church service will answer that question for you and put you more at ease.
And just in case you’re wondering about attire, we don’t have a ‘dress code’ here at the Vineyard. We show up in everything from ‘business casual’ to jeans and sneakers. We want everyone to come as they are so just dress in a way that’s comfortable for you.
We meet on Sunday mornings at 10:00am at 870 First Avenue in West Haven, right off exit 43 on I-95. We share a building with a Messianic Jewish congregation, Simchat Israel, but you will see our sign on the curb next to the driveway. You can park in the back parking lot and use the entrance on the side of the building.
When you come into the sanctuary, you’ll meet some friendly people who will greet you and hand you a copy of our church bulletin with the week’s announcements and future events. You’ll also receive a Guest Packet which contains information about the church and a complimentary worship CD. The attached Connection Card is an easy way for us to get better acquainted with you and is also a place where you can write in any requests for information, special prayer or assistance.
What About the Kids?
If you have kids, the greeter will tell you where the classes for your kids’ ages are located. We are committed to providing engaging, creative, age-appropriate teaching from the Bible for kids 3-years-old through high school, but if you’d like them to stay with you during your visit, they’re welcome in the adult service. We have a staffed nursery for 0-2 yrs as well as a Parent Room off the sanctuary where you can care for your little ones and also see and hear the service. Kids in kindergarten and up join the adults for the first ten minutes of the service before being taken to their classes during the break. You can pick them up right after the service is over.
What Happens and How Long?
The service usually begins promptly at 10:00am with about ten minutes of upbeat worship music. After the music, the children are dismissed to their classes and we take a short break to greet each other. This is followed by some announcements and an opportunity for our regular members to contribute to the ministry of the church. As a guest, you are not expected to give anything. Instead, we invite you to fill out the Connection Card and drop it in the offering as it’s passed around.
At this point I (or another speaker) begin the message which is always based on the Bible. I usually speak for about 30 minutes and if I do my job right, you’ll hear solid Christian theology in understandable, intelligent, and relevant terms. There is then an opportunity to respond to the message, followed by Communion (more on that below) and another time of worship music. Our worship team does a great job leading musically, with a contemporary feel. You’ll have some new tunes to hum all week long.
We try to finish by 11:30 a.m. Immediately after the service there are people available to pray for any needs you might have. I hope you’ll also take a minute and come up and introduce yourself to me afterwards.
Communion and Lectionary Readings
We celebrate Communion every week. Communion (also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper) is a Christian celebration of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You’re welcome to share in this simple observance with us or just sit back and enjoy the music our worship team is playing and singing during this time.
We also share in the life of the global Body of Christ by having the four lectionary scriptures for that week read aloud in our service each Sunday.
After the Service
When the church service is over we hope you can stay for a bit and join us for coffee and snacks in the Fellowship Room next to the sanctuary. We would love to get to know you and let you get to know us!
I hope that this has answered many of the questions you have about the service and that you feel as welcome as you are. I want to warmly invite you to visit our church family soon.
Blessings to you,