What to Expect at a Church Service
Here is what you’ll likely experience when you visit The Church of Jesus Christ for a Sunday worship service.
We have locations — we call them “branches” — all over the U.S. and the world, and each one has its own personality. Yet, they all share the same beliefs and the same basic structure for a Sunday service.
Most church services follow this format and contain these important elements, yet we do not plan out the details ahead of time (song selections, speakers, prayers, etc.). Please do not expect a rehearsed church performance.
Instead, please expect a gathering of imperfect believers who want to praise Jesus Christ, support one another and allow God’s Spirit room to work.
Mood and Atmosphere
We hope that you feel like family when you’re with us!
Our atmosphere is friendly and informal. We love to chat, shake hands, and hug. You’ll probably see people of all ages represented in the congregation.
When the church service begins, we join our hearts together and focus on the Spirit of God. Clapping and applause aren’t the norm.
When you first enter the church building, there may be someone to greet you at the door. Many branch locations (but not all) have deacons and deaconesses who greet visitors at the entrance to the sanctuary.
The local ministry sits at the front of the building on a raised platform we call a rostrum. Why do they all sit together? We don’t plan our church services in advance, so it’s helpful to have all the ministry in one spot so that they can be ready to participate in whatever God has for us that day.
Which minister is in charge? That’s the presiding elder. He usually welcomes everyone and gets the service started, facilitating the meeting as the spirit directs.
Our Church operates on a volunteer basis. We have no paid employees. The ministry is not paid, nor are the musicians, teachers, or technology helpers. Those in service are accountable to God and the congregation independent of monetary compensation.
Music and Singing
Music varies widely from branch to branch, but you can expect to hear traditional-type hymns.
Our church has been blessed with original songs that aren’t mainstream, so keep an ear out for new melodies. You should find a songbook within arm’s reach of your seat, and don’t be afraid to ask if you need help finding the right page.
There is usually a song leader who leads congregational singing. Anyone can call out a hymn — we don’t pre-select them. Most branches sing along to a piano, guitar, and (if they are blessed with musicians in the congregation) additional instruments.
When we pray as a congregation, we usually rise to our feet. When we pray for communion, however, it’s tradition to kneel on the ground. You are welcome to pray in whatever position suits you.
The ministry delivers a message to the congregation. There may be one speaker or several.
The minister doesn’t write the sermon in advance and read it to you. Instead, the minister prepares a message by studying scripture and praying about the topic. When the minister delivers the message to the congregation, he relies on the Holy Spirit to give him the words to say in the moment. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
This is the part of our Church service when anyone may voluntarily stand up and praise God through brief verbal expression; however, no one is obligated to do so.
Can you give your testimony? Yes! The purpose of testimony is to praise and thank God.
Many times, people tell about something significant that God did for them recently. They may bring to attention a personal prayer request or follow up on a previous request with a praise report. (Psalm 22:22; Psalm 111:1)
Anointing the Sick
This is a special time during the church service when the entire congregation comes together and prays for an individual’s specific need. Anyone may request prayer for physical illnesses or spiritual strength.
The person sits in a chair near the front of the room, and the ministry places their hands on the person’s head, and one minister offers a prayer. If the need is physical, the ministry places a small amount of blessed oil on the person’s head, as done in James 5:14-16. If the need is not physical, then the ministry does not use oil.
The ministry is happy to anoint you at any time outside of a church service, so please do not hesitate to ask.
All are invited to remember Christ’s sacrifice as the ministry serves communion (bread and wine) to baptized, active members of The Church of Jesus Christ.
The ministry asks the congregation to kneel in prayer after the bread is broken and the wine is poured. Please feel free to remain seated or kneel with the congregation as the ministry offers these prayers (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
The ministry offers the bread and wine to members only (closed communion) as instructed by scripture (Acts 2:41-42 and 3 Nephi 18:5-7). Please ask a member of the ministry if you have any questions about how we administer the Lord’s Supper.
We don’t ask for donations as part of our Sunday church services.
In some branches, it’s customary to pass an offering basket (or have one available) during Sunday school or at a mid-week service. Please give if you feel to, but you are in no way obligated to do so. Our members are encouraged to tithe on a monthly basis, not out of obligation or duty, but by their own free-will. (Malachi 3:8-10).
See You Soon!
We’d love for you to come and worship Jesus Christ with us.
We hope that knowing what to expect at church makes you feel ready to visit. Find the church location nearest you.