Visiting church

As I'm on study leave I decided that I would use the opportunity to visit other Baptist Churches in the area.  It is rare for me to go to church as an a complete visitor these days but I'm facinated by the questions that go through my mind. I share them, not because they are profound, but because I suspect that there are lots of people who might come to our churches but who find it hard to overcome the anxiety.

1. Where exactly is the church, do they give the postcode on the website for Sat Nav?

2. Is there somewhere to park nearby?

3. What are the people like, will I fit in, how will they react to visitors, should I dress up?

4. What time will it finish (can I get back in time to pick Matthew up from cricket)?

5. What will the worship be like? Will anyone have planned it, will I be able to sing the songs, will I be grumpy or feel that I've had an opportunity to be encountered by God?

6. Will the sermon be good?

7. Will the refreshments be drinkable?

In order to protect the innocent and the guilty I'm not going to blog my thoughts on any individual congregation!

2 thoughts on “Visiting church

Add yours

  1. Neil, we’d love to see you in Openshaw. But as a homeless congregation I can’t exactly allay your anxiety.

    1. Depends what week it is. Today we’re at my house. We will give postcodes once I get round to putting a Google Calendar on our church website, but as we move each week this isn’t easy.

    2. Usually, but not always – depends on the venue.

    3. Given that there are only 10 of us, I’m afraid you will stick out like a sore thumb – but we are very welcoming and inclusive. If you wish to dress up, that’s your business. Personally, I’m in a pink tutu and Dr Marten boots this morning. Just debating whether to change into my penguin costume!

    4. We aim to finish by 12, but if you need to leave earlier, just walk out. Others do.

    5. Unconventional. Not much singing. All-age activities, discussion and prayer. It will always be eucharist at which you will be welcome to stay and partake.

    6. What’s a sermon?

    7. This is the one area where I can be definitive. Excellent tea and coffee (espresso, cappuccino etc if we’re at my house!) – and if you’d like to stay for lunch, the welcome is always there.

    The serious point behind this comment is that increasingly even those of us who have grown up in the traditional church are developing new models of worship, so ‘visiting’ becomes ever more problematic as you never do know what to expect. Thanks for being so honest in sharing your nerves.

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  2. Guess you won’t make it to Glasgow given the brackets no Q4, however….

    1 Yes – see website for address, post code, map
    2 Depends what you mean by close – city, no car park, but street parking free on Sundays
    3 Fantastic people. Wear anything within reason… penguin costumes and fairy wings absolutely fine; bringing your favourite soft toy animal is optional!
    4 Finish around 12 except communion Sunday which is about 12:15. But come or go any time from 10:30 to 11:55 we won’t mind. Journey time to Cheshire about 3-4 hours so, sorry, you won’t be back in time for son collection!
    5 Planned – of course, I’m an ISTJ. Pleasurable – depends what you like. Hymns more than songs and a few choir bits. Sometimes a bit creative.
    6 Depends how you define good. Never totally awful anyway. More questions than answers.
    7 Absolutely – Fairtrade tea, Fairtrade caffetiere coffee, herbal thingies, squash. Home baking most weeks or failing that decent biscuits.

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