Let’s face it, first times anywhere can make us feel a little uncomfortable, right? So it’s no wonder that a first time to church can make us feel downright anxious! So if you’re planning on coming along this Sunday, here’s a little useful information that might help:
What won’t happen
Firstly, the roof won’t cave in. I mean it. For some reason lots of people think that God’s just waiting to zap them the moment they step into a church. I can assure you that all kinds of people have walked through the doors and to date we’ve had no structural problems. And besides, it’s not a real church building but a council run cultural arts and community centre!
No one can read your mind. So when someone smiles at you and says ‘welcome’, they generally mean it. They’re not fishing for anything in particular, just wanting to be polite.
You won’t be made to stand up or put on the spot AND you don’t have to know anything about God, Jesus or the Bible. You can just relax, grab a coffee, and sit near the closest exit just in case you want to leave in a hurry.
You won’t be judged. How about we try and work by this simple rule: if you don’t judge me then I’ll try not to judge you. Ok? That way we might be able to clear some air long enough for us to get to know each other and THEN we can judge each other. Just messing with ya.
When you arrive
There will be some people out the front that will say ‘hi’ and point you toward the foyer. Don’t worry, they are not undercover security, just people who belong to New Community wanting to make you feel welcome. Why? Because they remember what it felt like the first time they attended as well.
Someone will ask if they can ‘tag’ you. Tagging isn’t a new kind of tattooing, but just the name tags we write each week to help us remember one another’s name. We all know how awkward it can be when you forget someone’s name, and there’s only so many times you can use ‘mate’.
Well you can just follow other people around into the main room. Someone will probably ask if they can show you the way. You can stop and grab a coffee or tea as you walk toward the main room. That’s the room you will hear the music coming from. Once inside, you can sit wherever you like. We finish pretty much right on 11:00 and I think you’ll find the hour goes pretty quickly. On any given Sunday we use a number of different kinds of media to communicate, so on the morning you come there might be a movie clip, a couple of songs, an interview with someone who is sharing something about their life, a drama sketch, a prayer, a reading from the Bible, and a talk given about the topic we are addressing that day.
Once the gathering is over
Run! Actually, you can if you want to and I’m pretty sure no one will chase after you, that is unless you left something like your handbag or wallet behind. Every few weeks we hold a newcomers Q and A time after our Sunday gathering, so if you like you are welcome to stay for that and get to know more about how we tick. Otherwise you can help yourself to some of our resources if you are into reading, or perhaps stay for our BBQ lunch if you happen to attend on the first Sunday of the month. Yes it’s free and if you like you can even have onion with your snags (or veggie burger) if you want. We like to create a sense of community; sharing food seems to be the most obvious way. If you come to the end of the morning and you don’t want to hang around, then that’s fine too, just head for the doors. We hope that you might have connected in a meaningful way with the morning and found it relevant to your life.
Got Kids or Teens?
Yes young people are welcome around here. We have our Sunday Way to Go program for Pre kinda to Primary aged children, and NCaaargh for our teens. When you enter the foyer there will be some friendly people ready to assist with sign in registration should your kids like to join in. Of course you are welcome to go with them to their area to make sure they settle in. You can even hang out there for the whole morning if you like. Otherwise they can come with you into the larger room and sit with you throughout the gathering.