Here’s a bit about what to expect when visiting our church. We are a church of approximately 300 members. When visiting the church you’ll observe a wide variety of people within the congregation. There are numerous elderly members, many singles, teens, young married couples, etc. But one dynamic which becomes immediately obvious are the families.
Children flood the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Although we do have a cry room, a toddler training room and seek to make every effort to accommodate those who find it difficult to keep their children in church during the entire service, it is our goal to have the entire church family attend church together.
Whereas many churches have moved toward a contemporary church service, Branch of Hope, in many respects has moved in the opposite direction. Though you will notice guitars, drums, keyboards and other contemporary instruments, Branch of Hope, for the most part, believes the rich content found in hymns serves wonderfully to promote the thoughtful and enthusiastic worship of Christ.
The order of worship at the Branch of Hope has a specific design to it:
The service opens with a call to worship which is the reading of the Scriptures. This mirrors the nature of man’s relationship with God which is always initiated by God speaking first to us.
The call to worship is followed by a weekly opportunity for those in attendance to privately confess their sins to God and receive the forgiveness which is found in Christ. Again, this mirrors the biblical example of men who, upon hearing the voice of God, come into an awareness of their own sinful condition (Isaiah 6).
After confession of sin the pastor declares the biblical good news of pardon of sin to all who truly call upon Christ.
The pardon of sin is followed by two hymns, praising God for His grace and mercy toward us.
After the hymns, the congregation will join in one accord as they profess what they believe. This may be a reading of the Ten Commandments, the Greatest Commandment, the Apostles Creed, questions from the catechism, etc.
The joint profession of faith is followed by the tithes and offerings which we view as part of the worship.
Tithes and offerings are followed by a time of prayer. Various prayer requests which are brought to the attention of the pastor are prayed for by the entire congregation with the pastor or an elder leading.
The time of prayer is followed by the sermon where the pastor reads a specific text and seeks to explain its meaning and significance in the life of a Christian.
The sermon is followed by a hymn.
The hymn is followed by the Lord’s Supper which is administered on a weekly basis. The Lord’s Table is open to all Christians who are baptized and communicant members (old enough to understand the sacrament) in good standing of a Christian church.
The Lord’s Supper is followed by a hymn which is followed by a benediction (good word) encouraging those who believe in Christ to go in peace.
After about a fifteen minute break, during which many gather to have coffee, doughnuts and bagels, there is Sunday school for children of all ages. At this time the pastor conducts a question and answer time where all questions (often relating to the sermon) are welcomed.
On the first and third Sundays of the month there are potlucks immediately following Sunday school.
Periodically there are Sunday evening classes where the pastor will teach on various subjects such as: eschatology, the Westminster Confession, apologetics, gifts of the Spirit, etc.