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What to Expect

I know - it’s not easy visiting a new church for the first time. Sometimes you feel like a nonmember visiting a country club. Do I belong here? Am I really welcome? Will the people be unfriendly, or too friendly? Will I be conspicuous? Will it be easy to leave if I don’t enjoy it? Will they ask me for money? Will my kids enjoy it? How should I dress? Am I welcome if I don’t believe?

As the Lead Pastor at Real Life, I want to make your visit an enjoyable experience, easy, stress-free, relaxing. We designed Real Life to be “user-friendly” for people, whatever their background, including those who have never been to church before. In fact, most of our people were not regular church attenders before starting at Real Life. So you’re in a majority when you visit! If I were visiting a new church for the first time, I’d like to know what to expect, so here’s a brief overview.

LOCATION

We are located at 120 14th Ave. South in downtown Nampa - across 14th from the Flying M Coffee Garage. The parking lot is right next to our main entrance (on the North side of the building).

KIDS CHECK IN

At the front door, there should be some friendly people (we call them “greeters”) to say hello, answer any questions you have, and direct you to the auditorium. If you have kids, they can point you to where you can register and drop off your infants or pre-schoolers. They can also show you where you can register your school-age kids for their program. We’ve developed a good security system so you’ll know your kids are safe and well cared for. If your kids are shy, they’re welcome to attend the adult service with you, but most kids really enjoy the kids´ programs. We have full kids programs for Birth through sixth grade during our service.

I have five kids, so I know how important it is for kids to enjoy church, whether they’re infants, toddlers, school-age, or teenagers. We have done our best to make Real Life as “kid friendly” as possible.

SEATING AND DRESS

You’ll notice that everyone is dressed comfortably, in anything from “business casual” to jeans or shorts. If you arrive early, you’re welcome to have a cup of coffee (self-serve near the entrance) and pick up information in the lobby area. We have two kinds of seating in the auditorium: regular seats and tables with chairs. There is no pecking order or significance to the seating -- it all is a matter of what you prefer. On the tables, in the program, and in the seat pockets in front of you, you will find a white card we call our “Communication Card.” This card is an easy way for us to get better acquainted; you can ask for any kind of information or assistance using this card.

THE SERVICE

The service usually begins with a welcome and some announcements from what we call our worship host. Our band leads us in a some singing and then we say a short prayer. Usually I will then speak for about 30-40 minutes. I do my best to make the messages interesting, enjoyable, and relevant to daily life. The message will be based on the Bible, and I will often include interesting quotes from contemporary people, songs, or movies. If I do my job right, you’ll hear solid Christian theology in intelligent, understandable, relevant terms. And hopefully, you’ll laugh at times and maybe feel a tug at your heart too.

Speaking of our band -- they do a great job leading musically with modern music (drums, guitars). You’ll have some new tunes to hum all week long.

COMMUNION

Following the message each week (or sometimes in the middle of our service), we celebrate communion. Communion (also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper) is a Christian celebration of the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you desire to draw closer to God through his son Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, you are welcome to take communion with us. If not, you can just sit back and enjoy the music, because our worship band will be playing and singing during this time.

OFFERING

At the end of our service we receive an offering. Our offering is for people who call Real Life their church home. As our guest, your gift to us is simply your presence in being there. Don’t feel obligated to participate in the offering. When the basket comes by, you can drop your communication card in it so that we know who you are and how we can serve you.

AFTER THE SERVICE

I’ll close the service about 75 minutes after it began (and believe it or not, the time will fly). I hope you’ll come up and introduce yourself to me afterwards. I usually hang out next to the information table.

After the service, you’ll pick up your kids from their classrooms, and then we hope you’ll stay around, meet some people and enjoy some coffee and donuts. Church is about God and worship, but it’s also about community and friendship, so we hope people really experience warmth and friendliness at Real Life.

That’s about it. People constantly tell me that they really felt comfortable – “at home” are the words I hear most frequently. I hope you’ll stop by this Sunday. And if you do, please come down and say hi, and tell me that you found out about Real Life from our website. Thanks for your interest!