First, you’ll meet a greeter who will probably open the door for you while handing you a bulletin for the morning’s service. You’ll walk through a set of wooden doors into the sanctuary. Many of our first time visitors say this is the moment when they know they’re home. There are beautiful geometric stained glass windows set along the sides of the sanctuary, traditional wooden pews with maroon cushions made by several women of the congregation. In the seat you choose, you’ll find a United Methodist Hymnal, a Bible. Nearby, there will be a box of Kleenex (in case tears come).
People will be walking around, talking to each other. The pastor will be checking on people who had prayer requests the week before or joking with a kid. Folks will be streaming in from the same front doors or from the door to our Fellowship Hall. You might even hear the lift between the buildings beeping as it brings someone from the lower floor to the sanctuary. (To access the lift, please use the glass doors between the buildings for easiest access).
If you’re at the second service, there will be a brief time about 5 minutes into the service that we call “Passing the Peace.” Don’t worry. Nobody will hug you if it’s your first visit unless you know them. You will meet folks who come to greet you. We are friendly and outgoing but not overwhelming. If you feel uncomfortable mingling, just stay in your seat during this time. A few people will come to shake your hand, but you won’t be mixed into the happy fray.
We don’t have a time in which we call out first time guests or ask them to introduce yourselves. We’ve all had a first Sunday at BDUMC, and we know that would be uncomfortable. After the greeting time, we simply go back to worship and you are part of the congregation for the rest of the service.
Someone will direct the entire congregation on when to sit and when to stand, so you won’t look like an outsider who doesn’t know the order of service. No one is an outsider in God’s Kingdom, so no one is an outsider at BDUMC. We don’t even call first-timers “visitors.” We call you “guests.” We aren’t happy that you got to worship with us, we’re happy that we got to worship with you.
Communion is open, and anyone seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ is invited to participate. No one will ask you if you want to partake or tell you that you can’t. We don’t even use ushers to lead the pews forward (except at Easter) so no one will even look at you expectantly to see if you go. Again, we’ve all had a first Sunday, and we’ve been where our first time guests are on their first Sunday.
If you’re at the early service, someone will invite you to join us for breakfast in the Fellowship Hall. Many folks file downstairs after the worship service to join in breakfast and/or Sunday School which meets between the two services. In the Fellowship Hall, beginning at 9:45 AM, there will be a small crowd of folks sitting around tables, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and sharing with each other. It’s a fun time, and you won’t sit alone.
We hope that this helps you understand what you will find inside the glass doors of our church. The bottom line is that you will find a beautiful, light-hearted, welcoming environment that doesn’t push or pressure you toward more involvement right away. We’ve had folks join the church after two weeks of attendance and 22 years of attendance… we couldn’t say that if we were a high pressure church or if we ignored our first-time guests. We use the golden rule in worship and treat all our guests like we would like to be treated in an unfamiliar church so that it can become a familiar place of love and acceptance in all our lives.