What to know and do if you are a first-time visitor to our church
What do I wear? We’re not real formal at Central Christian so you can wear whatever helps you feel comfortable. You’ll see women in dresses and pants, and men in blue jeans and slacks – maybe even a coat and tie. Many wear shorts and t-shirts in the summer and sweatshirts in the winter. We’re use to diverse clothing styles as a church that’s Open and Affirming of LGBTQ persons.
What time are services? Our regular school-year worship time is 10:45 Sunday morning. You’re welcome to come for Sunday School in the Fellowship Hall at 9:30 where we usually watch a video and then have a discussion. There is a separate class for children with a Bible story and activities. Our summer Sunday worship time is at 10:00 am beginning with Memorial Day weekend and ending Labor Day weekend.
Where do I go? Central Christian Church is on the corner of Central Avenue and 10th Street North. We have a parking lot at the back of the church off 1st Avenue North that gives you access to the back glass door. You can also reach it through the alley off 10th Street North. Some park on Central Avenue and come in the front double glass doors underneath the protected overhang. We have handicapped parking spaces in the front of the church and in the parking lot.
Once in the building where do I go? We have an open building plan in our church. There are signs in the back entryway directing you to the Fellowship Hall that is adjacent to the Sanctuary. The front doors bring you to the Fellowship Hall on the right. Restrooms are through the double doors southwest of the Fellowship Hall. There are gender-neutral restrooms across the hallway that parallels the Fellowship Hall.
Sit wherever you like in the Sanctuary for worship! If we only have empty seats up front that Sunday, pull in a chair from the Fellowship Hall and form a new back row. Our church building is completely handicapped accessible.
What is the worship service like? We try to live our vision statement as “an inclusive people” in our worship service. We’ll have printed Sunday bulletins that tell you what’s going to happen in that day’s service.
We sing a little with hymns accompanied by the keyboard and praise songs led by our praise band – with words printed on the screen up front. We pray after we talk the needs we want to bring to God.
There’s a Children’s Time where the Pastor or another church leader talks with kids at their level. Children can sit with their caregivers or enjoy activities at the Kids Table off to the side.
The Pastor talks for 15-20 minutes on the meaning of a passage from the Bible and what it means for us today. Sometime in the service we’ll take about 3 minutes for silent reflection so God can speak directly to our own hearts.
As Disciples of Christ, we have Communion every Sunday led by a lay Elder (male or female) and our Pastor. We use grape juice and offer options of bread, unleavened wafers, or gluten-free crackers. Once a month or so we come forward for Communion. Everyone is welcome to participate regardless of their beliefs or even doubts, including small children.
We offer an opportunity for special healing prayers where you can be anointed with olive oil and prayed for privately by the Pastor and an Elder.
There is also a place for giving (which is always optional) since we serve God with our offerings as we receive God’s gifts. That’s when you can drop in a Prayer Request Slip for our Elders to see.
After Communion we greet one another with the Peace of Christ as people move around the sanctuary. After a while, we get everyone’s attention for our closing song. The whole service takes about an hour.
Do I have to know a lot about the Bible or religion to understand the service? The short answer is “No!” We have Bibles in racks underneath the chairs if you want to check out what the Pastor or worship leader is reading. We try to explain the context of the Bible passage as we go along. Our Elder says something about Communion each week to help us “grow in our faith.”
If religion is something new for your, our worship can be an introduction to what we mean by faith. If you have some other religious background, you’d probably find some thing familiar and some parts different from your experience.
And we’re always open to respond to your questions even if we don’t have the answers. We often say our job isn’t to think for you, but to make you think!
When is Communion? We have Communion every Sunday towards the end of the worship service. Everyone is welcome to participate whether you’ve been baptized or not, regardless of your age, sexual orientation, religious background, or level of belief or doubts.
Are there accommodations for persons with disabilities? Everything in the building is at one level and is wheelchair accessible. We have chairs in the sanctuary, so it’s a simple matter to park wherever you like – sometimes people will pull out a chair to make room in a row.
We have a sound system to amplify our voices to help all to hear. Words to songs and parts of the service and message are on the screen up front so everyone can see without getting our reading glasses.
We have a long history of sharing life with the developmentally delayed community, so we’re comfortable with different behaviors.
Is there an opportunity to meet the Pastor and others? We have a coffee hour fellowship time after every worship (unless there’s a special meal you’d be invited to stay for!). Grab a seat at a table and visit with whoever sits with you. The Pastor greets people as we leave the Sanctuary for the fellowship time. If you’d like a longer conversation that’s more than a short answer, the Pastor can make an appointment to talk with you in person, over the phone, by text or email.
What is your congregation like? The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is often described as a mix of different church practices and beliefs. Some see us as pretty formal with an outline of worship. Others see us a very informal since we don’t have creeds or read a lot of prayers together. We have time for silent reflection along with times to laugh and celebrate who are are and what we’ve done.
We’re progressive Christians who take the Bible too seriously to take it literally. But we do refer to the Bible a lot as our authority even as we try to follow Jesus Christ as the authentic “Word of God.” We try to love God with our hearts and minds – and love our neighbors with our attitudes and actions.
Our congregation reflects the population of Great Falls in age, race, sexual orientation and identity, economic background, and political affiliation. Men and Women serve equally as church leaders. As part of a “movement for wholeness” we try to live our Christian unity with diversity that’s more than just tolerance.
We hope you’ll come experience our church for yourself and see what we’re like in person!