You have decided that you may want to visit us here at First Baptist Church of Traverse City but are still curious what you can expect when you come to our Sunday morning service/gathering. This page should help to answer some of the questions you may have but please feel free to email our pastor or call the church, 231-946-4727 with any specific questions.
Length of Service and Gathering
Our Sunday morning gathering begins at 10:30am and normally lasts until right around 11:45am unless there is something special going on. Rarely do we go longer than 11:45am but there are a couple services each year, baptisms, special recognitions, etc. that may push this time later. We try to keep things within 75 minutes as a rule of thumb. We have a coffee time afterwards, see below, that people stay much longer and we hope you will stay to enjoy the goodies with us but that depends on what you want to do.
Dress and Style
As you come here you will notice that we are a relaxed and comfortable people, in a lot of regards. You will find some who are in jeans and t-shirts; others in dress pants and dress shirts, some are in dresses, others in slacks, in the warmer months you see shorts, and even some that are in suit and ties (though that is rare). Our pastor wears dress pants and a nice shirt with a sports coat most Sundays. The common element is people where what they are comfortable in.
This matches our style of interactive and relaxed that is a hallmark of our service. The pastor will ask for feedback and gives all a time to share during our service. We are serious in our worship but that doesn’t mean we can’t be relaxed in how that looks. Our music is done well but not “professional”. The same would go with our Pastor’s teaching, done well but he isn’t a “rock-star”.
Most would call our service “traditional” and that is partially true. We don’t have drums, guitars, and a lot of those types of instruments because right now that is not us. We have an organist who plays for all our music and our choir, when they sing, uses CD tracks. We have some things we do each week, saying of the Lord’s Prayer and singing of the Doxology, but you will find our services to be intentional and meaningful. The sermons are always geared to not just understanding the Bible but how that can be lived out and make a difference in our weekly life. Therefore it could be said that First Baptist Church is “traditionally relevant”.
Parts of the service
Some people are curious if they will be bombarded with people talking with them, required to give to an “offering”, if there is a time for commitment and so forth. Each church is different but the following should help you understand our gathering before you arrive.
Every once in a while, maybe once a month at most, at the beginning of our service and is a time when people will get up from their seat and talk with others in the sanctuary. We don’t make visitors and guests stand up and tell whom they are but we do want you to know we are glad you are joining us for the day. We ask you fill out a visitor/guest card (found in the pew rack in front of the seats) so that we can follow up and. You can put that in the offering plate.
Offering and Giving
Like most churches we part of our worshipping God is to give back to him in the form of money. We ask all that call First Baptist Church their “home” to give but we do not expect visitors or guests to do so. However, if you fill out the guest card you can put something in so that you don’t feel out of place. We give because we believe that the Bible says we should but also because we can do much greater work together than any of us individually could.
Here at First Baptist Church we also give so we can tackle some of the world’s greatest problems: hunger, clean water, homelessness, helping people and families out of poverty, human trafficking and modern day slavery, medical help and many more world problems.
As the offering is being brought back up to the platform our organist plays the Doxology that the church sings. The hymn number is given in the bulletin for those who don’t have it memorized to look at but you may find that after being present for a couple weeks you pick it up as well.
Since most of the children of the service stay upstairs before their special kid’s time our pastor does a specific lesson with them each week. One week it is an object lesson and the next week it is a review of what they learned in kid’s time downstairs. All children are welcome to come to the stage.
We believe that prayer is essential to the life of anyone who is a Christian and our service reflects this. We have a prayer to remind ourselves and tell God how awesome he is and another prayer to ask for the help in our world. During the first prayer we recite together what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer”. This prayer is printed on all bulletins so you can read the version that everyone else will.
Our pastor preaches each week from the platform and his style could be described as practical, interactive, Bible-focused, and engaging. At times he will ask questions or get verbal feedback from those sitting in the pews. Regardless you can expect that he will speak/preach anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on the message and what time he starts preaching. He uses the Bible as the foundation for all messages and normally asks people to turn to it. Bibles are provided in all pews so if you don’t bring one, or have one, you can use the one in the church like many others do. His goal each week is that you learn something and that you see the Bible is relevant and practical for daily living.
Coffee Time Afterwards
After the service is over there is a gathering so that we can interact with each other and enjoy some light food. Someone in the church provides a light snack to help facilitate conversations in an informal and relaxed manner. We hope you will join us for this, think of it as appetizers before lunch, and get to know us more and allow us to start to know you. People stay for 5 minutes up to 30 minutes during this time but there is no “set time”. This is a come and go opportunity.
Children’s Ministry and Time
You may be wondering what you are supposed to do with your children if you come to visit and we understand this. Presently all the kids, even the Pastor’s 16 month old, stay up in the service for the first part and then go downstairs for an age specific time. This means some kids are talking and it can be “noisy” on some Sundays. We are okay with this. Yet, we know that for some parents this can be embarrassing so we have a Nursery, unstaffed presently, downstairs that you can take your child to at any time. After the Children’s Time in the service we have at least 2 adult workers who take care of the kids including the little ones.
First Baptist Church
We realize that we are not the church for everyone but we can be the church for you. Join us this Sunday at 10:30am.