What to Expect on Your First Visit
Maybe it's your first time in Bois D'Arc. Maybe you've driven past the church 1,000 times and it's your first time inside. Maybe you've been in the church for a community event or funeral, but it's your first time in the sanctuary for Sunday morning worship. We want you to know what to expect. On the outside of our sanctuary, you’ll see a gorgeous collection of local stone, stained glass windows, and landscaping. But what will you find inside those doors?
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 and a Bible nearby. Nearby, there will be a box of Kleenex (in case tears or sneezes 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).
People will probably come to greet you. We are friendly and outgoing but not overwhelming.
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.
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 Kin-dom, so no one is an outsider at BDUMC. We don’t even call first-timers “visitors.” We call people “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.
We hope that this helps you understand what you will find inside the glass doors of our church. You can expect to 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.
The bottom line on what you can expect -- we expect you, exactly as you are, and we hope we can help you feel comfortable in a place and community that is a great comfort to those of us who already gather there.