If you’re coming to Gentle Shepherd for the first time on a Sunday morning, you can expect the following:
- a warm atmosphere
- a worship service that starts at 10:30 am and ends around 11:30
- a reflective time of listening to God through Biblical preaching, a time to have our lives reoriented to God’s story of the world
What should I wear?
If you’re curious about the “dress code” at GSCC, there isn’t one—some people come in suits or dresses, while most tend to dress quite casually. Jeans and t-shirts are fine!
What does a church service look like?
At the moment, things are still quite restricted due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions. Email office (at) gentleshepherdchurch.ca for details about arranging to come for worship.
Our service is fairly structured, and is arranged into four parts: “God Calls Us,” “God Cleanses Us,” “God Speaks to Us,” and “We Respond to God.”
God Calls Us: We recognize that it is God who invites us to worship him and to share our lives with him, so we begin by hearing words from Scripture (usually a Psalm) that invite us to come to him. We then have an opening prayer, followed by a song of praise.
God Cleanses Us: When we stand before God, we are quite aware of our shortcomings, our continued tendency to move off in our own direction. One of the reasons we gather each Sunday is to let God keep us on his track instead of ours! In this part of our service we acknowledge our failures by confessing to God, because he has made provision to continue to walk with us through life, ever leading us back to the path of Jesus. We usually sing a song thanking God for his grace and mercy and love in Jesus.
God Speaks to Us: Listening to the Bible is at the heart of our lives as Christians. During this part of the service, we read from the Bible (usually a reading from both the Old and New Testaments), and the Pastor shares a sermon about the text. Usually the sermon is about 20-25 minutes long, and it has two aims: to help us understand what the Bible is saying, and to consider what God is now calling us to do in response to that.
We Respond to God: After the sermon, we have a time of prayer, in which we ask God to help us respond to his call and to help us and the world with our ongoing weaknesses and troubles. We pray not only for ourselves but for the world. After prayer we sometimes recite a historic profession of faith and sing another song. We close the service with a prayer and a song sending us out into the day and the week ahead of us.
What about my kids?
During COVID-19, we are all remaining in the sanctuary during worship. There is therefore no nursery service or children’s programs at the present time. (There are washrooms downstairs, however, which are open for use.)
Once a month (usually the first Sunday) we celebrate communion. All who wish to participate (whether you’re a long-time member or a first-time visitor) as a sign of their commitment to Jesus are welcome to come to the front of the church to receive communion from our elders. Don’t worry: when we share communion, the pastor explains the procedure clearly, so you don’t need to lose sleep about being lost or confused about what to do!