What to Expect

Some religious organizations can give the impression that only a select few are ­welcome. The United Methodist Church doesn't operate this way. In fact, most Methodists will welcome you to take part in the sacrament of Holy Communion as a guest on your First Sunday.

Don't sweat the dress code 

Back in the day, you'd find that the congregation was dressed a little more like the office. Fortunately, as society has evolved, so have churches. Think more Casual Friday environment. Of course, if dressing up for church means a tuxedo or gown, go right ahead. The idea is to be comfortable in your own clothes, then to be comfortable in the House of God. Come as you are!

Arrive early and leave late

It may seem like a chore to wake up early on the weekend, but getting to church early is always a good way to enhance your experience. You may even have enough time to get some coffee, a good parking space, or meet and greet local church members. Staying late can offer an opportunity for members to see you and learn about why you decided to visit, plus you could get an idea of how folks interact with each other after the service.

If the service felt welcoming to you, why not hang out with the members? You'll find that United Methodists absolutely love their fellowship. Fellowship is central to the Methodist tradition and is a sacred place where people grow in God with each other. There is always room at the table to build community in Christ.

Praise & Worship

One major worry everyone has about church is seating. Should new people sit up front? In the back? Seating is usually the most over-thought step in the "First Sunday" experience. As a general rule of thumb just sit wherever you feel comfortable. Ushers might urge you to sit in the front row, but you get to decide that once you have a feel for the congregation. 

A reliable guide to worship itself can be found in a bulletin. Members rely on these resources for every service so don't be afraid to utilize them. Congregational responses, lyrics, and prayers are accessible in these places during the service. 

Smiling is especially important on your First Sunday. This may seem obvious, but the art of welcoming is a team effort between you and a church member. Smiling lets a member know you are interested and excited to be there, allowing them to relax (because members get nervous too!) and welcome you to their church family.

Praise and worship is centered on music, so of course there will be some singing. If you don't know the words or the tune of the music then try your best to catch a phrase here or there, feel free to harmonize whenever. Can't sing? No problem. Worship is not a private concert, instead it's an outlet to celebrate spirituality, however that happens is up to you.

Then of course, the offering plate will come at some point during the service. Don't worry about this one bit. If you have something to give and feel compelled to do so to support the church's ministries then feel free to give. If not, don't feel ashamed. Giving is something the Methodist tradition respects with privacy and without judgement, but feel free ask a church leader for more information about why giving is important.

You might have the opportunity to take communion on your first visit. Ask yourself if this is something you'd like to be a part of while the pastor is leading the sacrament (a sacrament is something considered holy; it's a process that focuses on an inner spiritual grace through an outward tangible sign or symbol). The United Methodist Church invites any and all to partake in the holy sacrament; regardless. You don't have to say anything to affirm your faith or receive the bread and cup, nor do you need to make any hand gestures. The table is prepared for you. P.S. it's grape juice!