What to Expect

What to Expect at a Church Service

Here is what you’ll likely experience when you visit The Church of Jesus Christ for a Sunday worship service. We have locations — we call them “branches” — all over the U.S. and the world, and each one has its own personality. Yet, they all share the same beliefs and the same basic structure for a Sunday service.

Most church services follow this format and contain these important elements, yet we do not plan out the details ahead of time (song selections, speakers, prayers, etc.). Please do not expect a polished church performance. Instead, please expect a gathering of imperfect believers who want to praise Jesus Christ, support one another and allow God’s Spirit room to work.

Mood and Atmosphere

We hope that you feel like family when you’re with us! Our atmosphere is friendly and informal. We love to chat, shake hands, and hug. You’ll probably see people of all ages represented in the congregation.

When the church service begins, we tend to be reverent and respectful. Clapping and applause aren’t the norm (unless the Spirit moves us to do so in praise or joy to God).

Who’s Who?

When you first enter the church building, there may or may not be someone to greet you at the door. Many branch locations (but not all) have deacons and deaconesses who greet visitors at the entrance to the sanctuary.

The local ministry sits at the front of the building on a raised platform we call a rostrum. Why do they all sit together? We don’t plan our church services in advance, so it’s helpful to have all the ministry in one spot so that they can be ready to participate in whatever God has for us that day.

Which minister is in charge? That’s the presiding elder (similar to a head pastor or lead clergyman). He usually welcomes everyone and gets the service started.

Our Church operates on a volunteer basis; we have no paid employees. The ministry is not paid, nor are the musicians, teachers, or technology helpers. Those in service are accountable to God and the congregation independent of monetary compensation.

Music and Singing

Music varies widely from branch to branch, but you can expect to hear traditional-type hymns. Our church has been blessed with original songs that aren’t mainstream, so keep an ear out for new melodies. You should find a songbook within arm’s reach of your seat, and don’t be afraid to ask if you need help finding the right page.

There is usually a song leader who leads congregational singing. Anyone can call out a hymn — we don’t pre-select them. Most branches sing along to a piano, guitar, and (if they are blessed with musicians in the congregation) additional instruments.


When we pray as a congregation, we usually rise to our feet. When we pray for communion, however, it’s tradition to kneel on the ground. You are welcome to pray in whatever position suits you.


When we pray as a congregation, we usually rise to our feet. When we pray for communion, however, it’s tradition to kneel on the ground. You are welcome to pray in whatever position suits you.


This is the part of our Church service when anyone may voluntarily stand up and praise God through brief verbal expression; however, no one is obligated to do so.

Can you give your testimony? Yes! The purpose of testimony is to praise and thank God. Many times, people tell about something significant that God did for them recently. They may bring to attention a personal prayer request or follow up on a previous request with a praise report. (Psalm 22:22; Psalm 111:1)

Anointing the Sick

This is a special time during the church service when the entire congregation comes together and prays for an individual’s specific need. Anyone may request prayer for physical illnesses or spiritual strength.

The person sits in a chair near the front of the room, and the ministry places their hands on the person’s head, and one minister offers a prayer. If the need is physical, the ministry places a small amount of blessed oil on the person’s head, as done in James 5:14-16. If the need is not physical, then the ministry does not use oil.

The ministry is happy to anoint you at any time outside of a church service, so please do not hesitate to ask.


All are invited to remember Christ’s sacrifice as the ministry serves communion (bread and wine) to active, baptized members of this Church. The ministry asks the congregation to kneel in prayer after the bread is broken and the wine is poured. Please feel free to remain seated or kneel with the congregation as the ministry offers these prayers (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

We practice closed communion because this is the understanding we have from scripture. Please ask a member of the ministry if you have any questions about how we administer the Lord’s Supper.


We don’t ask for donations as part of our Sunday church services. In some branches, it’s customary to pass an offering basket (or have one available) during Sunday school or at a mid-week service. Please give if you feel to, but you are in no way obligated to do so.

See You Soon!

We’d love for you to come and worship Jesus Christ with us. We hope that knowing what to expect at church makes you feel ready to visit. Find the church location nearest you.