Sunday morning is our main celebration gathering of the week with full programming for children up to 5th grade (at the first service only). This consists of a vibrant worship time and a clear message from God’s Word. We have two Sunday morning services at 10am (with childcare) and 11:30am (without childcare). The morning service is held in our second floor sanctuary overlooking the city of Providence. Service runs about 75 minutes.
Those are the basics but you may be wondering about other things since churches are about as varied as restaurants. The flow of our service usually consists of worship through music, prayer, short film presentations, communion and a vibrant message from God's Word. Dress is very casual but you may see a couple guys wear a tie or a lady in a pretty dress. The community is made up of lots of families, many local college students, homeless, refugees from Burma, college professors and young professionals, retired folks and lots of babies. You will see virtually every color of skin and will notice a powerful warmth about the community. The atmosphere is charged with grace.
Some people get a little nervous visiting a church for the first time. There may be protocol they aren't clued into. Maybe you can't drink coffee in the sanctuary? Maybe you are supposed to stand up or kneel down or recite something out loud at certain times? Maybe everyone will spot them as visitors and shine a spotlight on them? Maybe the people will all be raising hands in worship and they will stand out because they don't feel comfortable doing that? These are all valid concerns because all the time visitors are unintentionally made to feel dumb in churches.
We cannot guarantee that you will feel perfectly comfortable but we can promise you that we really try hard to make people feel at home. We aren't going to force you to do anything weird or point out to everyone that you are a guest. We don't really care what you wear and it's perfectly okay to not sing. In fact, many people don't sing and most people don't raise their hands. Just come as you are and enjoy.
You may wonder if everyone who attends Ren Church is a Christian. Perhaps you define yourself as more of a searcher at this point and are apprehensive about hanging out with a bunch of total zealots. Well, without question you will meet some very serious followers of Christ but there are many people every week at our gatherings who are trying to figure out faith. We want you to know that we love having people who are searching. We aren't going to pressure you to "believe and behave" immediately. We understand that for many it takes some time to think through the claims of Christ and how it all plays out in life. We are passionate about giving folks space to simply think things through. So whether you are an atheist, the worst sinner ever, an agnostic or whatever, just come as you are.
Another concern that people have who are interested in Christ but a bit nervous about churches is that they aren't good enough. One lady put it this way, "If I step foot in your church it will burn up". Please know that Ren Church is a collective of recovering sinners and very imperfect humans. Some of us were abused and some were addicts. Some of us are still pretty broken and in the slow process of being healed. Some of us are struggling to let go of certain sins. Some of us have anxiety issues and depression. The church is sort of a spiritual hospital for those who need soul care. It is full of people who are learning to lean on God. So don't worry about not being good enough. No one is good enough. That's why we cling to Christ!
If you are unfamiliar with church one dynamic that may blow you away is the tangible felt presence of Christ in our midst. While it can sound overwhelming and almost scary it is the very thing that can change your life forever. When the presence of God is strong the Word preached no longer seems like just some dry Bible talk. It comes alive and sort of penetrates the deepest part of the heart. Somehow eternal things become real. We become aware that God is present and that He is reading us with compassion. Sometimes we feel His love wash over us like waves or we may literally hear His voice like a whisper in our hearts. Don't be afraid of this. The presence of God is stunningly beautiful. Come with an open heart and see.