What to expect when attending a Sunday morning service at the Awakening Church:
1) God’s manifest presence –You will feel, sense, know, and perhaps experience His manifest presence. God “shows up” or manifests His presence in our services in various degrees as we gather together. Sometimes God manifests Himself in a gentle way in which one senses a great peace and calmness present. Sometimes God manifests Himself in a victorious and in a strong and mighty way and as a result, there is great shouts and praise among the people and a strong sense of freedom. At other times God manifests Himself as holy and there is great conviction, awe, and a reverential fear of God present. And still God manifests Himself as joyful and there are often tears of joy and laughter present. At other times God manifests Himself as loving and compassionate and the result is often safety and security comes over the people. At other times God reveals Himself as merciful and gracious and the result is often peace and refreshment to the soul. The list could go on and on for God manifests Himself in many different ways at various times to different people.
2) A community of love – You will sense, feel, and experience a community and family of people who are united in love and peace. There will be joy present and lots of laughter and freedom. There are also other times of silence and awe at the majesty and holiness of God. But no matter the response of the people to God present, you will sense the love of Jesus Christ. You will not only feel God’s love for you personally, but also see that love demonstrated in the family of God toward one another. This love will be contagious!
3) The Holy Scriptures spoken and taught – This will always be at the very least a verse of Scripture quoted. This will come from the Lord’s Supper, a testimony, a teaching, a revelation, a prophecy, the Gospel given, the sermon preached, etc. Usually, there is a 20 to 30 minute sermon/teaching given in the service in which the Word of God is both interpreted and applied practically to our lives. We believe in preaching the whole Gospel without apology or compromise. This means that we will preach and teach both the hard and soft portions of Scripture from the Old and New Testament. We seek to both encourage, inspire, and convict people through the preaching of the Bible. We do not ever want to dumb down or ignore certain sections of the Bible to tickle people’s ears. We love the truth and want to hear the whole truth for it sets us free!
4) The Lord’s Supper/Eucharist/Communion – Every time we gather together, we partake of the Lord’s Supper to remember that the central message of Christianity is the Gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom. We explain the Gospel clearly at this point in case a non-believer is present in the hope that he or she will become saved.
5) Freedom – As the Holy Spirit pours Himself upon us, we will feel freedom in our midst (2 Corinthians 3:17) You will see people healed and delivered of bondages, addictions, various sins, strongholds, demons, etc.
6) Spiritual gifts in operation – Various spiritual gifts will be spoken or practiced in our midst. This could include on any given week a prophecy, or tongues with the interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, healing, miracles, helps, teaching, exhortation, etc.
7) Open participatory church – When we gather together, it is not just one or two people doing everything, but rather most or all of the church is participating in the church service with their gifts. Some bring a revelation, others bring a testimony, and still, others bring a teaching, etc. This encourages the people to put into practice their gifts and to serve and build up one another.
9) Ministry time – We allow time at the end of each service for people to be ministered to and prayed over through the laying on of hands by the elders. We pray for the sick and for any other prayer requests people have.
10) God-glorifying and anointed praise and worship music – We seek to enter into the manifest presence of God through praise and worship music. You will hear both “contemporary” and “traditional” music and hymns. We seek to minister to both young and old generations and play various styles of worship music.
11) Young and old present – We seek to minister to all age groups. We do not focus on one age group or generation, but rather we are a family and therefore, have all ages present with us.
12) Fellowship – You will hear laughter and see people shaking hands, hugging, and embracing one another with the love of Jesus. You will see a spiritual family and community that shares life together and enjoys one another’s presence. You will see people be real and transparent. We have a saying at our church – “no plastic smiles allowed.”
13) An offering – There will be an opportunity to voluntarily give God’s money that He has entrusted to you as a steward according to how He has prospered you. This giving goes toward the local church and is used to meet the costs of the church so that we can continue to advance God’s kingdom on earth. There will be no pressure or manipulation from anyone to give or any other guilt-driven methods. We believe that the primary motive for voluntary giving is based upon God’s grace, love, and joy.
14) Announcements – There will be a few minutes devoted to this to keep everyone attuned to what is happening in the church community of the different events planned.
15) Time of service – The first church service at 10:30 AM on Sundays lasts approximately one hour long and is structured. The second-noon service on Sundays is spontaneous and usually lasts between one to two hours but people are free to leave whenever they wish without any judgment. We do not believe in being controlled by the clock as a church, and therefore, there are times when the service will run a little longer due to the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in our midst. If you have to leave for any reason, you are free to do so at any moment without being judged or pressured to stay.
16) God’s grace and mercy – You will get a sense that everyone is welcomed just as they are. This includes not only Christians, but also sinners, and the worst of sinners at that! We are called to disciple the saints but we also want to be a hospital for sinners. While we always hate sin, we love the sinner and reach out with hearts of love and compassion to all people knowing that we are all made in the image of God and therefore have intrinsic value and worth. We do not accept one another’s sins, but we do accept people no matter how broken or sinful they might be. You will not sense a legalistic mentality present or a “holier than thou” attitude but rather a spirit of gratitude that God has forgiven us. No one is completely perfect and none of us know it all or have it all together, nor do we pretend to. All that pressure to perform and “measure up” to man’s standard is thrown away, and we seek to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves in response to God’s amazing grace.
17) Dress – There is no pressure to dress up. We believe that God does not judge us based on external appearances but looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). On the other hand, we are to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). Some dress up and others dress casually. We do not get hung up on appearance or dress. Come as you are and dress how you normally would throughout the rest of the week (unless, of course, you like dressing up for church services which are completely acceptable).
18) Children’s Church and Nursery – There is a children’s church for children pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. They are dismissed after the worship music to the lower level beneath the sanctuary to hear the Bible communicated to them in a way that they can understand and grasp. A nursery is always available as well located on the lower level in one of the classrooms (parents can bring their children there anytime).
19) Multi-ethnic – You will see people from all different nationalities present. We desire to unite under the Lordship of Jesus and put all our national differences aside and just love one another. You will sense no racism or prejudice present and feel welcomed no matter the color of your skin or national or ethnic background.
20) Joy – You will sense and feel joy in the atmosphere of our church services. We like to have a good time when we gather together. We laugh as we fellowship together and there is often humor throughout the services in videos and in the teaching. We believe that a joyful heart is a great medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and just as we have fun outside of church services, we also like to have fun during services too. We often take ourselves and life way too seriously, and by having fun together, we are able to relax as a church and enjoy ourselves and one another. We are not an entertainment-driven church and we do take God very seriously by fearing Him and by pursuing holy lives by God’s grace. But we also believe we are truly free in Christ and loved by a joyful God and therefore, we seek to be filled with His joy always. Through joy-filled living, we seek to destroy any hint of religion or legalism in the church.