Much has been made about the decline of religion in recent years. Despite this, the 2020 US Census indicated that over 70% of Americans still identify as Christian in some capacity. Whether they’re going to church every Sunday or not, they still take comfort in that identity.
If you’re part of the 30% who do not identify as Christian or didn’t have religious parents while growing up, you might wonder what to expect during a Sunday service when invited by a friend. Here’s what you’ll need to know.
Your Experience Will Vary Depending on the Denomination
Let’s clarify one point early on: The Christian Sunday service experience is not a monolith. A Catholic will have a very different experience of Sunday church than will a Presbyterian. A Methodist service will not have the same parts as more modern sunday services offered at places like Parkway Fellowship.
Offerings may or may not get taken. Call-and response readings of the scripture could occur. Communion may get taken when you go. It all depends on the church and the holiday.
Sunday School Prior to Church Services
Many Protestant churches offer Sunday school to those willing to get up and go to church earlier in the morning than their fellows. These classes tend to be segregated by at least age group, if not age and gender. This provides a more focused study of the Bible and its relevance to the worshipper’s lives.
Music and Singing
No matter where you attend, church services tend to have music and singing spread throughout.
You could hear music sung by a choir (professionally trained or volunteer). You may sing along from a hymnal or listen to the youth band cover contemporary Christian music. It all depends on the location, robustness, and budget of the church program.
The Sermon: The Heart of the Sunday Service
In the final 20-30 minutes of the hour allotted to most Sunday church services, the preacher will deliver a sermon. This acts as a spiritual version of a university lecture on a passage of scripture, designed equally to inform and inspire. Oftentimes, these sermons get delivered in a series week after week.
A church may even have a well-regarded guest speaker attend to provide the sermon for the week. (Although this depends on their budget and personal connections.) Whether this sermon takes only 20 minutes or more than an hour depends, again, on the church service you attend and how long-winded the pastor is.
Interested to Learn More About Going to Church?
Attending a Sunday service can be a great way to connect with other people your age and feel a connection to something greater if you’re religiously inclined. If you’re not, it can still be a nice gesture of solidarity for your religious friends who wish to attend.
Regardless of your own religious affiliations, if you’d like to learn more about what to expect when you go to church, check out the Lifestyle section of our blog. We update each day with more informative content like this!