What to Expect
At University Baptist Church, you can expect to be greeted with smiles and a genuinely warm welcome. If you enter the building from the parking lot, take the elevator or stairs to the Upper Level, then turn left. At the end of the hall you will find a large open area, the Narthex. Before worship you will generally find a number of people milling around in this area, and they will be glad to answer any questions you may have. If you have children, go to the Lower Level and turn left to find our child care area.
On most Sundays, the monitor at the east end of the Narthex will feature a slide show of coming events. In that area you will also find a table with a sign-in book, worship bulletins, and welcome packs for first-time guests. The Narthex also features bulletin boards with information about current emphases and opportunities in the congregation and community.
Worship begins at 10:30 in the sanctuary at the east end of the Narthex. Dress is casual. The service features choral and congregational singing. We use many traditional hymns, but are regularly adding more contemporary songs into the mix. Congregational participation is a large part of our worship; from responsive readings of the psalms to opportunities to share written prayer requests to partaking of the Lord’s Supper (on the first Sunday of each month), the people in the pews are as much a part of the worship experience as the preacher in the pulpit.
Speaking of the preacher, our pastor, Bob Turner, seeks to deliver sermons that are both faithful to the scriptural witness and relevant to what is going on in the world today. He does not shy away from difficult passages or controversial issues; instead, he tries to identify the good news in the biblical texts and discern how that good news relates to our lives. The goal of Bob’s preaching is to inspire the congregation to live lives of faithful witness and work to advance God’s reign “on earth as … in heaven.”
Worship generally lasts one hour, and following worship we go to the Narthex for an informal time of fellowship with snacks and beverages provided by church members. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the people that make up this congregation and the ideas and spirit that animate our life together.
What Not to Expect
When you come to University Baptist Church, you do not need to fear being judged or ostracized for your race, income bracket, health or disability status, nation of origin, sexuality, or gender identity. We are a welcoming and affirming church, which means that we believe God loves all people without exception. We therefore seek to affirm each person as a special and beloved child of God. If you are LGBTQ, we will not try to “convert” or “heal” you. There is no need for that, because you are already created in the image of God.
Do not expect bland sermons that shy away from tough subjects. Do not expect threats of fire and brimstone. Do not expect to be manipulated or emotionally blackmailed into joining the church or “accepting Jesus into your heart.” Do not expect an overemphasis on your “personal relationship” with God to the detriment of your public witness. Do not expect preaching or theology divorced from ethics. Do not expect worship divorced from justice.
What about Children?
Every Sunday, we provide child care for infants and toddlers, beginning at 10:15am. A trained professional. Read our child abuse prevention policy. On the second and fourth Sundays of each month, we have a Sunday School class for children in grade school. It meets during the worship hour. On occasion we have a “Moment with Children” in the worship service, where the pastor speaks with the kids on the chancel steps, and on Communion Sundays we find ways to include the children so they know that they are deeply loved by God and by our congregation.