What to expect
"To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever"
Welcome to First United Methodist Church! We are a community of Christians that has sought to serve the Champaign-Urbana area for almost 168 years. We are Methodist (Wesleyan), which means we are governed by Laity and Clergy working together. Our worship services strive to be a warm combination of both reverence and joy of the past and the present. We sincerely hope you will make plans to visit us soon. If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our staff, or you may call the office at (217)-367-8384 or email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for stopping by, we hope to worship together soon!
PARKING AT CHURCH
If you are driving to Church, there are two areas where parking is allowed. The circle drive, on the east side of the building is available Sundays and throughout the week, and the mall parking lot on the South side of the church is available on Sundays only. Street Parking is available on Belhaven and Pinehurst Streets. You can get great driving directions using Google Maps. During inclement weather, we have our main "East Canopy" entrance that you may drop passengers off in order to provide easy entrance into the building, this also serves as our handicapped entrance.
COME ON IN!
Upon arrival, we have greeters who will welcome you and provide any assistance you may need to get into the building or answer any questions you may have about where the nursery and Children’s Sunday School classes are located. Anyone wearing name tags will be able to assist you. Beginning at 10 am, we have a time of fellowship in the Atherton Parlor, which is on the second floor at the top of the stairs, where you can grab a cup of coffee and a conversation.
The easiest way to our balconies are from the east canopy entrance. The stairs to the balcony are immediately to your right as you walk in through as you enter the building or you can use our elevator to the thrid floor balcony. You may sit at sanctuary level by entering our bulding at grouund level and taking one flight of stairs up or you can use our east entrance and use the elevator to the second floor to the main seating area of the sanctuary.
Our worship services are traditional. A typical service includes announcements, worship music, using traditional hymns from the Trinity Hymnal, prayer, communion (on the 1st Sunday of the month), and expository preaching.
We strive to help the congregation offer scriptural, simple, Spiritual, God-centered, historic, reverent and joyful, mediated, corporate, evangelistic, active and passive, Lord’s Day worship to the living and true God.
Christian public worship ought to be simple. It requires no elaborate ritual, no prescribed book of common prayer, on the one hand, nor does it only has to have alot of high-tech, electronic, technologically sophisticated setting on the other. True Christian public worship is merely based on the unadorned and unpretentious principles and order found in the Bible, by precept and example, which supply the substance of new covenant worship.
Christian congregational worship is Spirit-gathered, Spirit-dependent, Spirit-engendered, and Spirit-empowered, because left to ourselves we will not worship the right object, according to the right standard, for the right motivation and to the right end. It is God the Holy Spirit who creates, enables and energizes our desire and capacity to worship. By his ministry we are ushered into God’s presence and commune with him.
Christian worship is all about God. He is the object of our worship, the focus of our worship. We gather as a congregation, not to seek an experience but to meet with God and give him praise. The whom of worship is central to true worship (see John 4:22, 24). We aim to worship the God of the Bible.
Christ-Based (or, Mediated)
Sinners (and that’s what we are) are incapable of approaching a Holy God directly. We need a mediator, a stand-between, a reconciler, an advocate who will represent us before God and make us acceptable to God. In the Old Testament, human priests symbolically fulfilled this function, but Jesus Christ is the only real mediator for the people of God. It is he who has paid the penalty for our sins and opened the way to God. Though human priests are no longer necessary for true worship, Jesus’ mediation is absolutely essential. Through him, and him alone, we can approach God with confidence.
We believe that it is important that we worship corporately, for God has made us for his worship and for community with other worshipers. Worship is the one thing he “seeks” (John 4:23). Corporate worship is not evangelism, nor is it even mutually edifying fellowship.
It is a family meeting with God, it is the covenant community engaging with God, gathering with his people to seek the face of God, to glorify and enjoy him, to hear his word, to revel in the glory of union and communion with him, to respond to his word, to render praise back to him, to give unto him the glory due his name.
Evangelism is one important by-product of true worship. Paul expected that unbelievers would come to the worshiping assembly of Christians and declare that “God is certainly among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:25).
Consequently, we are always mindful that not all those who attend our worship services are believers. We welcome them, speak in language they can understand, preach the Gospel clearly and boldly, and pray, as did Paul, that they experience the presence of the living God and find the way of salvation in our public worship.
At First United Methodist Church we believe that every Lord’s Day (Sunday) worship is God’s discipleship plan for the church, and that Lord’s Day morning and evening worship is vital.
If we believe, with the majority of Christians in all ages, that the Old Testament Sabbath command has a weekly new covenant fulfillment in the Christian Lord’s Day, then we will also believe that the whole of that day (following the explicit one-day-in-seven pattern of the old covenant of grace) is to be spent in worship, deeds of mercy, necessity and witness, and rest.
If that is the case, then both prudential factors and the testimony of history indicate that the best way to help the Lord’s people keep the Lord’s Day is to frame the first day of the week with gathered praise: morning and evening. And such is not without biblical precedent or justification.
The importance of Lord’s Day corporate worship is established by four tremendous realities set forth in the New Testament:
The resurrection of Christ, which is foundational to the re-creative work of Christ in making a people for himself (Mark 16:1-8, cf. verse 9, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, Galatians 6:15-16; Colossians 1:15-22).
The eternal rest foreshadowed in the Lord’s Day (Hebrews 4:9).
The Lord’s Day language and observance of the New Testament church (Revelation 1:10, cf. Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, 19-23, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2).
The New Testament command to the saints to gather, Christ’s promise of presence with us when we do, the faithful example of the gathering of New Testament Christians and Jesus’ express command that we disciple new converts in the context of the local church (Hebrews 10:24-25, Matthew 18:20, Acts 1:4, Matthew 28:18-20).
Consequently, regular and faithful congregational Sunday morning and evening worship (even in a culture where the latter, especially, is disappearing) is a major emphasis here at First United Methodist Church. We view the whole Lord’s Day as “the market day of the soul” and aim for the whole congregation to anticipate Lord’s Day worship with relish.
(Adpated from the First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, Mississippi.)