What are you likely to experience when you visit a Seventh-day Adventist worship service?
That will depend partly on the size and make-up of the congregation. With 16 congregations in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and almost 400 congregations around the British Isles; and a diverse membership, the one thing you will be sure of is a warm welcome.
Adventists enjoy worship and will generally spend most of a Saturday (Sabbath) morning in church. Some like to spend almost the whole day in various forms of worship and fellowship!
The first part of the morning will be spent in a Bible discussion. This is usually age specific with different classes for children, youth and adults. In most churches they will have been following a study guide – but if you don't have one it doesn’t matter. Carrying a Bible can be helpful – but that is not essential either – most churches have Bibles to spare.
In some churches the discussion will be led from the front with the congregation joining in. In many other places the study takes place in smaller groups allowing for greater participation.
For Adventists the main worship service generally starts around 11:15 – 11:30 on a Saturday morning. Style will vary from church to church but the service will include singing (either hymns or contemporary Praise and Worship songs), prayer, Bible reading and a sermon. There may also be a special part of the service for the children. Lay-members are often heavily involved in the worship.
Adventists enjoy their food as well as fellowship. In many churches this has led to 'fellowship lunch' where families bring food and share with each other and with visitors. Expect a diversity of (mainly) vegetarian cuisine, a warm welcome, and the likelihood of making a friend or two.
Many churches operate a Youth programme at some stage on a Friday night or a Saturday afternoon or evening. There are also many opportunities for Bible Study, often midweek and in the church or members' homes. Youth clubs, Pathfinders (similar to Scouts), Health or family orientated programmes run at different times of the week.