What to Expect

 

Welcome to Tabernacle Baptist Church! We’re excited that you would like to join us for worship. We know how daunting visiting a new church can be, so we would like to make your visit as welcoming as possible. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have anymore questions please contact pastor@tbcrichmond.org. Podcasts of worship services are available on this website.

Where should I park?

There are several places to park.

  1. Please feel free to park on Grove Avenue just in front of the Sanctuary. These spots are reserved for you, our guests.
  2. The main parking lot is on Meadow Street between Grove and Floyd Avenues, directly across the street from the main church building .
  3. There is a smaller parking lot behind the church that can be accessed from the alley way between Grove and Floyd Avenues on Granby Street.
  4. If all else fails, there is plenty of street parking in the Fan on Sunday mornings.

Where are the church entrances?

There are three main entrances into the church on Sunday mornings.

  1. We recommend the glass doors on Meadow Street because they open into the main hallway.
  2. The wooden doors on the right side of the portico on Grove Avenue open into the sanctuary.
  3.  We have an entrance with an elevator in the Meadow Street Alley Door (look for the glass atrium). This is the best door for you to use if you visit during weekday office hours or require an elevator to enter the sanctuary. Feel free to us our loading zone in the alley to unload passengers before parking.

What should I wear?

Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, we will accept you for who you are no matter what you’re wearing. On any given Sunday you will find people wearing anything from jeans to suits and everything in between. We gather together to worship and fellowship, and we can do that no matter what type of clothes you’re in.

When do you gather for worship and Bible study?

On Sunday mornings we have coffee in the fellowship hall (downstairs) from 9:15 until 9:30. Sunday School is from 9:30 to 10:30 throughout the building, and worship begins in the sanctuary at 11:00. The service is usually finished no later than 12:15.

On Sunday evenings small groups meet throughout the city for fellowship and study. Click here for more information on small groups.

On Tuesdays at noon some of us gather for a Bible study in the fellowship hall (downstairs) with our pastor. Bring your own lunch and come ready for a great discussion.

On Wednesday evenings we meet in the fellowship hall (downstairs) at 5:45 for dinner. The suggested cost is $4 for adults and $1.50 for students over 12, including college and graduate students. Kids under 12 are free. This is only the suggested cost. Please never allow inability to pay to prevent you from joining us for dinner. At 6:30 our children and youth leave the fellowship hall for their classes while adults stay downstairs for Bible study. This is over in time for choir practice to begin at 7:30.

We offer free tutoring for children in the community from 5:00-5:45. For more information on tutoring or volunteering to be a tutor contact Julie Gaines.

What can I expect worship at Tabernacle to be like?

The best way to describe our worship here is traditionally creative or creatively traditional. We sing hymns and the doxology, we pray the Lord’s prayer together, and the sermons we hear are based on the revised common lectionary. However we are always looking for ways to be creative with art and music.

We strongly believe that the congregation is actively involved in worship, not a passive participant. It’s not uncommon for our congregation to take part in responsive readings and we are often led in worship by members of the congregation. It’s also not uncommon for our children and teenagers to pray and read scripture, and whenever someone reads scripture or prays, we fully expect that they’ll do so in the language they use in their own home.

What do you have for my children?

Tabernacle was founded 125 years ago as a Sunday school for children in the country who didn’t have a church. (Back then, the Fan was the country). Today we remain true to that identity by being a congregation deeply committed to loving and serving children.

We offer nursery from infant through pre-k on Sunday and Wednesday.

On Sundays we offer Sunday School for children. Before service starts, feel free to pick up one of the worship bags located under the nametags in the hall. Several bags are marked “guest.” These bags contain a Children’s Bible and bookmarks to mark that day’s readings and the hymns for the day. It also contains crayons and an activity sheet. It’s perfectly okay for your kids to color during the service.

Shorty before the sermon, our children in grades K-5 leave the sanctuary for Worship Explorers. They play games and learn an age appropriate lesson based on the passage our pastor is preaching on, and will return during the final hymn.

On Wednesday nights we offer tutoring, Godly play, and children’s choir. We also have youth activities for our teenagers.

What are the people like?

In a word, diverse. We are a city church, and we represent our urban location. The entire economic spectrum is represented here, you may sit next to one of our homeless family members or next to someone who is financially secure.

We are blessed to be an interracial and multi-cultural congregation. 1/5 of us are refugees from Southeast Asia. People of all ages attend Tabernacle. We have a large group of young adults, and have many young families with children. Our youngest member is a few weeks old, and our oldest is over one hundred.

What if I’m not a Baptist? Should I still come to Tabernacle?

Absolutely! People from various denominational backgrounds including Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, the United Church of Christ, and non-denominational have chosen to make Tabernacle their spiritual home. If you’d like more information on what it means to be Baptist click here, but keep in mind that we welcome everyone to attend and join our church. We don’t believe you have to agree about everything in order to worship God together.

What if I’m liberal/conservative/etc? Should I come to Tabernacle?

Yes. People at Tabernacle span the spectrum from theologically liberal and moderate to conservative. Those who are affiliated with the Democratic and Republican parties worship together on a weekly basis. We don’t always agree about everything, and we don’t want to. That would be boring and inconsistent with how we interpret the Jesus of the Gospels. We believe every Christian is a priest and is able to interpret scripture with God’s help, and that everyone’s opinion and contribution is essential and valid. Diversity makes us stronger because we have the opportunity to learn from each other.

You don’t have to think like everyone else does to be welcome here. That’s not even possible. Tabernacle is a safe place to wrestle with important issues and express doubt.