Early in the beautiful Sunday morning, the sun rose up high in the white clouds. It painted just a little bright spot up in the clouds and the whole view outside was really appealing to the eye. As amazing as Sunday morning felt already, everyone got up and began to get ready for church. I was really excited to actually go out and worship together with my sibling at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Lincoln, Ne. Now, having been to a Lutheran church and other churches that I’ve visited, I was a little bit anxious and nervous to experience service at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. But that didn’t seem like a big matter right now.
Even though it was a sunny Sunday morning, it was a little bit windy and chilly outside. Making our way to the car, my second oldest sister pulled up the location of the church and were ready and set to take off. As we drove to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, we were running a little bit late because I told them earlier that church started at 10:30 a.m. in the morning. When we arrived at our location, 3301 N 56th St Lincoln, NE 68504, everyone got out of the car and began to walk to the entrance. Before I even closed the door of the car, a quick glance of wind hit me right in the face. Then suddenly, the feeling of nervousness began to jump inside me but I kept it to myself. Also, everyone began to glance at each other as we walked to the entrance because they weren’t sure if they dressed appropriately just in case the Baptist Church followed a certain dress code. Despite the fact that we weren’t sure of the dress code, we decided to give it a try.
On our way to the main entrance, we saw a couple of people walk past us and greeted us with a Goodmorning. Then on our way to the worship area, a choir lady smiled at us and said, “Good Morning everybody.” As we walked into the worship area, I was really impressed with the arrangement of the worship area. I was astounded by what I saw and my first impression was “Wow.” As a new face at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, I couldn’t help myself but look around and inspect the whole area, and all the church members.
We thought we were late but the church hadn’t started yet. One of the ushers that stood at the door handed out the order of worship pamphlet and led us to our seats. Being completely new to this place, we decided to sit in the far back row. But then the ushers came by and said, “Goodmorning everyone. Please, could we have you all move up just a little bit.” And we all stood up and moved closer. As the choir group made their way up to the stage, I smiled to myself because I suddenly got a vibe that it would be a traditional southern style of worship and the majority of people there were African American. Most of the ladies wore bright matching clothes with big hats. The choir group were in their large full uniforms and even the pastor’s gown complimented the choir’s uniform.
Suddenly, the earth below my feet felt warm as the choir made their way to the stage. As soon as I saw the pastor, Reverend Dr. Michael W. Combs on the altar, I knew that service was about to start. The whole congregation seemed really nice and very welcoming with smiles on their faces. They had a lead singer who opened the service with two beautiful songs along with other choir members. The sound of the drums along with the piano and the choir group had the congregation dancing and praising the Lord. It was really uplifting. As I mentioned earlier, experiencing a Baptist Church was my first time ever so there were a lot of things that were new and surprising to me. When I glanced through the pamphlet, I realised that the order of service was completely different from what I was used to seeing in Lutheran churches or other churches I’ve visited.
The order of service for a Baptist Church is very different from a Lutheran Church. Lutherans tend to begin their Sunday Service with an opening song, maybe confessions, another song, bible readings, then another song again and finally the sermon. After the sermon we do offerings, sometimes communion (before offering), benediction and a closing song. From my visit to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the program started with praise and worship, a few scripture readings, songs, announcements and welcoming of guests, worship, prayer, greeting the whole congregation (individually everyone greets people), offerings, creative dance, scripture reading, worship, pray, and finally the sermon. The sermon is the last activity of the service. From my experience, their program was long because it was about 3 hours long. Lutheran’s have a shorter program, which lasts for a maximum of one hour so spending 3 hours was a new experience for my siblings and me.
Despite the fact that it was different, I thought it was really amazing. The most important thing is that we all serve the same God. During service, the whole atmosphere kept on getting warmer and warmer with praise and worship. It almost felt like I was in a concert, giving praise and worship to God. The service went really well but right before the sermon, we all had some problem with controlling our physical hunger. It was weird because it was also our first time and we didn’t know when the service would end. We did not want to be disrespectful so we continued sitting down with hungry stomachs. The most important thing was that spiritually, we were filled with an amazing message and had a really great time during the service.
Overall, I thought that it was a nice Sunday Service. The warmer the atmosphere got, the happier we all felt after service. As we walked out of the worship room, few people greeted us and one of the lady said, “You’re always welcome here anytime.” Then after the service, we went straight home and fed our physical body as the time ran like the wind.