First-time GuestsWho can attend the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church worship service?
The Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church services are open to all who seek God. Actually, the church members are encouraged to invite their friends and family members to its services. On the other hand, guests need no invitation, and there are no “closed” worship services. In other words, all of our church services are conducted for the purpose of worshipping God, which means that all seekers of God are truly welcomed and encouraged to participate.
What is the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church?
The Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church is a community of individuals who are part of a movement of Christians, who are awaiting and preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They have bound themselves in fellowship and service with 80 other churches in New Mexico and West Texas in a “conference” called the Texico Conference. With the help of the “Conference," they share financial and leadership resources to advance the sharing of the gospel. The pastor of the Albuquerque Heights Church is paid by the Texico Conference.
When are the worship services?
The main church services are on Saturday mornings at 9:30 and 11:00. The 9:30 “Sabbath School” service is a small group service, where Sabbath School members gather in their “classes” at 9:30 a.m. at a regular place in the church to share insights from their individual study time of the Scriptures. A “Sabbath School Quarterly,” which provides the theme of the weekly topic and daily portions to be considered, is given to each attendee. The groups are self-divided by age, friendship, and or, chance. Guests may visit any fellowship class they choose. The “Greeters,” at the church’s front door will gladly provide direction to the location of the various classes. If you come with a friend, of course, you may attend his/her class or any class you choose. Cordiality, friendship, sharing, and study of the Bible are the main purposes for the Sabbath School classes. Church membership is not a criterion of being a Sabbath School member. Friendliness is.
Since each week the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church has many first-time guests, it is unlikely that you will be the only guest in a “class,” so others may feel “new” too. Regular attendance and participation is how you can become a member of a Sabbath School “class.”
The 11:00 Worship Celebration Service centers on the Word of God (the Bible). Seventh-day Adventist Churches have trained (educated) full-time pastors. Most often the pastor has, minimally, a Master of Arts degree and oversees the church services, most often, preaching a sermon during the Worship service on Sabbath. The sermon is prepared around a Bible text, Bible story, or a biblical theme. The purpose of the sermon is to explain a Scripture passage from God, enhanced by the Holy Spirit, impacting the worshipper’s life.
The pastor of the Albuquerque Heights Church is David Merling. He has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and taught at the Theological Seminary at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI for over 20 years. He became the pastor in April 2011.
While the sermon is the center of the worship service, due to its biblical content, music and prayer are also significant parts of the worship service, which is why the pastor prefers to call this service a “celebration.” Members and guests gather each Sabbath (Saturday) morning to celebrate the past and current blessings that God has and is giving us. All worshippers are celebrating through the Divine Word (the Bible), songs, praises, offerings, and prayers.
We are always seeking to use the talents God brings to our worship services. On the other hand, we follow the direction of the Apostle Paul and plan our celebration worship services ahead of time (1 Corinthians 14:4). Please tell one of the greeters, or worship leader (names are found in the bulletin), pastor, or someone who participates in our worship services, if you would like to offer a prayer, or sing, or play special music, so we can plan for your participation.
As already stated, singing is a regular part of the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist worship services. Most often the words of the hymns/praise songs are placed on the two large screens at the front of the worship center (sometimes called the “sanctuary,” named after the Old Testament place where God met the Israelites,” Exodus 25:8).
The Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church also has a mid-week service called the “Burning Bush.” This is an informal service which features Bible study, review of a religious book and prayer. Usually, led by the pastor or one of the church lay leaders (called “elders”), the Burning Bush is in a small-group setting, where members sit at tables with their Bibles and study a portion of Scripture.
What should I wear to a Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church Service?
There is no proscribed attire. You may dress as you like. “Going-to-church” in past generations meant “dressing up,” while today's worshippers may prefer a "come-as-they-are” approach. Some of our attendees come from cultures where people seldom "dress up." Others feel more comfortable, when they are in suits and/or dresses. This is New Mexico, which means the majority of participants may be casually dressed. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to dress when visiting the Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church. Our services are about worshiping God, not what you wear.
The pastor, by tradition, wears a suit and tie (which says nothing about what you should do). On the other hand, this tradition does not dictate that he can’t take off his coat, or even preach without a tie, if he so desires.
What will you find, when you walk through the front door?
When you walk through the front door of the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday morning, you will find friendly, smiling greeters, who will graciously welcome you to the service. We also print first-name labels, so you will immediately know everyone's first name and they will know yours. In other words, you will feel at home in a very few minutes. They will give you a “church bulletin," which is a program guide for the morning services, other activities, and information. A greeter or a nearby deacon will be happy to help you find the Worship Center and a seat.The location of the Worship Center is on the right, after you enter the front door. When you enter the Worship Center, you may choose any seat.
During the worship service, you will know what will happen next by carefully following the bulletin (program). Activities are listed in order, top to bottom starting with the “Welcome and Announcements” and ending with the “Benediction.”
If special needs are a concern, please ask for assistance/information, and help will be gladly forthcoming. An area at the front right of the sanctuary is reserved for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals, where sign language is used to assist in making the service more meaningful.
What should I do if an offering plate/envelope is passed?
At the main worship service and Sabbath School, offerings are taken. These offerings are taken to give the church members an opportunity to support the ministries of the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church. In Sabbath School the offering is taken via an envelope, which is passed around the class. It is not expected that guests have to give an offering, either in Sabbath School or at the worship service. Just pass the envelope or offering plate to the next person closest to you. Many members give with “on-line” giving, so they, themselves, may ignore the offering plate and pass it along.
What else might the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church members expect of you?
When you come through our door as a guest, we begin praying that you will find in the Albuquerque Heights your church home. In addition, we hope that by attending our services, you will be blessed by God and drawn by our love and the Holy Spirit to come again.