If you are considering joining us on a Sunday morning, here are a few things you may be curious about, or at least we think you may want to know…
How to find us & where to park?
First, remember that as a church we are only a few years old. We don’t own land or have a steeple. We meet in a converted warehouse at 1519 Tollhouse Rd., #103. It is on Tollhouse, between Fowler Ave. and Sunnyside Ave., at First Street. It may not look very “churchy” but we have some talented and creative and wonderful volunteers who have worked to make the warehouse a worshipful environment. There are actually two parking lots: one behind (north) of the warehouse, which is the best place to park; and the other is between the warehouse and the offices (we have 3 office suits which is where we do Children’s classes on Sunday morning). Look for the colored canopies to see the entrances to the worship center and the children’s areas. There will also be a few people outside to greet you and make sure you don’t get lost.
What is the worship like, and what should I wear?
Our Sunday worship service begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends about 11:15 a.m. Depending on what time the 49ers are playing on a Sunday during the Fall, we sometimes end a little sooner. Just kidding… but, not really kidding, our pastor is a huge Niners fan. Our people are friendly, our services are informal, and our sermons are biblical. We celebrate communion together once a month. Our music is contemporary and upbeat; we use electric guitars, drums and such, as we worship God with great joy. The songs are God-focused, biblical, and we believe you'll enjoy the worship experience.
If you are wondering, “what should I wear?” let us say you are welcome to come in whatever clothes you feel comfortable. You may see a guy in shirt and tie sitting next to someone in shorts, flip-flops, and a baseball hat. For one guy in our church, matching his clothes means he wears a Ford hat with a Mustang shirt. We are less concerned about what you are wearing and more concerned about what God is doing in your heart and life. We also need to say that because we worship in a converted warehouse it can be difficult for us to keep the temperature steady. Which means if you are the kind of person that gets cold easily, you might want to bring a sweater, even in the summer. A sweater in the Fresno summer??… Yes, we are serious about that. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Before and during the worship service
When you arrive on campus we would love to connect with you and help you to feel at ease. If you have questions, or you are feeling lost, please find one of our greeters or a person wearing a gray polo shirt with the Soma logo. They will answer any question that you have, and if they don’t know the answer they will point you to someone who does. At our Welcome Table we would love to provide you with a gift and some information about our church. The people in the gray shirts are also available during and after service.
As the worship service begins we typically start with singing. You may recognize some of the songs from Christian radio, or classic Christian hymns from the past. There is a good chance some of the songs will be new to you. Our hope is that you can enjoy the band (we think they’re great!), and more importantly, connect with the Lord. We then hear a message from God’s Word that is meant to encourage and challenge us in our faith.
We ask everyone to fill out a KIT Card each week. We would appreciate if you shared with us as much information as you feel comfortable. This is so that we can share with you some of the areas of the church that we feel may interest you and your family. This won’t turn into receiving more junk mail, we promise. You can return this KIT Card back to us by dropping it in the offering basket at the end of service. Please do not feel obligated to give money during the offering time; you are our guest and we are glad that you have chosen to spend some time with us on a Sunday morning. You can also turn the KIT Card in at the Welcome Table in the lobby when service is over, and that is where we have a gift for you.
If you have kids
The care and education of your children is a priority in our church. Our greeters and those in a gray polo shirts would love to show you where the children’s classes are located. All of our volunteers have had background checks; and they all passed! Seriously, though, your child’s safety is very important to us. Because of our desire to keep things safe, your child’s teacher will have you fill out a form when you drop the kids off. This is so that we know about food allergies, special needs that your child may have, and contact info for you the parent.
We have nursery care available for infants, as well as a class for toddlers and a class preschool. These children can be dropped off prior to the worship service starting. All of these kids are dropped off in the same place, and at the same check-in table.
We have two fun classes for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade (K-2 and 3-6). These children will begin the morning in the worship service with you, and then will be dismissed to go with their teachers after most of the singing is done, which is about 20 minutes into service. If it is your child's first time in the K-6 classes we ask that you would exit the worship service with your child when they are prompted to leave, as this will allow us to collect all the necessary information on your older children.
Those people in the gray polo shirts aren’t following you… well, they are, but it is because we asked them to do that. They will assist the teachers in walking the children to the other side of our campus to the classroom.
If you would rather keep your children with you during the worship service we think that is a great option as well. If they get a little noisy or restless, please don’t worry about it. We love having a bunch of young families with children at the church. There are some bistro tables at the back of the room where if your little kid needs to move around, you are able to sit and still enjoy the service while they have room to wiggle.
What about my pre-teen/teenager
Junior High and High School students are just as much a part of Soma as any adult, so we have them stay with us during the whole service. We made this decision before we held our first worship service at Soma, because we believe youth need to feel that they are a part of the church community, and not replace the ‘church’ with the ‘youth group.’ Our youth feel like full-fledged parts of the church, as they play in our worship band, work with our children, serve as greeters and ushers, and more. On Sunday nights we have youth small group and activities, for more info on that you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the service comes to an end we encourage you to stick around and meet people, and certainly get information from the Welcome Table. Our pastor always likes to meet new people and answer questions, so please feel free to approach him and introduce yourself. If you have kids in the children’s class, we do as that when the worship service is over you please pick up your kid(s) and sign them out. As a matter of safety, we will only release children to the parents or adults listed on the sign-in form. See, we weren’t joking when we said that we take your child’s safety seriously.
We are genuinely looking forward to meeting you. See you Sunday!