City Church of Madison has no dress code. This is so both newcomers and returning visitors can feel completely comfortable and be themselves at the non-denomination house of worship. By presenting a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, the church believes its worshipers will more strongly connect with God, form new friendships, and acknowledge God's presence in their daily lives.
"'Come as You Are' is one of our core values at City Church," says Sarah Karlen, the Arts & Communications pastor. "We want to be a place where anyone can come and know that God will meet them where they are at, no matter who they are."
The church's website outlines exactly what its membership does and does not mean. In keeping with the laid-back approach, the church states that it does not check in on people to see if they attend service nor does it pressure anyone to serve. For City Church, membership is simply their way of identifying who is a part of their family and protecting the unity of the church by acting in love towards others.
City Church began more than 80 years ago as a mission called Madison Gospel Tabernacle that was founded by a female missionary to Africa. The church expanded during the 20th century and in 1976 built its current building at 4909 E. Buckeye Road. In 1992 it underwent a name change to Lake City Church and fostered the growth of several other Madison area churches, including Mad City Church. Both churches joined together in 2010 to become City Church and begin a new era of serving the community.
People of all ages enjoy the lively, contemporary services, which are held on Sundays at 8:30 AM, 11 AM, and 6 PM. "City Church's services are contemporary and include a time of worship with a live band, preaching and teaching that focuses on God, is Bible centered and also apply to people's lives, as well as a time of building community," says Karlen. Coffee and refreshments are available before and after service.
There are also several ministries to help people gain a more in-depth understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ. A children's ministry includes nursery, pre-school church and Kid's Church (K-5) every Sunday morning and Awana, a group for children ages preschool through 5th grade that meets on Wednesday nights. Other ministries cater to middle and high school students, women, seniors, and engaged and married couples.
"Throughout the year we have many events for children, youth and families," explains Karlen. "We also have many other ministries such as marriage and parenting, men's ministry, women's ministry and creative arts ministries which provide teaching and opportunities for all ages. We find joy in Jesus Christ and want to share it with those who choose to worship with us."