October 06, 2008

Church Hopping and SNOW!

Got up to go "church hopping"! Sunday morning and out to learn what it's like to be a visitor in 2 very different kind of churches. One of the great privileges of my sabbatical is the opportunity to visit other churches.

Drove to Kelowna to catch the first hour of church at NEW LIFE, an openly charismatic, loose kind of church about the size of LLCF. I sat on the back row because I knew I had to leave before it would get over...Note to self...pray for people on the back row...how do they "get into sitting all the way back there"? Worship was good...very authentic, quality decent, very "flowy" and definitely not "showy". Big flags of bright colors were waved by both men and women as they slowly danced in worship...children pranced around with their own little flags...people talked to one another...it had an informal but sincere feel to it...some people were way into it....others were praying for each other. It kind of dragged because it took 45 minutes to go through 5 or 6 songs and then communion was served with the same kind of serious but informal feel..."hey come up front and someone will serve you." Couldn't believe all the young families there.

Had to leave before the message but I would definitely go back and meet some of the folks.
It seems from the bulletin that they are trying to do a lot of missional things.

Went to Trinity Baptist a mega-church that follows a "church growth, seeker sensitive model". Had great parking attendants, but I went in the wrong door...once in the door it was easy to find the auditorium (not a sanctuary or worship center). Friendly and helpful usher. Stage lighting was cool. Good worship...led by a 20something guy and mostly young folks on the platform...(to me that's always a good sign). The leader tried to get some energy from the church...they were happy to politely sing but more than that was stretch. Very programmed church but well done.
The special music was excellent. Tim Schroeder, who has led that church for 23 years but recently stepped down to just be the teaching pastor, brought a message on passing on values to our children....well crafted, powerful use of scripture, beyond seeker-directed...did a great job and then just closed with a prayer.

I liked the excellence and the spirit of the leaders of the church...probably a little too corporate feel for me...but great hearts and being effective I'm sure.

Then I was reading about the "organic church" in "The Forgotten Ways" by Alan Hirsch. This is for the most part advocating church on a mission, especially celebrating the "home church model".

When I got back up the mountain to the house...it started to SNOW! Gorgeous fluffy snow...it didn't stick but it snowed for the next 3 hours. Then I went power-walking and had a chance to minister to our next door neighbor who is fighting a debilitating physical neurological condition.
Her young heart (28 year old single gal) was opened up by the interest that Deb and I had shown to her.

Charismatic, Baptist, or home group...the big thing is...Are we helping hurting people with the authentic love of Christ and is His truth being accurately explained to get life to the lost?

These experiences are helping me see our church differently and making me so earnest that we do a great job of helping guests feel loved without feeling smothered.

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