CHURCH VISIT # 1:
Church visit # 1 took place on 30 July 2006.
For lack of a better term, at least for the time being, I am going to call what we are doing on Sunday mornings "church visits." It is an accurate enough term, after all. We are visiting churches. I guess I wish I could think of some other, more exciting term for it... like, oh, I don't know... "congregational observation episode" or "local Christian gathering assessment" or "diagnostic body life immersion." See what I mean? "Church visit" sounds simple and non-threatening; sweetly unpretentious.
So, yesterday we had our first foray into this new endeavour. It was a good visit. A special musical guest was bringing a "worship concert," so we actually did not witness this congregation in its "normal" behaviour. Nevertheless, I think we got a pretty clear picture of the overall personality of the congregation and its leadership.
I'd say the atmosphere was warm, but not vibrant or inspirational. The folks were not really UNfriendly, but only the intern pastor and his mother (who happened to be an acquaintance of mine who I did not know attended this church) spoke to us.
If we were "looking for a church," we would not put this one high on our list of candidates for a repeat visit, let's put it that way.
Now, it may seem like I am being very clinical about this assessment. I am just trying to be honest.
In terms of discovering how this church "fits" into its neighborhood and into any kind of "external" mission endeavours, we noted a finely appointed bulletin board that seems to be kept up to date showing pictures and maps of missionaries who are directly sponsored by this church. That is a good thing. Also, the church runs a school or day-care facility, and their building hosts several "ethnic" worship services; e.g., Tongan, Arab, Messianic Jewish.
When I brought up the subject of unity, someone said they knew of some other local churches that were interested in unity among the churches. This caused me to think about that phrase......