Monday, July 31, 2006

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......

2 comments:

Spiritual StarScaper said...

Wow - what a interesting "research" you have going on here!! Can you say the "type" of church this was? I'm fascinated to see where your church visits go.

In my own recent church hunt, I've been searching out a Biblical church - you know, the kind described in God's Word that is mysteriously abscent from the Christian community today. I thought that surely there should be some authetic churches doing it by the whole BOOK hidden away in pockets somewhere. I assumed that these types were persecuted by mainstream denominations and so were not going to be popular or displayed neatly in a corporate sized organization's building with a whoping huge sign in front... but really, I've not found one sign of one yet in my months of searching.

Unity of the faith should be one of the churches primary goals with each other, because without it - we damage the body of Christ and our witness to the world. But as long as there is such a thing as denominations, there will always be division. As long as people keep interpreting God's Word through their own rose tinted glasses, and not by being led and taught truth by the Holy Spirit - we are not going to have a unified faith. It's sad! I've been praying that every believer will get off their church's high horse and submit to Jesus and His authority as the only Head of the Church! We ought to get there before Christ's return or die trying. Die to self, anyway! :)

Full Measure said...

Hello, spiritual starscraper!
I have chosen not to mention the "type" of church for a couple of reasons.
First, I do not want to present any kind of security risks to the churches involved.
Second, I am really trying to be objective in my "evaluations," so I am trying to transcend any preconceived notions of denominational stereotypes that might color my assessments.
Third, local congregations often are not "ideal" representations of the denomination with which they are affiliated. So, it is a bit of a disservice to the congregation and the denomination at large to pin judgements on without a heaping helping of objectivity and qualification.
Simpler to keep my comments more generic.
I will go so far as to say that the congregation we visited about which the post to which you have commented was a mainline "pentecostal" denomination. Honestly, though, if I didn't just already know that, there was almost NO way I would have guessed it from their sign out front or their methods during the service.
Keep reading! More stuff coming up soon, I hope!