CHURCH VISIT # 10:
Church visit # 10 took place on 1 October 2006 (World Communion Sunday).
Back home from our vacation, we visited a small, sweet church here in town. It happens to be of the denomination in which I was raised: Church of God (Anderson, IN). That is to distinguish it from the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). The latter is unabashedly Pentecostal. The former, not so much. Once when I was in Georgia, I actually saw a sign in front of a Church of God (Anderson, IN) that included the disclaimer "Non-Pentecostal."
That could be a whole 'nother topic of discussion; i.e., how certain terms have been co-opted by segments of the Body to the point that the rest of us consciously avoid being "labelled" with those terms.
ANYway. This was a pleasant enough church visit. There really was a sweet, sweet Spirit in that place. There were about 35 people present, which the pastor told us later was less than usual. However, it looked to me like if you got much more than about 50 or 60 people in that church building, it would have started to feel crowded.
The sermon was brought by a young man (30-something) who is working toward ordination. It was a very good message regarding the need to be broken to allow God to use us as He wills. The same man led in serving Communion, and he brought a bit of a fresh perspective to the sacrament by relating it to the traditional Jewish wedding feast during which the prospective groom offers a glass of wine to the prospective Bride, and the Bride may accept or reject the wine as an indicator of her willingness to "give her life" for the Groom. Powerful.
I am tempted to say nothing about the music, just because I do not want to seem uncharitable. I can certainly say that, even while we were singing I was thinking about how blessed God's heart is to receive the offering of song brought by His children, even when our imperfect ears do not find the sounds objectively appealing.
I'll just spit it out: Piano and organ; neither very talented, had a very hard time staying together; resulted in agonizingly slow progression through the songs. (the only song vaguely like a "contemporary" song was "I Love You, Lord") There was no leadership from the platform. Although a woman was standing behind the pulpit "leading," she did nothing to help the accompanists establish or maintain tempo; no hand waving or other visual cues such as head nods or foot stomping.
Nevertheless, the musical "quality" did not detract from the overall sweetness of the service in general.