CHURCH VISIT # 11:
(Church visit # 11 took place on 8 October 2006)
Last Sunday we went to a WONDERFUL church! It has a beautiful campus nestled in the wooded hills, and we can think of nothing negative to say about it!
It is in a beautiful location. The grounds are well tended. The buildings are in excellent condition. I guess I never really thought to mention this about previous church visits because all the previous experiences so far have not been "extraordinary." Worshiping at this church, and the fellowship before and after kind of felt like we were at a retreat center. I will have to pay better attention to such things, perhaps. Or maybe the topic of architecture, physical layout, location, property condition and appearance, etc, should be yet another separate topic.
Anyhoo - the people were warm and friendly; not in a superficial "nice to have you have you here" way, but in a genuine, spontaneous, enthusiastic (without being scary) way.
The music was outstanding. Excellent musicianship, leadership, song selection and placement, resource management. They made the most of what they were using. The leader played bass, then there was an electric rhythm/lead guitar, acoustic piano, keyboard, drums and two (female) singers. The sound tech / projection team was superlative. I specifically went to them after the service to compliment them on a flawless execution of their role. The key: not once was I tempted to look over my shoulder and wonder whether the folks in the sound booth were paying attention; i.e., no squeaks, no feedback, no frantic signals from the platform, nobody tripping over cables, the song lyrics were projected at just the right time to sing along comfortably. It was simply ALL GOOD (actually, it was beyond good).
The offering, the announcements and the "special music" were so much a part of the flow of the service that I had to prompt myself afterward as to whether these elements had even been present.
The bulletin did not feature a play-by-play "Order of Worship." It was essentially a brochure announcing all of the activities and events of the congregation and its programs; and it had an outline of the sermon, complete with scripture excerpts.
The sermon itself was among the best I have ever heard. Dynamic, challenging, conversational, memorable.
No invitation, per se. See previous post on that subject.
There was plenty of opportunity for fellowship before and after the service, but no one made us feel like we were obligated, nor did we feel like flies on the wall watching strangers enjoy each other while we quietly wondered how we somehow managed to become invisible.
The whole experience was a complete joy. I have no trouble suggesting that we may eventually find ourselves "visiting" this one again.