Wednesday, October 18, 2006


(Church visit # 12 took place on 15 October 2006)

This church visit was to a large church that conducts three Sunday morning services each week. We attended the middle one, at which there were about 300 people in attendance. This is a popular, neo-denominational (theoretically non-denominational, but it is affiliated with a large association of churches whose origins go back about 40 years).

The music had already begun when we entered (on time). People were still finding their seats; probably only about half of the eventual number were present when we arrived. There was about 20 minutes of singing. The worship leader did make an effort to encourage the congregation to "enter in." But we had a sense that, at least on this particular Sunday, a significant number of the people were not very focused on worship. Nevertheless, for any who were expectant and intentional, the worship leadership facilitated communion with the Lord.

After the singing, the senior pastor came to the platform to deliver the sermon. The sermon was excellent, expository preaching / teaching. Conversational in style, yet depth of interpretation and application.

We enjoyed our visit to this church, but we came away with a clear sense of how easy it is to attend such services with little or no interaction with any of the other gathered faithful. It would be a cinch to attend regularly for a long time - indefinitely - without doing anything else to be a part of the ministry of the church.

Granted, this church has many, many programs and opportunities throughout the week for its "members" to participate in. It just doesn't seem like there is any dedicated effort to ensure the "status" of attenders; i.e., are they saved? are they walking with the Lord daily?

This could all turn into a lengthy discussion of grace, works, legalism, empty programming, effectiveness of small groups, etc etc etc.

In our estimation, we might have difficulty sustaining discipleship at this church - which is probably more of an indictment of our ability to apply ourselves voluntarily to the opportunities the church provides for fellowship and study.

I feel like I can't think of the right way to wrap up this entry. It does not seem right to "downgrade" this church based on one visit and rather vague "feelings." The church seems to have a lot going - it is "successful" by nearly every measure one could apply. The sermon was outstanding; the music was fine; the building and grounds are clean, fresh, inviting; plenty of what appear to be well-organized opportunities to grow, minister, participate.

...maybe it is just a little too "cookie cutter" for my tastes...


todrawneargod said...

Hi... I'm a new follower.. ^___^

I'm just wondering what is this Church visit all about? And what have you learn by doing it?

Anyway, just like man, there is no such thing as a perfect church... But we do have a perfect God who perfectly love an imperfect person like me...

God bless...

boromax said...

Welcome, and Shalom, 'todrawneargod'!!

Thank you for asking about "Church visit."

You might have noticed that my "Church Visit" posts were entered a few years ago. Why we were doing church visits and what we learned are kind of a long story - but also fairly easy to put in a nutshell... maybe.

My wife and I had just left a church where we had been the Worship Pastors for several years. We felt that the Lord (btw, I often call Him 'Yhvh' or 'Abba') was directing us to take a look around our area and see what He was doing in the local churches.

Our heart was (and is) for UNITY among believers in Yeshua (Jesus). Hence the title of this blog. The '413' is a reference to Ephesians 4:13, which states "...until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him."

So, our 'mission' in doing church visits was to see with our own eyes, hear with our own ears, listen for the voice of Yhvh, discern truth, impart knowledge (as and only when guided by the Spirit).

We had to strike a balance between being alert so that we could catch the details but relaxed enough to simply take in the experience.

It was an amazing season. Over a period of about eight months, we visited nearly thirty churches. This blog was part of recording our experiences, but I did not enter a post on every church visit we made.

At present, we are involved with a congregation called 'Har Adonai' (Hebrew for 'Mountain of the Lord'), which worships on Saturday evenings. Besides proclaiming Yeshua as the Son of God risen from the dead, and worshipping in spirit and truth, we are exploring the Hebrew roots of our faith.

Well, at this point it is less of an exploration and more of a full-scale diving in. Based on Romans 11, in which Paul explains how we are grafted in to the existing tree of Israel, we recognize that Yeshua did not intend for 'the Church' to replace Israel (the Hebrew people; i.e., Jews). The original root still exists and we were grafted in - so our nourishment needs to be from the same root.

So much more, but this comment is already long!

Blessings to you!

Scrappy Grams said...

Thanks for explaining the 413.
"todrawneargod" Thankfully, what you say is what helps me. I'm happy that Christ came to save the sinners. Amen