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My Local Church Visit

This morning I visited a local near-mega church (runs about 1600). I hadn't actually been to a Sunday service there before although I had been there for various youth ministry functions when I was a YP. Sadly, after my visit today, I will likely return any time soon.

I'll try to give some bad, good and optimism.

Some of the Lowlights:

Parking- They overlap services so the earlier service people are leaving and I'm trying to park... makes for fun in the lot when no one is helping the situation and the services aren't spread out very far apart.

Directions- While there were people periodically spread out holding bulletins they were not trained to talk to me. I come in carrying my son and I was truly confused. It is an old-time building with lots of painted cinder block and small hallways.

Signage- Along with not having people positioned to give directions I could find no signage. While everyone there apparently knew each other I felt like the 3rd wheel on a bicycle. I almost felt like I was the one with the problem for having to interrupt someones conversation to find out where to go. It wasn't like this was a huge lobby either... this was like a maze. Apparently the regulars knew exactly where they were... I'm not a regular.

Children's Check In- Sweet lady running a very inefficient operation. When you have to find a passer by to walk a parent down 4 hallways to get to a kids room... that's not a good sign.

Music- The songs were from the early 90's but were actually made to sound older... much older. Something like 7 up front singers, a mini-orchestra and about 100 people in the choir. The mix was bad so all I could here was the lead singer (who had to stare at the back wall to read the lyrics... booo). Another thing... if you're going to sing "I could sing of your love forever" make sure your people raise their hands when the song says so... or dance when they get to "dance with joy like we're dancing now".

Dress- While most of the up front people seem to have recently gotten a copy of Purpose Driven Church, the rest of the congregation looked like they were obligated to dress 'up'. I'm cool if it fits the community profile... but honestly I didn't get that sense... it just seemed kinda forced. Like that's what is 'expected' there. I wouldn't be comfortable... and I don't mind throwing on a tie.

Message- Today's talk was alright... the content was good but way too much time on stories about stories. For instance he spent time talking about commercials and describing them... I have an idea... how about we show the commercial? Wow.... then we could get the point and move on.... but instead he had to rush in the scripture notes in the last 10 minutes to get wrapped up.

WHAT I DID LIKE:

Signs of Outreach- I could tell that they were trying to get their people to think about the community more. The bulletin had a few opportunities coming up for some outreach.

Instructions for Members- This church is looking for a Senior Pastor right now. I like how the Associate Pastor instructed the crowd. He basically said that the elders don't give a rip about your opinion unless it was made after you got right with God and prayed. (Those are my words but I got the point.)

Friendly- When I say friendly I mean from the stage. The people were so-so but I could tell the staff seemed to be a friendly group. The only thing was that I wasn't a target for the humor. That didn't bother me though because the humor is directed at this demographic and I didn't fit. I was younger.

This place will have a new Pastor in a few months (based on what I understood about where they are right now in the process). I wouldn't be good for this job. I don't know who in their right mind would want this job unless they got a lot of concessions about future changes. I read over the job description online and it seemed like they want Superman to come in and do nothing but let them continue to be comfy. It's sad because they have a ton of potential if the right leader were able to lead.

Hopefully they will get someone they can trust who will be able to make this church rock again. I feel kinda bad for this congregation because they've been through a few different Pastors recently. I pray God's best on them and their future. Our community needs them to be a strong church again. There are lots of people who need Christ and this place could become a good place to reach them if the new Pastor has a vision and permission to do so.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, April 06, 2008

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