Sunday, February 24, 2008

Huh

Bob and I actually went to church today. It was kind of a fluky thing. A woman I met at the wedding shower I attended Friday night invited me to her church. She wrote out the website and service times and I told Bob about it. He said that he could probably make an 11am service and we should try it. So we got up and got ready and drove to the church.

I was a little bit taken aback by it all. When we were within a block of the church, we saw lines and lines of cars and then we saw many traffic directors. When we saw the actual church building, we were again taken aback. It was a large "campus" type church. Typically we try to stay away from the "mega church" churches. Still, we made it that far so we forged ahead.

When we entered the building, we were in for another shock. It looked like a swanky hotel lobby more so than a church entry. There was marble, a fountain, benches, and lots of floral displays. We were greeted by a man and woman dressed to the nines. They directed us to another pair of greeters dressed fancily who, in turn, directed us to the sanctuary.

Once we entered the sanctuary, I wasn't sure what we were in for. It looked like a large ampitheater. The stage looked like a professionally appointed theater stage. To the right was a grand piano and large band complete with brass section. To the left was a large chair. Ahead of us was an auditorium filled with theater seats and I counted no less than 6 television cameras. Once we were seated, I was able to see the professional lighting, sound board, and tv editing station. I felt like we had just entered some televised musical production.

We were shown to a section of the auditorium that featured cut-outs for wheelchairs so that was nice. The whole building was accessible and there seemed to be quite a large contingent of people in wheelchairs. We were at the 4th service of the weekend so I'm sure their actual numbers are even higher than what we saw today.

The whole time we were sitting there during the service I kept thinking, "Surely you don't want us to go here Lord. Surely this isn't the place you have for us to attend." Yet it seemed that it just may be. During one of my silent protestations, my attention was turned towards the bulletin where I noticed that they have a photography group that meets once a month. This is interesting only in that yesterday I had just prayed for God to use my photography if he could in any way. I didn't know how or what it might mean or look like but it seems like something of an odd coincidence. When I got home, I went directly to the church website to see what I could find on the photography group and I found amazing galleries. Right away I began to tell myself I wasn't good enough to join these amazing photographers. Then I thought that if nothing else, I can learn from them and become better. The next meeting is this Thursday night and I can't wait.

Something else that kind of gave me pause was that the speaker/preacher today was Kenneth Copeland. I'm not a big fan of TV preachers and I've heard he's been in some kind of trouble financially but I will say that he had a very good message that ministered to both me and Bob personally. We tend to take things in with a large dose of skepticism but were very much surprised at how much the sermon and service moved us. Maybe this is because we haven't attended a formal church service in about a year or maybe it's because of the slick service style and professional music. Or, maybe it was because God showed up for us today.

At the end of everything, after all was said and done, Bob said, "I could go here again. Let's plan on attending next weekend too." I said I would be up for it but that it surprised me because this didn't seem to be the kind of church we were looking for. After all it was so big and fancy and flashy and how could we, jeans and t-shirt people, find a place to serve, move, live, and be in such a big fancy place? Bob said, "Maybe we just need to be faces in the crowd of a big church for a while." That sounded about right to me.

The other things that do attract us to this church right now are the smaller, more personal outreaches that the church is involved with. They have a prison ministry, a street evangelism program, a food shelf, a women's shelter, a car care program for single mothers and the elderly, and they have an awesome live music/dance club in downtown Minneapolis. They also have local small groups for a more intimate and friendly church experience. Finally, they have 2 Saturday night services in addition to the 2 on Sunday. Sometimes evening church is better for Bob so it's nice to have a choice.

So, we shall see. For now we will try to keep attending as we can. I will attend the this Thursday evening's photography meeting and who knows, maybe we will actually find a place to fit in here. If nothing else, maybe we will at least find ourselves back in the habit of church attendance, even if it doesn't mean that we end up at this particular church.


2 comments:

desperate housewife said...

This post was VERY interesting to me. I too am very leery of mega churches, but I also know that the Lord works in mysterious ways, if you will, so maybe this place IS what you're looking for, at least for now. Just pray for wisdom, I guess. I hope if nothing else that the photography group is a good outlet for you.

Yvonne said...

I hope this is the place where God wants you to be nurtured.