Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've been attending church for 24 years now (I'm 31, but I had a small break during my teenage years). I can't tell you how many styles of churches that I have personally attended. I grew up in a Pentecostal church. I've attended a Catholic church, Baptist, Lutheran, Foursquare and Mormon. I'm sure there are more, but they slip my mind this morning.

The point is this: Not one of them kept my interest. Now, I know it's not the faith aspect that is not interesting. It is. Just read the book of Revelation and see just how interesting God truly is.

The part that's not interesting is the monotone voice of the pastor. He doesn't move. He stands up on a pedestal with his pulpit and Bible. Spouting scripture and excpecting that we can all find it in our bibles by the time he starts reading. Yeah right. Picture someone brand new with no Bible. How do they feel during this process? Or picture me ....I just don't know where everything is that quickly. Ask me to find Genesis.....I got that covered. The four gospels, no prob. But most books in the Bible, I have to hunt and peck for.

And when did church attire become haute couture? How come at most churches I've attended, you are expected to wear a dress and your kids must have perfect hair and look like you are well rested? That stuff is only for the movies people. Come on! Who are these perfect people? I'm reminded of the song sung by the Veggietales. The applicable verse goes "Oh you can't get to Heaven, in a washing machine. Cause God don't care if your clothes are clean." Ok - now I do want to sit next to someone in church who smells nice. But who cares that they're wearing a dress. Shorts and flip flops are cool with me. In fact Rob, one of our pastors, did that almost all Summer. ATTN PASTORS - wearing flip flops actually makes your congregation respect you even more. You seem more like a real person. This is a good thing.

I also love walking into a building and knowing you matter. There's something about walking into our church that is different that any other church I've attended. The smell (lattes), the decor, the staff. Seriously, people gather early just to have coffee together and socialize in the foyer. During my first visit to this church, I honestly felt that these folks cared for me. They didn't know my history. They didn't know all of the truly grotesque things I've done in my past. But when I was there I felt that the atmostphere, the seating, the kids facility, the music.....it was all directed towards me. It was just what I wanted / needed.

Speaking of their music; It is indescrible. I'm not sure if I can put it into words. Maybe thinking about my other church experiences would help me. The most memorable and hopefully forgettable worhsip experience was at my last church. The leader is a wonderful pianist and singer. The problem is that she caters the songs and keys to her voice. I know, she wants to sound good. The problem being that hardly any of the men can reach her note, even in a key lower. The other problem, most women can't reach her soprano note. The result: Most folks mouthed the words. This left me feeling empty after worship. I was saying to myself "Please let this be the last song." I'm not sure if they thought about having some other folks up there to provide harmony that the rest of us could follow. Worship service became a concert for this woman. My favorite worship leader at GCC is hand down, Trace. He rocks. There is no way you can't be totally ispired by him and his rocking guitar. Unless you are my Mother in law (whom I love) who says it's "too loud." You all remember that t-shirt from the 80's? "If it's too loud, you're too old." Nuff said.

Sheesh - I didn't mean for this to be a rant. Some of you back in OR have been asking questions. Here are your answers. You could also watch last week's service and see for yourself.

All I can say to all of you back home who are skeptical of, what you call "smoke and lights" churches. Check out some of my blog links. Especially Tim Stevens who is writing a book on the use of Pop Culture in the church. You can even complete a survey that will help him choose his subtitle. These are God loving people who use their time, money, and lives to show folks how much they matter to God. Thank heavens they do so without the use of an organ.


Michelle said...

Good thing Rob doesn't listen to his wife nagging him about how wearing flip-flops to preach is TACKY! :)

The 9th HABIT said...

hey....pretty impressed by your thoughts on your church. I had the opprtunity to experience granger last year when we came down from Canada...and it is just like you said..a total inspiration...as an old Beatles fan my self I will have to catch the Christmas services on the web site...blessings jeremy