Adventures in church visitation

Date: 18 Jun 2010 Comments: 0

Now that the vacation time is over, I am in the process of trying to get back into some sense of balance. One of the first things I wanted to do now that I have had cool down time is to visit some local churches that are closer to us than our old home church where we could begin to rebuild our spiritual lives. I actually started the first day back from our vacation, we pulled in to the house from Missouri at approximately 2AM Sunday morning. By 10AM Sunday morning, I was washed, dressed, and even had my child ready to load into the car. I let Tiff stay at home so that she could rest.

Although I am posting today, this church visit actually occurred on June 6,2010.

My first spot to visit was First Baptist Church of Moore which is a giant church on the eastern side of the highway and I even knew a friend who attended the church at one time. I chose to go to the “Contemporary Worship” since it started at 11:00AM versus the “Blended Worship” at 9:30AM. I arrived at a front desk on the western entrance where a wonderfully polite gentleman escorted my daughter and I to a Pre-K and Kindergarten room where I could drop her off. To my surprise, there was no security system in place at all. I just signed her in and was ready to go on my way. I noticed another girl in the room had a white label on her shirt with her name and a Member ID and when I asked why I was not offered this, I was told that it was because they only do this for children who are dropped off for the morning worship.

Despite my worries over this system, I kissed my daughter goodbye and headed down to the worship hall with the same polite gentelman leading me. He advised me of an atrium where I could visit and relax and a gym that he opened daily for the community. I couldn’t help but notice that I was barely able to get through to the worship hall because the people from the previous worship service were still filing out. It was more crowded than many concerts I had been to. I was dropped off at the door and the man went on his way.

The worship hall is large, VERY large, and has a huge balcony as well that I am advised was closed during the contemporary service. I sat near the front and center of the worship hall only about 10 rows back from the pulpit and prepared to enjoy the message. Unfortunately, I could quickly tell that I would need to move as a huge influx of youth began pouring in to fill the pulpit. I have nothing against youth considering I was a youth pastor only 2 weeks prior but I could tell that if I stayed anywhere near where I was then I would be taking up someone’s normal spot so I decided to scoot back further. No big deal, I can still see the pulpit just fine.

Once the music was over, the lead pastor stepped up and re-introduced himself since it has been over 2 months since he was in his pulpit. He then invited everyone to meet and greet each other while the band played. I smiled and began looking around the area I was in to see if I should offer my hand to a nearby person. Yet there was not a soul withing 10 feet of me and no one came to visit me. I feel bad for this, but I have never felt more alone in a crowd then ever. When I do finally reach a home church, I will need to make sure that I greet visitors since they could feel just like I did. After about 5 insufferable minutes, the church sat down and the pastor began to preach.

What was quite surprising to me is that he preached out of the New King James Version. Now, I am a firm believer that the Bible is the Word of God regardless of the version used. However, this is supposed to be a “contemporary” service and even in my original home church, one that considered itself blended, the primary version used was the New International Version. I personally use the HCSB as my primary source because it is written in a colorful, Southern, format that clearly states things without being too bland. I was able to keep up but it is much harder to keep up with such differing versions. Granted, they did post the verses on the overhead display but, to me, if I am not reading the verses with the pastor, then it is not being personally involved.

Regardless of the version involved, I did really enjoy listening to the pastor’s message. It was focusing on the parables of Jesus and paid special attention to the tale of the two men who came to the temple one day. One was dressed richly and was quite knowledgeable in the scriptures and basically said the prayer “God, you should be glad to have me on your side.” The second man was dressed in rags and barely knew how to speak but he prayed “God, I am thankful that you will take me.” The question posed was ‘who was the righteous man?’ and it was a wonderful comparison with people in our modern world. I certainly feel like I have played on both teams in my history. It was a pleasant reminder that I should never think I know enough about God.

Once the message was over, I picked up Mady and we headed home. I relayed the findings to Tiff over lunch at IHOP. We both determined that FBC Moore was not going to be the church for us because it felt too alienating. We will try again next Sunday and see what church we find. I know that God will make it loud and clear where He wants us to stay. We will feel at home in the right church no matter where we go.

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