Last night, I visited a local church (it was my second time visiting). As I looked around, I thought about all the ways this church (and most churches) differ from the definition of church I grew up with. Here are just ten (of numerous) things I saw/heard at last night’s church service, that I would have never seen/heard at the FOC:
- A worship band – with electric guitars, loud drums, and women in the worship band.
- A wooden cross hanging on the wall – topped by a crown of thorns.
- Worshippers spontaneously standing and lifting their arms to the Lord in praise and adoration.
- Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans.
- Someone leading the congregation in prayer (praying aloud).
- Congregants with their Bibles open (following along with the sermon).
- People taking notes on the sermon.
- A sermon.
- People warmly greeting strangers.
The list can go on endlessly – I didn’t even mention the presence of pastors (seven of them!). Or that one of the associate pastors, who was wearing shorts at church, had a friendly discussion with me about politics. That’s not something that would’ve ever happened at the FOC (a male leader taking the time to discuss politics with an unknown female visitor).
The point of this comparison is not to say one is better than the other – more to discuss the shock that can occur when you only know one definition for a cultural phenomenon (church) and later discover that the overwhelming majority of the Christian culture has a completely different characterization of that same term (church). This was an accepting and positive experience. I didn’t feel judged. I received hugs from a few strangers. They were eager to welcome a new friend into the fold. Imagine.
Dear Readers: I am busy this season with the care of my family, so I will only be able to blog weekly. Enjoy your summer and please check back every Sunday for a new post.