Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What are the reasons that you go to a particular church?

Travis and I went to Michigan for the weekend. We reunited with old friends and went off-roading all day Saturday. The off-roading park was nearly entirely made up of sand dunes and it was a blast impressing Travis with my off-roading "skills." If you were there you know that Test Hill is huge and I took it. Travis even encouraged me to SLOW DOWN. If you know Travis, you know that those words are rarely considered a part of his vocabulary and in a place with little rules regarding one's automotive conduct, I was shocked. Is my husband rubbing off on me? :)

Jordan and Jessica invited us to join them at their church service the next day. We attended Riverview Church, an exciting place to be on Sunday morning with its ultra-contemporary worship service, the vision and aroma of multiple flavored coffees in the foyer, and the hip crowd it drew. If you're interested, http://eriv.net

I had forgotten what it was like to worship with a large group of people, most of whom were younger than age 35. I got the impression that no one tells their bass player or drummer to take it down a notch. It was extremely different from our usual quiet Sunday experience of hymns/praise songs, the doxology, the Lord's prayer, and a service filled with and geared for elderly men and women. The pastor at Riverview appeared on the stage wearing roughed up denim pants, cool kicks, and an American Eagle shirt, with the sort of mic that pop bands use so that their hands will be available to dance up a storm. The message delivered concerned the needs of a man and a woman in a marriage relationship, based on various scripture including Adam and Eve in Old Testament times. He was a dynamic speaker, who never failed to keep my attention. The topic was extremely relevant to our hearts, and, obviously, spoke directly to our current circumstance.

There are few, if any, differences in the doctrine of these two churches. It is quite fascinating that the two experiences can appear so different.

What are the reasons that you go to a particular church? What are the important qualities you look for?


Jim Purcell said...

I love big churches and great worship, I love small churches and the great friends you make. Doctrine is the first thing I look at for sure, geography the second, it's hard to get motivated to go to church a lot when it takes for ever to get there. After that, are the people wanting to follow God, no matter the cost, or are they just playing church!

-Dave said...

I've found that my priorities have shifted recently in this area. Once upon a time, I'd have answered sound teaching and good worship.

But I want to be a part of a church that is living the life of Christ outseide its own walls. A church that engages the culture around it, not by copying it and then asking them to come in, but by going out and being in the world.

A church that explicitly pushes me to love the world. A church that values authenticity more than numbers, and backs tht up by its actions.

A church where I can build relationships with other Christians, but also one that is more concerned with inviting strangers in than maintaining its comfortable group.

A church united in purpose, but diverse in application. WA church with Democrats, Republicans, and people who couldn't care less about politics.

A church where an open homosexual could come in, and feel loved by te people there, even if they don't approve of his lifestyle.

A church where to feign righteousness is a wose crime than transgressing someone's pet taboo.

I want a church where I see the love of Christ for a dying world echoed in the pastor, the events, the congregation... in everything.

I could care less (but it would be hard) what sort of music or teaching there is. I'd probably be okay if there was none, more often than not.

Travis and Michelle said...
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Travis and Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing. It is amazing to know that God touches lives, though we may flock to different corners of our cities or towns worshipping with a group of people in a variety of ways. But in the end, hopefully, we are all just running the race together as God's people.