The New Church in Town (Visiting Church #7)
Sunday we visited a newer church. Their website says “multi-generational contemporary worship service”—and it is. They’re also non-denominational “because God has called all believers to unity.” I like that.
We walk in and people are informally mingling; several introduce themselves. Of all the churches we’ve visited so far, this is the most effective at pre-service interaction.
The sanctuary is a simple rectangular room that seats 55, but I only count 24 present. I forget it’s Memorial Day weekend. There are no pews but comfortable chairs instead. They say attendance is often near capacity and on Easter they maxed out. Soon they’ll move to a different facility, much nicer and more inviting; it’ll seat 160 and they’re confident they’ll soon fill it.
Three ladies lead us in singing modern praise songs. Instead of instrumentation, they use accompaniment tracks. They don’t have songbooks but display the words on a flat-screen monitor.
The pastor is in week two of a series. Last Sunday was about God’s sovereignty; today is about God’s providence. He boldly delves into some tough questions about these subjects.
Afterwards, he tells me most members are younger in their faith; they’ve come without any church baggage and are eager to learn. Since they don’t know how they’re “supposed” to behave in church, there aren’t any bad habits to overcome. This explains the informal nature of the service, the socializing beforehand, and their arriving without Bibles. Their eagerness to learn is why he goes deep in his teaching.
Although the church is expanding numerically, their leader is more pleased with their deep spiritual growth. As is often the case, it’s new churches, and not the established ones, where people discover God and grow into a vibrant faith. Newer is often better.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.