Visiting Churches

A Contemporary Service (Visiting Church #52, part 2)

There’s a half hour span between the two services. As we wait, we recognize many people, waving “Hi” to some and enjoying meaningful conversation with others. Time passes quickly as we wait for the contemporary service to begin.

The stage is reset, with the orchestra section removed. This gives more room for the contemporary worship team of eight, the same group that concluded the “blended” service thirty minutes ago.

There are three on guitar, a bass guitar, two on keys, a drummer, and a backup vocalist.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

The worship leader doubles as a keyboardist, while two guitarists also have mikes and sing backup. However, the other instrumentalists also sing along with glee. They play three songs, all different from the first service.

Their contemporary sound borders on light rock but lacks the edge I hoped to hear. “Safe” is the best description. Aside from the music, most of the other elements of the service are the same, albeit with some tweaking.

The message is a repeat, too, but ends differently. This time, after a moment for rededication, the pastor leads the congregation in a salvation prayer.

My wife likes this as a nice reminder of our decision to follow Jesus, but I fear people could too easily misunderstand it, assuming they need to “get saved” every week.

The pastor invites people desiring prayer to come forward afterwards to meet with the prayer teams. I so appreciate offering to pray for people, but few churches do this. Why?

The service ends with the worship team leading us in the same song that ended the first service. This time they play with more gusto.

The congregation disperses quickly, and we are among the last to leave, happy for the connections we experienced today with friends and acquaintances.

[Read about Church #52, part 1 or start at the beginning of our journey.]

My wife and I visited a different Christian Church every Sunday for a year. This is our story. Get your copy of 52 Churches today, available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus 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.

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