Today is a doubleheader: a traditional service followed by a contemporary one. Aside from an older crowd, there’s little to suggest a traditional service is about to occur.
Everything gives off a progressive vibe, from the informal space, to the padded chairs, to round tables in the back and large screen up front, to the array of musical instruments.
Accompanied by piano, keyboard, and trumpet, our worship leader stands behind the pulpit, keeping time with his hands. We sing old hymns with the words displayed overhead; there are no hymnals. Interspersed among the songs are announcements, a prayer, an offering, and a video testimony, foreshadowing the sermon.
Between services is a pastor’s breakfast for guests. We enjoy Belgium waffles, sausage, fruit, coffee, and juice. Besides us, there’s another couple, and the pastor and his wife, with two members serving as our hosts.
After getting to know us and sharing the church’s vision, the pastor excuses himself for the next service. I’d like to talk more with the other visitors, but if we do, we’ll miss the contemporary service.
Aside from different songs and instruments, other contrasts exist as well. The first service was brightly lit, whereas this one uses only indirect and natural light. The stage was rearranged and the pulpit, removed.
An hour ago everyone was our age or older. Now we are among the eldest. We see families and young kids, but aside from the worship team, not many youth. The first service crowd was friendlier, whereas now there’s less interaction.
Today we experienced a traditional service that wasn’t as formal as we expected and a contemporary service that was not as outgoing as we anticipated, but overall we worshiped God and experienced community.
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.