Monday, March 12, 2007

Our Visit to the Church in Tulsa

Had family in town over the weekend due to my son being in the Tulsa World Satellite Battle of the Band contest at the Cain's Ballroom. His band didn't win, but they had a good time performing and it was a good experience.

So Sunday we went to church with my sister. We know lots of folks who attend this particular church and had been intending to go there to visit on a Sunday. With my folks here it was as good a time as any to go.

Got there before the service began. This church didn't have door greeters, but did have bulletin folks. You'll find as you visit churches that some put people at the doors, some have ushers, some don't, some use men and women and some use just men. It's always fun (to me) to see which set up we'll encounter.

Even though we know lots of people at this church, we didn't find it overly friendly from those we didn't know. Sometimes churches are like that. I don't think they mean to not be friendly as much as they forget to intentionally think of the visitors. You know how it is, you get to visiting with your friends, you think someone else will speak to that person you don't know - maybe even you mean to say something to them and you just don't get out of your conversation soon enough. I'd be curious to hear of your experience as you've visited churches. Friendly? Not friendly?

The service began without fanfare. When done right it's a pretty cool deal. You're sitting there, the crowd is visiting, the lights come up and off you go. I liked it.

The worship in this church was well paced, but mostly geared for a younger crowd. However, even with the "younger" approach to the music (which I'm not complaining about, but rather just observing) it was still done very well - adult style. Everybody on stage was dressed to match with business casual. The worship leader came across very comfortably on stage. They had a keyboard player, electric guitars, bass, drums and the leader on acoustic. I liked the hymn they began with even though it was altered. My parents did not (they're from the Builder Generation). there a good way to handle the diverse crowds you get in church worship? How do you minister to the young folks without alienating the older crowd? And how do you minister to the older crowd without alienating the young crowd? Can this be done? If it can be done, why is it usually not done? Interesting and challenging questions for the church.

This church takes communion every Sunday which is a tradition in our fellowship. I enjoy being in a place that observes communion weekly. That was nice.

Prior to the sermon a young lady sang a special. It was nerve racking because you didn't know if she was going to make it through it. She kept getting a bit off key and off tempo. You'd think, "Oh man, she's off...she's going to run off stage crying. It's gonna be bad!" Then she'd catch back up and keep going. To her credit, she didn't quit. She made it through the song, but it was a rough ride!

The sermon was good with practical application. The message was based on Peter's denial of Christ. I liked how well the preacher tied in our lives today to the situation. I noticed in the bulletin that this preacher has a personal website blog. I thought that was cool. Our preacher has one and I love that you can keep up with him on a personal level through it. Good idea.

Here's something interesting from the message...As an illustration the preacher quoted a newspaper article about two guys who were imitating stupid stunts from a movie. One of the guys got badly burned. The preacher quoted the name of the movie - Jackass and said that the one guy was burned on his genitals. I was a bit taken aback. I don't believe I've ever heard those two particular words spoken from the pulpit...I'm not saying this was bad - just...surprising. What do you think? Appropriate or not?

All in all it was a good service. My only complaint would be that we stood up too long in worship but that is a personal preference and some worship leaders say it's okay to sit down if you don't want to stand up that long.

Question: What's your opinion about standing/sitting in worship?

It was good to see good friends and to catch up with people. Found out a friend and his wife had just returned from India. Some of the "kids" from my old youth group are graduating college and some people I know know another person I know, so that will be fun to discuss that with the person from my own fellowship.

On a personal note I was told that our preacher has had a physical setback and for that I am so very sorry. I know him well and I know how frustrating this will be for him. Please say a prayer for him. He's a great guy with a deep love for the church and the Lord.



Anonymous said...

I was applying to be the youth minister in a medium-sized church 30 min SW of Oklahoma City. My wife and I went to their early one spoke to us or noticed we were there. We went to their donut "SOCIAL" time in the "FELLOWSHIP" hall, and still no one spoke to us or acknowledged our presence. We then went to the second service where once again no one spoke to us, nor did the preacher acknowledge that we were there as potential candidates to lead their children. I am glad he didn't though, because I saw a true representation of how the congregation "welcomed" new families, and knew that we could not be a part of that.

-Patrick Ridenour

and to answer the standing/sitting question. The one thing I will say is that the church can take away much of the problem by making the words more visible (higher projector screen, side tv screens) that way if tall people are in front of you, sitting is still okay.

Keith said...

We stand whenever the Scripture is read from the pulpit (Sunday AM / PM / Wednesday PM). Also, we have responsive reading of Scripture Sunday AM and PM. I enjoy hearing God's people read the Word together.

Screens are high enough you can sit if need be.

Our music isn't that great. I try to focus on my own "personal worship." The music minister's organization, as well as worship leading skills are very lacking. I'm there for the preaching/teaching. Some of the best I've heard.