In Pursuit of Calling May 13, 2014Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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I’m currently in a hotel room in Houston, Texas taking some classes at the Fuller Theological Seminary campus here. I drove in on Sunday, but the journey goes back much farther than that. On the drive here, I passed through a little Louisiana town in the middle of nowhere called Eunice. That’s where the story really begins. I was 15 then, at a youth camp with Roseland Park Baptist Church. There, we were supposed to go into the community and provide “backyard Bible camps” for the children on the area. I was supposed to be on one team going to one area, but was moved to another team at the last minute. I remember being pretty upset about this because there was a cute girl on the team I was originally on. But, lo and behold I got over it and was able to lead two Bible studies to two different groups of kids who were separated because of the vast differences in age (the youngest being 3, the oldest being 20). I distinctly remember the youngest, a girl named Christine, who wore a pink cotton dress and cowboy boots every day. What would happen is, I would lead the Bible study, then another person would come in and ask for responses for salvation to the lesson I taught while I went and did something else. When all was said and done, the adult leader of the group came and told me that 7 of the 20 kids accepted Christ, including the youngest (Christine) and the oldest. A few minutes later Christine came up to me and brought me a cup of kool-aid and gave me a hug. I went back to the dorm we were staying and laid on my bed and cried. Finally, I told God, “If this is what you want me to do, I’ll do it.” It was there I surrendered to my calling.
15 years later, I was on the road to Houston, Texas on the way to a prestigious seminary still in pursuit of that same calling. As I passed through Eunice, the memories flooded my mind. There have been times when I no longer believed in that calling. I have family members and loved ones who also gave up their belief and support in that calling. It’s taking much longer to come to fruition than any of us thought it would, me most of all. Even as I was driving, I was wondering if this was nothing but a waste of time and money. I’ll be in massive debt due to pursuing this calling by going to seminary. Then I passed Eunice. And I remembered. I remembered a little girl in a pink dress with cowboy boots. I remember the taste of the kool-aid and the hug she gave me. I realize that that little girl probably graduated high school this year. I wonder if she has maintained her relationship with Christ, and I wonder if she does, does she think the guy that came to the back yard Bible school and taught her about Jesus and the Armor of God.
I will never know. But, I do know that if she does, I will pursue this calling to the ends of the earth and to the end of time. Because she and others who I may be so lucky as to help in some way, are worth it all.
Thoughts on World Vision and Christian and Biblical Movies March 24, 2014Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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Every now and then Christians on the Internet get a little fired up. Today was one of those days. Two topics, one important and one more trivial, were the cause of the ruckus today.
First, it was the announcement from orphan relief organization World Vision that stated they would now be hiring openly gay Christians who are in openly gay marriages. Depending on which side of the theological aisle you are on, this was cause for great celebration or massive disappointment. Having usually taken my seat squarely in the center aisle, I have some thoughts on this. I understand World Vision President Rich Stearns reasoning for this. In an interview with Christianity Today, he claimed that this was not about “compromise” but “unity.” I get that. Several churches (most of them mainline protestant) have begun accepting, marrying, and even ordaining gay people in their denominations. To allow people in those denominations to be able to be employed in their organization, this was a necessary step. Stearns also stated that he believes it is up to churches to figure out things like doctrine and theology and parachurch organizations to just mobilize those churches for mission. In essence, World Vision is not making a statement on if homosexuality is a sin or not. They are saying if you are apart of a church who does not think it is sin, however, you are welcome to partner with them and their mission. I think this is wise. You can be either for or against homosexuality and still believe that orphans deserve to be fed and taken care of. Moreover, this will create dialogue between World Vision employees who are on both sides of the issue. That is, if those that believe homosexuality is a sin do not withdraw their support from World Vision. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that will happen. Within minutes of the World Vision announcement, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission blogged his disappointment with the decision. He even went so far as to say “We will see who’s a real evangelical now.” I think he was confusing the word “evangelical” with “fundamentalist.” His statement is another sad example of tribalism within Christianity. Moore basically says “You’re either with us or against us.” The mission of taking care of orphans certainly seems secondary to Moore, when looking at the language he uses. Can a true evangelical Christian partner with a gay Christian to take care of orphans, even if they disagree on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality? Moore does not seem to think so, and also seems to think that if you do think you can…well, then you’re not really an evangelical. Common mission is a wonderful catalyst for dialogue. I think Moore encouraged a lot of Christians to partake in either today. I hope many do not withdraw their help from World Vision. The children they are sponsoring need them, and Christians who are for and against homosexuality really need to talk to each other, instead of yell at each other across the internet.
The other hot topic on the Christian internet today is both the Noah movie and the movie, God’s Not Dead. Apparently, there’s quite a bit of creative license taken in the Noah movie, which is to be expected, but some Christians are pissed about it. Rick Warren encouraged Christians not to see it. A personal friend of mine shared a pastor she is close to’s warnings about the movie. When I commented that I would save my judgement until I saw it, she commented “I’ll trust my pastor’s judgement.” That’s a loaded statement, of course. I want my pastors to make me think, not think for me. And it is concerning that several Christians will take their pastors’ (most of whom, have not seen the movie and are just retelling what they have heard) warnings just as seriously. The trouble is that there is a double standard afoot here. A few weeks ago, many of the same pastors who are now blasting the Noah movie for it’s biblical inaccuracies, were encouraging their congregations to buy out theaters to watch the movie Son of God, a movie that is also full of biblical inaccuracies. So what’s the difference? It seems like Son of God was made by, for, and marketed to Christians. Noah was made by an atheist, for a broad audience, and marketed to that same broad audience. I think Christians feel spurned by this, not realizing that the Son of God producers really just want them to spend money on their movie more than they want to reach people for Christ (which they may want too, but if they really was the main concern, why not give the movie away for free? Oh right, they already did that because it was shown on cable the year before as apart of the “Bible” miniseries. That was popular…so why not monetize it?) The thing is, the Noah movie has a big budget, a prominent director, and an award winning actor. More nonbelievers will see this movie than any of the other biblical or Christian movies out there. And guess what? They will then talk about the source material. I don’t know if the Noah movie will be any good or not. And I’m sure there will be parts of it that I’ll have problems with, but if Christians don’t see it, who will the nonbelievers talk about the real story about? Christians could miss out on a great opportunity if they skip this one and choose to see God’s Not Dead instead. Many Christians are saying they are doing this very thing. God’s Not Dead is the other Christian movie out right now. The previews looked like the typical cheesy Christian fare to me, but several people seemed intrigued. I have not seen it, and just like Noah, I will reserve judgment until I do. But, I did see a review from the A.V. Club (the serious/legit branch of satirical webzine the Onion) that claimed it was horrible even for Christian movies. This was after it came in at a surprising number 5 at the box office over the weekend and several Facebook friends were singing it’s praises. That provides another of my points. The only people who will really enjoy a movie like God’s Not Dead are already people who accept it’s premise. It’s another movie made by Christians, for Christians, and marketed to Christians. Serious movie critics and nonbelievers will only see a poorly acted, poorly written, glorified church drama that made it’s way to the big screen. Worse than that, as the reviewer in the A.V. Club noted, it reinforces the negative stereotypes that Christians fight today. i will probably see God’s Not Dead one day, but I will definitely see Noah before it. I will save my official reviews after I see both.
Working on the Road to Grace March 23, 2014Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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I read once (I believe in Jon Acuff’s Quitter) that suicides happen more frequently on Sunday nights than any other night of the week because people literally would rather die than go back into work on Monday morning. This goes beyond not enjoying your job. Millions of people don’t like their jobs and don’t have to consider whether they want to live or continue to work at the same place. These dark actions and thoughts only come when the job has become damaging to your soul. It’s what happens when the place of work becomes a prison that you could walk out of at any time, but the only lock keeping you inside is your need to survive.
And this is where the problem lives. Some of our jobs do not help us live as much as they help us survive, and when all you are doing is surviving…existing…, life starts to lose it’s appeal. One of my favorite television shows, The Walking Dead, is fundamentally about survival and the moral ramifications of surviving when all life is about is surviving. People are not the same when the whole purpose of each day is to try and get to the next one. They kill others without remorse, join forces with disreputable people, and do whatever they have to do to ensure that they will see one more sunrise. Those that do not do these things, it is understood, have no other option but death. To survive, one must forsake their own humanity, because humanity is a death sentence. The underlying question on The Walking Dead is this: Is it better to lose your humanity to survive, or keep it and die? To the people in the real world, to those who have dark thoughts on Sunday nights because they have a job that steals their humanity, this is the same question they wrestle with.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey is fond of saying something on the lines of “Do something you love for a living and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I believe this to be true (even though there will be bad days even if you are working your dream job), but it is not so easy to attain. What some people are really passionate about is not easily monetized. Others have passions that are but they lack the business acumen or people skills to transition it into a sustainable form of income. Then there are people like me. People who are called to vocational ministry have enough questions to answer to begin with (just read the blogs of people who scoff at what they call “professional Christians”). Should being a pastor even be a paid position? If it is, how much money is too much to pay them? What’s too little? How should they be held accountable financially? How are they supposed to tithe? All are valid questions that should be discussed in the Church. But, when one feels called to vocational ministry, these questions are secondary when one cannot find a job in vocational ministry. Since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion five years ago, I have had exactly two interviews with churches. Last year, I decided to start pursuing my Master’s Degree in Theology & Ministry from a prominent seminary because I felt like life had become stagnant and maybe furthering my education would appeal to more churches. As much as this may be true, it does not stall the daily soul-sucking grind of my 9 to 5 (7:30 to 5:30 to be accurate). I go to work miserable and come home miserable and tired. Perhaps, it would be beneficial to just get a different 9 to 5, but the problems I would leave would eventually follow me there. I would still be working to survive and not living.
I don’t know the answer to this plight, other than stepping into my calling and doing the work that I believe I was made to do. I don’t know when this will happen. But, I do think waiting for the right job is akin to waiting for the right mate. We must work on being the right person before we can worry about finding the right one. This becomes even more difficult when the job we are working shortens our patience, frustrates our emotions, and tires our bodies. When it comes to this, I have found solace in the fact that nobody looks superhuman on the road to grace. We are all stumbling, bumbling fools that eventually collapse into the grace that has been pursuing us all along. As I falter along the path towards this grace, my hope is I will stagger into the place of employment that God has specifically appointed for me, where I can find the most fulfillment, bring help to the most people, and more than anything bring Him the most glory. So tonight, I will go to sleep, with tears in my eyes and a prayer on lips, and get up in the morning and go to work at the job I hate, believing in my heart that this job is just a speed bump on the road to grace.
The Strange Ire of John MacArthur October 16, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
Tags: charismatic theology, John Macarthur, Matt Chandler, reformed theology, strange fire, Tim Challies
If you follow American Christianity at all, chances are you have heard of John MacArthur. He has been acclaimed as one of the best Bible teachers in the world. He is a member of the Reformed theology tradition and is a staunch cessationist, meaning he believes certain spiritual gifts (namely: tongues, miraculous healing, prophecy, etc.) ceased with the completion of the Bible. In MacArthur’s view, the Bible is God’s perfect gift to us and we no longer need those more miraculous spiritual gifts. That brings us to today’s post. As I write MacArthur is currently hosting the Strange Fire conference; a conference all about dismantling the continuationist or charismatic view of spiritual gifts (the view that the gifts spoken of in the Bible still do happen today).
I have a problem with MacArthur’s view and his conference. Mainly, I find it in high error for MacArthur to attack the millions of believers who hold to charismatic theology. From MacArthur’s own research, there are 500,000,000 Christians who hold to charismatic theology. It is one thing to disagree, that is fine and I’d argue that disagreement can even be healthy when done in peaceful dialogue with those whom you are in disagreement. But, MacArthur does not do that. In fact, MacArthur claims that when events happen that charismatics attribute to the Holy Spirit, it is actually Satan that is behind them. This claim is sickening. MacArthur basically accuses 500,000,000 of his brothers and sisters of devil worship. The troubling part of this is that this is exactly what the Pharisees accused Jesus of doing in Matthew 12:24. MacArthur has unwittingly sided with the Pharisees against Jesus.
Another problem for MacArthur is that he touts Reformed theology as true “biblical” theology, and contrasts it with charismatic theology. But, there are many believers who adhere to both charismatic and Reformed theology. One of the most renowned reformed theologians in the world is Wayne Grudem. Grudem’s massive Systematic Theology textbook is required reading in many seminaries. Grudem also happens to be a charismatic. I’d be interested to hear the dialogue between these two. But, the “Reformed Charismatic” label doesn’t stop with Grudem. Prominent reformed pastors like Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Joshua Harris, and John Piper also hold to charismatic theology. For MacArthur to put Reformed theology and charismatic theology at odds is completely unnecessary and misleading.
I don’t want to mislead anyone either. There are times when certain charismatic believers have gone too far. The charismatics who use theatrics and the charlatans who have used their “gifts” to turn a profit need to be rebuked and corrected. But, these that pervade Christian television are not the true example of charismatic Christianity. MacArthur is right about one thing, discernment is needed to see when people are truly acting in the power of the Holy Spirit and when they are making a mockery of the power of the Holy Spirit. True followers of Jesus who believe in and pursue the gifts of the Spirit have so much to offer the Church. It is shameful, arrogant, and sickening to claim that charismatic Christians are operating under Satan. As Matt Chandler said in regards to his view of charismatic theology, “I have never read anything in the Scriptures where the devil was in the business of converting hearts to Jesus Christ.”
*The references to what John MacArthur said have come from Tim Challies blog where he is live blogging the Strange Fire Conference. You can follow his updates at http://www.challies.com
**You can see an interview with Matt Chandler on being a reformed charismatic here
***You can see two interviews with John Piper talking about his charismatic views here
Left and Forsaken September 6, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
It’s been quite a past few weeks in my life.
I am now in the early stages of recovering from major knee surgery. I also have taken on massive amounts of debt in order to pursue my dream/calling by enrolling as a graduate student at Fuller Theological Seminary. Whoa.
I am both excited and overwhelmed. Thrilled and terrified.
As if those events are not emotional enough, I’ve had a hard couple of weeks relationally. About two months ago, I became close and emotionally attached to someone. We had great, daily, day-long conversations. We would argue sometimes because we were different, but I cared for her and I think it’s safe to say that she cared for me.
This week, she told me she thought it was best that we parted ways. The emotions were too heavy, I guess.
The problem with that is that I have never been good with people. I usually don’t like them and they often feel the same about me. So, it’s hard to meet someone who I both like and am liked by, only to have them walk away because of the heaviness of emotions, even if it might be “unhealthy” to continue the relationship.
This is compounded by some unpopular posts I’ve made in a online community I’m apart of. Originally, I was happy to be apart of that community because I felt loved and safe to share who I really am. The honeymoon period has worn off for me, I guess, because I rarely feel loved or safe there anymore. When you are a jerk, people care less about you being authentic and more about you not being such a jerk, it seems. I don’t take criticism or rebukes very well, unless it’s from people who have known me for a long time and proven that even my nastiest side won’t scare them away. When I am criticized by people who I haven’t known very long, or who I feel don’t know me very well, I lash out. I become cynical and say things with the intent to retaliate and cause pain as I have been caused pain. When I see other’s happy and loved I get jealous and angry and try to rain on people’s parades. Part of me says that I’m just speaking truth that they can’t see because they are wearing rose colored glasses (and I still think this is partly true), but when I see the pain I’ve caused, it’s too late to repair the damage. People flee from me like they flee from New Orleans during a hurricane. And I can’t blame them. Even when I’m offered forgiveness, it’s clear that the dynamics of the relationship have changed. Is there truly a way to get that back? Do I even want it back? Or is there a perverse part of me that would rather be lonely and hurting as long as it means that I am right?
It’s no secret that I’m awkward. Just look at the title of the blog. I’m starting to wonder if the cause of my lack of friends and successful relationships goes deeper than simple awkwardness though.
I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do.
My only option is to cast my cares upon Him, for He cares about me. And he cares for you too. Let’s not forget that. He cares for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes it feels too little. But, if we knew the reality of his love for us, we would be overwhelmed with the depths of his friendship…and the fact that he likes us as people. That’s enough for me.
Surgery of the Soul August 22, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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“I volunteer for your sanctifying surgery. I know the Spirit’s purging me of everything that’s hurting me.” – Lecrae
Today I have knee surgery. Other than having my tonsils removed when I was a little boy, this will be the first time I’ve been put under. I’m more nervous about the recovery than the operation. I know I won’t feel anything in the operation but I will surely feel plenty in the recovery.
I tore my ACL exactly two months ago when I came off some stairs the wrong way at work. It hurt really bad then and for about a week after it happened. Since then it’s been sore but mostly, I can live with it. It’s interesting that the process to fix what’s wrong with me is probably going to be more painful than any pain I’ve experienced from the actual problem. I guess that’s the way healing works. To be truly whole sometimes we have to endure some pain.
Human beings are fundamentally broken. I don’t think anyone can argue that. To fix our brokenness Jesus was tortured and crucified. He experienced the pain that we needed to endure to bring us healing. By his wounds we are healed.
That doesn’t mean we get off pain free, however. Sanctification can be a painful process. Coming face to face with our own depravity is never a joyful occasion. But, as the Lord continues our healing through the process of sanctification that often what has to happen. Our sin hurts us and hurts others, and when the Holy Spirit convicts us of that, he’s like the surgeon showing us the MRI results of a shredded ACL. It can be overwhelming. But, then as the Holy Spirit removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh, like the surgeon who will replace my ACL today, the healing begins. Then as we go and ask forgiveness from the ones we’ve hurt, it’s like physical therapy, the most painful part of the healing process but the most necessary if we want to be truly whole.
Our entire lives in the spirit are like a surgery. There is pain, but there is also healing. And one day, it will be as if we are brand new. My prayer is that we not give in to the pain, but we press on to the healing.
Tired of Longing July 17, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
I’ve been tired for a long time, I guess.
Though sometimes I feel like I have no good reason for being tired. I suffer from chronic laziness.
But, there’s only so many times you can take feeling like you’re moving forward only to be catapulted backwards.
I’m tired of girls being affectionate one day and then disappearing the next.
I’m tired of struggling to get an interview with a better job only to be told I’m not experienced, skilled, or just plain good enough. If I’m told anything at all, of course.
I’m tired of being told I’m argumentative when I’m only standing up for what I feel is right and truth.
I’m tired of knowing that sometimes I am the only one to blame for my low satisfaction with life.
I’ve recently met a group of friends that accept and encourage and support and love me like no group I’ve ever had. The only problem is that my interactions with them are entirely through screens.
For those familiar with the “5 Love Languages” I’m definitely a physical touch guy. This is not necessarily erotic touch. I appreciate a slap on the back from a guy almost as much as I do a caress from a woman (in different ways, of course, but they both make me feel good.)
This way of needing a close hug, squeeze of the hand, or even a playful punch in the arm makes it hard being away from people whom you love.
I long to feel the touch of Jesus. Not in a spiritual way, but in a physical way. I daydreamed earlier today about just walking around a lake with him. Our arms around each other’s shoulders, laughing and enjoying one another’s company. I need this. I ache for this. If not from Jesus, then from someone else who loves me strongly.
I want to end this post in some tidy, poetic, inspirational way.
But, I’m tired.
The Fragility of Friendship June 23, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
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Earlier this week, I sent out a tweet that said, why do we push away those that like us, and chase after those that don’t?
I’m not sure if that tweet is always true, but sometimes it feels that way in my life. I do know in most of my relationships, both romantic and platonic, it seems that the ones that really seem excited when I call or text are the same ones that I roll my eyes at when I see their names pop up on my iPhone. It also seems like the ones that I really want to talk to often reply with the one word replies that we all despise. It’s a paradox of pain.
Recently, a friend whom I adore posted a picture on Instagram of her new hairstyle. I commented about how much I loved it. A few minutes later, someone else commented on it about how good they thought it looked. My friend responded to their comment with a hearty “Thank you!!” but did not say anything to my comment. Is it wrong of me to be hurt by that? I feel like it’s petty for something like that to upset me, but I can’t deny that it does either.
At the same time, I wonder how many times I have ignored those that have reached out to me. Or given the “lol” or “k” replies to those that are just bored and lonely and want to talk to me. As an introvert, it is common to have a few close friends than many. But, I wonder how many more I could have if I would try to take some of the love, concern, and care I give to those who don’t reciprocate in similar fashions (at least not as often as I do), and give them to the people to sincerely like me instead.
Love is both choice and compulsion. Our hearts are geared to care about some people more than others. But, at the same time some relationships aren’t healthy and we must to choose to rein in our hearts. This does not mean we must cut out some people out of our lives completely (though it may), but we must at least protect ourselves from experiencing unnecessary pain due to our own emotions. Friendships are fragile. They must be taken care of. But, so are our own hearts. Sometimes, we must give both, our friendships and our hearts, to the Creator of both and let Him do the caring.
The Rumors of His Demise… June 6, 2013Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
Tags: blogging, Christianity, fear, laziness, risk, seminary, work, writing
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Long time, no blog. I wish I could have a good excuse for you. I got married and had a family and moved to Orlando to work as an Imagineer. Joined the Peace Corps. Went on a worldwide adventure with Bob Goff. But, while those would be awesome. None are true.
The real reason I have been MIA is not because I have been so busy. It’s not even that I’ve had nothing to say. I admit, at times I didn’t see the point in blogging about what I wanted to blog about when so many others can say what I want to say in a much more eloquent way. But, in all honesty, the biggest reason I haven’t blogged in over a year is the thorn in my side I’ve had ever since I was a boy.
I never have liked work. Which isn’t the awful thing to say, I realize. Most people don’t like work and just do it because we have to. The strange thing is, blogging is a type of work I enjoy. It re-freshens and rejuvenates me. But, some times I just wanna watch TV or stare at the wall. It’s particularly hard to write when feeling depressed or tired, as I have been for much of the past year. The day to day job I work really is slowly sucking the life out of me. Plus, I’ve had a few failed attempts of wooing a woman or two that haven’t set well with me, combined with not getting a couple of jobs I really wanted has led to a feeling of being drained all the time. These are all reasons I should have been writing. But, after being in such a funk for such a long time, eventually you learn to live with it and become comfortable enough where you don’t want to exit it. That’s me.
I’ve always written for myself, first of all. When people say they enjoy my writing or it’s helped them in some way, that’s great. I praise God for that. But, the truth is before it helped anyone else it helped me first. My most popular post, The Truth About Being a Socially Awkward Christian, helped me to reveal what really goes on inside my head in social situations, as well as figure out how to deal with them. The fact that I still get comments on that post that I wrote almost three years ago speaks volumes to how much healing God can do when we are really just open and honest about our own demons.
Such is the reason for this post. As I have said, I’ve been in a extremely low point lately. If God really uses my writing to bring healing to myself and to others, then I have no excuse but to write.The thing about laziness is that the only cure for it is the one thing that it hates: work. It’s like the cure for being greedy is to start giving. But, I don’t think any work cures laziness. In fact, if all the work we do is work we hate, I think that makes us lazy in the work we love. So we have to fill our free time with more work, the kind of work that refills us rather than drains us. I applied to another seminary. The seminary I wish I had gone to 9 years ago instead of the college I did. It’s scary because it involves doing more work than I have in awhile, not to mention it could bring with it a lot of debt. But, when a cancers like laziness and depression start eating at your soul, the worst thing you can do is just sit there and die. Risk is apart of life, especially a Christian’s life. And you don’t risk anything by being scared and lazy.
Here’s hoping I’ll see you soon here on this blog. I’m going to try and work to not be away for so long again. Thank you to everyone who reads this for your support.
Visiting a New Church April 2, 2012Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
I visited Church of the King in Mandeville, LA yesterday. I like to occasionally visit other churches just as a change of pace and to see of God might be leading me somewhere new or saying something different. Every time I visit a new church alone I’m stared in the face at how hard it must be to be a single, even more so a single introvert, and searching for a church home. Priority is definitely given to families in southern church culture. Not that the welcome staff at Church of the King was cold to me, it was just pretty clear that they’re not used to many single people walking through the doors alone.
I explored the campus a little bit and was overwhelmed by how nice it was. It wasn’t anything so fancy that made me think they were being over extravagant, but it was a definite step up over my current church home where function is valued over aesthetics.
I seated myself in the second to last row in the back of the sanctuary, which was not as big as I expected. I guess it seated about as many as my church, which seats 1000, but it wasn’t nearly as roomy which made me feel a tad claustrophobic. Especially as it filled to near capacity.
Sitting in the back proved to be a bad decision, as the typically late arriving crowd were constantly being ushered to open seats up to 30 minutes in the service. I found myself being distracted from the worship time by the ushers incessantly communicating with each other about where to guide the late worshippers. In fact, this really started to aggravate me and I started wishing I had picked a less inconspicuous seat closer to the front so I wouldn’t notice this commotion. However, it was interesting being at a church where ushers actually, well, ushered.
This brings up another point. I found the service to be so organized and smooth that it felt almost corporate. The video announcements, for instance, two attractive young people with big smiles trading off reminders of upcoming events. Compare that to my church home’s video announcements featuring reminders that are laced with humor sometimes bordering on the sophomoric side, made me feel somewhat like a redneck seeing New York City for the first time: liking it better where I come from, but not being able to shake the feeling that this place was a higher class than me.
Church of the King was the first true multisite campus I’ve ever attended and the comparisons to lifechurch.tv, a multisite ministry that I enjoy being apart of online, were very evident. I’m willing to bet money that CotK uses lifechurch.tv’s resources and probably uses them as a model which is not a bad thing at all.
Aside from feeling slightly out of place, I enjoyed the service. I found the pastor’s sermon style very engaging and a nice change of pace from the style I usually hear. Even if the message was on the end times and I didn’t agree with everything that the pastor taught, I still feel like I learned something.
Overall, the whole visit was an interesting experience. I’m not sure if I could be comfortable calling Church of the King my home, but I do know I would like to visit again soon.
When’s the last time you visited a different church? What was your experience like? What were the positives and the negatives?