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Visiting a New Church April 2, 2012

Posted 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?

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