One of the most exciting parts of itineration is seeing the diversity among all the of the churches we visit. We’ve seen many cultures within the walls of the church, unhealthy worship and music that spans generations and styles. Even more interesting is where we’ve seen all of this happening.
We’ve been in some churches that are very large with coffee stands in the foyer, look stadium seating and state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. We’ve been in churches that remind me of the church I grew up in, a “traditional” style church, with the piano and organ on stage, pews and the same communion table that says “This do till He comes.” We’ve seen some that are just like the church where my grandparents pastor – smaller in size but big in the way of a “church family” atmosphere. Someone told me recently that I should start a blog to chronicle the many churches and people we have encountered along the way. There would definitely be some moving experiences but there would also be a lot of funny stories to share and many instances where a song, a circumstance or a person instantly transports our minds to a childhood memory. (I’ve even actually run into my childhood Sunday School teachers along the way!) I’m getting off track…
One of the coolest things we’ve seen outside of all of the actual church buildings are innovative places where people are creating church. We’ve visited churches in elementary schools, middle schools, community centers, the Country Inn and Suites!! It’s so amazing to see people who just want to worship God – no matter where that happens to be. That is not to say anything against congregations who meet in an actual church building, I’m just so impressed by the dedication it takes for pastors and their teams to show up with their trucks, cars or trailers and every Sunday completely set up chairs, audio, visual, instruments, make-shift nurseries, etc…everything they need to have church. There’s something so cool about worshipping in a place where you know the next day it will be filled with children or people in the community who don’t have a relationship with Christ. They may not realize where they are entering, but they are stepping into buildings where the Holy Spirit has been invited, where prayers were lifted up for them. I love thinking about the people unknowingly walking into the presence of God. It makes me wonder what kind of a difference it makes. I know they’re all just buildings but I still believe it makes an impact.
In a few weeks we’ll be visiting a church that meets in a movie theater. Awesome! I can’t wait to see what that’s like! One day all of these churches will probably have their own building and that will give them a chance to create more time for services and specific ministries for youth, etc. but I’m glad we are able to witness how amazing church is wherever it may be!