Totally disengaged from the planning of a Sunday experience, I attended two.
After I slept until 8:30. On a Sunday!!! Woo hoo!!!!!
We headed first to Hope Church on Patterson Avenue in Richmond. I was excited to walk in and see a) a fiddle player and b) a banjo player on the front line of the musicians. Balanced with two electric guitars, bass, drums and keys, it was a great lineup.
It was a simple service. The vibe of the entire place was terrific - the "official" greeters were well-balanced, but the "regular folks" in the hallway were most impressive. When we walked up to the coffee bar (some of the best coffee in Richmond, by the way! Very impressive for church coffee!) and responded to the "Free Cup of Coffee for Our Guests!", people responded to us with gentle introductions and smiling faces. The building itself - the architecture, the decor, the colors - was really impressive and very, very comfortable.
Loved the music, the intimate feel of the room, the relational vibe of the teaching pastor, the media, the program. We were led - quite comfortably - to the communion table, and it became a very holy moment for us.
Had a chance to chat with the pastor afterwards; walking out, I had a novel thought: If I wasn't at PCC, I'd go here. It just felt that good.
We scooted back to PCC to catch the second service, and had another terrific experience. I was very disengaged this week, so much of the service was fresh for me. The band was great, the production values were excellent - lighting, media, sound. The message was striking. It occured to me that from my perspective this morning, I got it. No wonder people keep coming back to this church. Brian's message - on a very difficult topic - was so undergirded with sensitivity and honesty and openness, without any churchy answers or platitudes. The invitation that never came was implicit - you can trust us. We get it. We'll walk with you.
I was proud of my friends, the people I serve with day in and day out. But I was thrilled to get a glimpse of how my church is functioning in the kingdom.
And now, back to real life.