Church Experience #6 – February 6, 2011
No More Sporting Goods
In selecting a church to visit this week I had to take into account that it was Super Bowl Sunday…so naturally I chose Metropolitan Tabernacle (a.k.a. Metro Tab), because it is in a building that began as a sporting goods store. I was interested to see how this former retail big box store was transitioned into a church on the inside, and what type of church service was held there. I was assuming that it would be a pretty large congregation, because the building with its colorful banners on the side are highly visible from Highway 153, which is high traffic and prime real estate for advertising. I guess the only reason the sporting goods store didn’t make it is because of the lack of other supporting retail stores on that particular exit, which is mainly a residential area and much better suited for a church. After parking the car and stepping out to hold my wife Laura’s hand, I noticed a gentleman immediately zero in on us and begin to head our way. Apparently this church takes greeting people a step further than most and instead of waiting until you get to the door, they have greeters roaming the parking lot. I have to say it was very nice to be approached and greeted with a handshake and a warm smile so promptly, and I would imagine these people are also there to give assistance to elderly or to help people find parking spaces once it begins to fill up. The other thing I like about greeter programs is that in addition to providing a service for the congregation, it also gives people the opportunity to serve, which I’m sure makes them feel good about contributing something and giving back to their church. We headed on up to the entrance and were again greeted, this time by the traditional front door greeters, who handed us a bulletin with a smile and welcomed us inside. The lobby was wide open and very spacious, with various “stations” set up with tables and attendants with information for different programs. There was a coffee shop area off to the side, which I didn’t visit because I had just been to Dunkin’ Donuts and brought my own <insert smile here> so I browsed through each station to see what they were about. The first table I came to had the general information about the church for visitors, so I picked up a few printed materials and moved on to another station that particularly caught my attention. The reason for my interest was that I stumbled on what may be the 2nd best small group signup program that I’ve ever seen (take note church administrators). A few long banquet tables were lined with clipboard signup sheets just below plexi sign holders with each one displaying an information sheet containing the small group name, topic, location, description, and the name and photo of the leader(s).