Church Experience #31 – August 14, 2011
ChristWay Community Church – Ooltewah, TN
A Gang of Six
For about the past two or three months we have been attempting to visit ChristWay Community Church in Ooltewah. The problem with visiting this church is that we have multiple friends who we have been trying to coordinate with so that we can all attend on the same Sunday. We all know how easy it is to coordinate multiple families’ schedules to be at the same place at the same time during the summer with vacations, weddings, some having to work on weekends, and other obligations…it is about as easy as herding cats. So eventually we just gave up and decided that this would be the week we visited there (otherwise we may have never made it) and whoever else could attend with us would just be a bonus. Our friend Michael had just worked a 24-hour shift and was getting off work at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, so unfortunately he was out, but his wife Shannon and their two children, Lydia (4) and Eli (2), were able to make it, as was our friend Carol. We agreed to go to the early service, which began at 9 a.m. (better for the kids), and so we all planned on meeting up before the service so that we could sit together. Two weeks ago we had brought a guest with us to Rock Point Community Church, and we have visited a few churches where we had either been invited by or knew people who attended there, but I believe that this was the first week where we were meeting up with other first-time visitors to a church. I am all for any change of routine in my church visits, so I was excited that this week would have some extra dimension to it and some new “characters” for the ChurchSurfer blog. Instead of just me and Laura, there would be a gang of six first time visitors descending upon the unsuspecting souls of ChristWay Community Church, so this should really put them to the test. Here’s how it went… Read more...
Church Experience #29 – July 24, 2011
Silverdale Baptist Church – Chattanooga, TN
Last Minute Directions
For the most part, throughout my 28 church experiences so far in 2011, I have had little trouble picking a new church to visit each week. I have talked in previous articles about my process for picking churches, which I would basically describe as listening for “clues” or direction from the Spirit, while at the same time being intentional about selecting churches of different denominations, size, and demographics for the sake of providing better content for the ChurchSurfer blog and a better opportunity for me and Laura to grow from a wide range of experiences. There are roughly one-thousand churches in greater Chattanooga, so the pool of potential options is certainly not limited, but for some reason I was struggling a little bit this week with making a final selection. There were a couple of churches that I had in mind, but they just did not “feel” right as it came down to time to commit to one. So around midnight on Saturday night I did what any reasonable husband would do in a time of crisis…ask his wife for help. Apparently Laura did not get the memo that explained how strategic and complicated selecting a ChurchSurfer church should be, because she thought for only a minute or two and then matter-of-factly stated, “I’d like to go to Silverdale Baptist”. The nerve! Of course I second guessed her. I started throwing other potential candidates out there (yes, the same ones that did not feel right to me in the first place) trying to make her waver and realize she did not go through the correct selection process. She simply responded that the decision was ultimately up to me, but I was the one who had asked her for help. OK…ya got me there. So I somewhat reluctantly agreed that Silverdale Baptist would be the church we visited this week, and I continued to second guess that decision even on Sunday morning as we headed out for church. Read more...