Further thoughts on churches we’ve visited since the first of the year…
Through the first four months of this year, we’ve visited all kinds of churches. We have come away with a deeper appreciation and love for the Body of Christ and how it is expressed in so many ways.
A Vineyard church in NE Minneapolis is growing and it is always to be in a place where they are so invested in their community.
We worshiped in an intimate setting for Ash Wednesday. It was great being with friends I’ve known during my ministry in Columbia Heights. The worship was in the afternoon in their smaller chapel. What a great way to enter into Lent.
One of our neighbors invited us to their church and it is another place heavily invested in their neighborhood. They do wonderful programs to reach out to the homeless, including housing during the coldest days of winter. (Not to mention they have an older sanctuary this is such a beautiful place to enter into Sunday worship!) They share the space with other churches so the building gets fuller use on a constant basis.
Another neighbor attends a neighborhood Orthodox Church, so we visited with her one Sunday as well. The beauty of the sanctuary there is also amazing.
A few years ago we had visited an A.M.E. church in North Minneapolis, so we returned there for a Palm Sunday service. What a joy to be a part of a traditional black church that has served their community for so many years!
Churches that have a beautiful physical presence in the city attract me, so one Sunday I wanted to visit The Basilica of St. Mary. It is a magnificent building. We attended a very full, very diverse service on a Sunday morning and then toured the Basilica.
We visited with friends to a church that has been moving from place to place and finally found a beautiful old church to lease in St. Paul for the next few years. For a church that had been on the move for months trying to find a new location, they had a full worship service and it was vibrant. Great music and great teaching of the Word.
Today, we visit a church plant that is working to bless the south Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Here are some observations:
- If you clicked on the links in these two posts, you found a variety of websites. We are too quick to judge a church by its website. We push the look of a website too much in church circles. None of these websites… and I mean NONE of them… will tell you what any of those churches are truly about. It’s great to have a good looking website, but we’re trying too hard to build a cyber presence in a world that is too shallow. We’re trying to out-do some secular website and all we’re doing is trying to “Out-Disney Disney.” Have a good website… but concentrate MORE on the people in your congregation and neighborhood! (And if your a Christian consumer “looking for a church”… repent of being a Christian consumer and just plunge into a church near you to find out what is REALLY going on!)
- The Body of Christ is so amazing. The diversity of worship, the size of the churches, the way they love Jesus and love their neighbors, all of it, is beautiful to see.
- I truly wish every church would celebrate the Lord’s Table every Sunday. I have been pleasantly surprised that almost every Sunday I have been able to celebrate the Table, but I know that in some churches, I probably caught them on the “right” Sunday. I believe if every church would center in on the Lord’s Table every Sunday, we would find an even greater beauty in the Body of Christ. What a message to the world on every Sunday to be able to walk into any worship service in the world and still see the beauty of the Lord’s Table. This is the place where he invites us to come. This is the place of his presence. (I also truly wish every table was “open” to all believers… that IS a bit of a sore spot for me in a couple of places we visited.)
It’s been a very blessed four months of seeing the Body of Christ in the Twin Cities. We are anxious to make our move to Alabama and keep exploring, at least for awhile.