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Church and stuff
buzzed, B&W
hairylunch
So, this weekend I went to New Life Church, an Assemblies of God church. There setup is somewhat similar to my parent's church. Instead of pews, they have chairs set up, they had some round tables in the back, two large video screens at the front of the room, wireless headset mics for their speakers, a contemporary praise team (drumset, bass, rhythm and lead guitar) with a small group of vocalists. They're similar, but not quite the same. Obviously, I compared the two churches in my mind. Ginghamsburg (GUM) was the measuring stick against which New Life was measured. In most things, New Life didn't quite stack up.

Their slides on the projectors were lacking. It was obvious the slides were done using PowerPoint, and there were lots of little things that bugged me (use of all caps on slides, inconsistent styles between slides, bad graphics, etc etc). The obvious use of PowerPoint made me remember reading some on Ginghamsburg site that mention that though they used PowerPoint to show the slides, all the slides were prepared in Photoshop or other packages, because they wanted their slides to appear TV like, rather than corporate business like.

Their printed programs were also lacking, consisting of lots of clutter. Whitespace wasn't used, and the section headings were lacking. It was just busy, and it made me not want to read it.

Their praise team was decent, but didn't have the energy that the Ginghamsburg team does. The leader hid behind his mic the whole time. I think one reason the GUM seems superior is their praise leader is out from behind his drums every couple songs, dancing around, breaking into rap, etc etc. The New Life team did do a cool job though of taking a standard hymn, and then integrating in lyrics from contemporary music (Elvis' Can't Help Falling in Love and an alternative song that I couldn't place).

The sermon was pretty good. Cal talks with his congregation, rather than at it, similar to Mike.

The one area where I thought New Life was superior was their coffee house. In their front lobby, they have a big counter and coffee shop type deal, with some tables and things, that encourage lingering. GUM doesn't really have this kind of lingering area.

Cal did something that bugged me a little during his sermon though. His message was about accepting Christ into your life, and the sacrifice you need to make to do so (i.e. accepting God as the primary decision maker). At the end of it, he was doing a prayer, and he then asked those who had accepted God into their life for the first time that day to raise their heads, so he could see you and pray for you. He then repeated the request, this time asking for those who were coming back to God, after having abandoned their faith for a while. Each time, he went around, nodding and pointing to people, making eye contact, and saying "Yes" in an affirmative way. I know this because I didn't bow my head in prayer. (I don't get why prayer involves such a submissive posture either . . . I'll have to ask Matt about that) This lack of bowing my head though made me wonder what to do while Cal was going around making eye contact. I wasn't accepting Christ into my life, and I didn't want him to get that impression, but I wasn't going to bow my head to dodge his gaze either. In the end, I tried to look around Cal so he wouldn't think I was looking at him, but it didn't work, as he pointed to me both times and said "Yes." Oh well, I guess he'll pray for me.

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