Church Hunt Week 2
We had a rare sunny day for winter in Central Ohio which may have had an impact on my spirits as my youngest daughter and I drove to a Xenos gathering this morning. The gathering takes place in a school which is in our neighborhood. I love the idea of going to doing church where one lives because, ultimately, the hope is to be Christian Community with the people who are part of your physical community.
My wife and oldest daughter stayed home this morning because we had guests coming over for lunch and Heather still had some preparations to tend. (Don’t worry, we are going to attend again next week as an entire family so this installment will come in two parts.)
As I said, the sun may have had an impact on my spirits because as we pulled into the parking lot of the school, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were several dozen cars already parked which added to my hopes of having a good experience. I had expected the gathering to be quite small from the reading I had done on the internet about the Xenos small groups. Brianna and I walked inside and were immediately recognized to be visitors and made to feel welcome.
One of the greeters helped me find the right place to take Brianna for her age group and I walked around the lobby where they had some books and refreshments set up. One thing I noticed was that they had NLT (New Living Translation) bibles on display so I asked the person manning the table if that was their translation of choice and she was very cordial in her explanation that there are several translations used and it mostly depended on who was teaching that day. She asked me which one I preferred and my response was that there were several I trusted but I mostly relied on the NASB (New American Standard Bible). She said that was her favorite as well. I decided to like her .. 🙂 (Don’t worry, I don’t always decide who I like based on biblical translations.. I also decide who I don’t like by that method)… just kidding… just kidding!! Let me have some fun with my post, will ya?! 🙂
From there I entered the auditorium and found my way to a metal folding chair (if you are counting, that is two weeks in a row for the first seat being a metal folding chair .. I kinda like that). There were varying ages of people in attendance and I would guess that there were probably 60 -80 people in attendance. ‘Dressy blue jean’ was probably the predominant attire. Everyone looked quite comfortable in their metal chairs. ( I should mention that I did accidentally kick the empty one in front of me twice during the lesson. They are noisy when met with a size 13 shoe.)
The teacher stepped to the front and proceeded to give an awesome exegetical presentation on Chapter 2 of the book of James. He did so humbly and with care AND from the NASB translation (I decided to like him as well). His lecture/presentation was conducted with the help of a PowerPoint presentation and lasted around an hour in length. With the teaching of the passage, the leader also took time toward the end to go over application. They opened the last half hour for questions from the audience and for a time of prayer.
It was during that time that they also passed the offering plate and the leader was careful to instruct visitors to please let it pass by.
This is not a typical church ‘structure’ for a worship service. There was no time of music or altar call. The best way to imagine it would be a Bible Fellowship class or Sunday School class. I felt welcomed and encouraged by this group’s dedication to the word.
I spoke with an older gentleman after the class and he filled me in that this gathering was made up of 5 or 6 home churches that met in the area during the week but came together as one body on Sunday. He took my email address and invited me to be part of a home church experience and a men’s bible study.
I am going to leave it there for now because I want to bring in my family’s responses next week to complete this post. So come back for week 3.