Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Flamingo Road Church

Church Field Trip #1

My wife and I left our church family recently. We've since compiled a list of churches that we'd like to visit - some for educational purposes, and some just "for the fun of it."

Not too many churches offer a Saturday night service, so this offering made Flamingo Road Church, their Cooper City Campus, our first field trip. We went to the Saturday, 5 pm service. If I had to guess, there were probably 700 people at the service.

First impression - we arrived 20 minutes early and there were already cars parked out on the grass in front of the building. I love this. The leadership of the church clearly parked out there to free up spaces in the actual parking lot. That is the attitude I like to see, and it was a great first impression.

We received two "standard greetings" - one at the front door, as well as one at the entrance to the auditorium.

The music/worship rocked. The drummer looked like Hurley from "Lost", and he was really rocking out - kudos. During the four song set, there was one song that included a sole dancer center stage for interpretive dance. While not criticizing the act of bringing art into the church (which I definitely support), I'll keep my man-card by stating that interpretive dance is not my cup of tea. But hey, to each his own.

In the middle of the worship set, the campus pastor came out to talk about financial giving. He gave a short testimony about his own personal journey in giving financially to the church. The upside - they were asking for $300,000 to go towards the food for the poor program at their Hallandale Beach campus. (They feed over 400 people a week at that campus, awesome.) The downside - the campus pastor mentioned the "Money Back Guarantee" - You give financially to God and God will bless you, both spiritually and financially. If He doesn't, you can ask the church to give you your money back. I'm sorry if you think that this is a good illustration or policy for the church to promote, I don't.

The service and the building were a high-tech sensory overload. Flat screen t.v.'s everywhere, laptop computers, Starbucks coffee, bistro tables, a bevy of merchandise - t-shirts, Cd's, car magnets, stickers, etc. The children's ministry, what I was able to see as a non-parent, was off the chain. Seriously. It looked like something straight out of Disney World - high-tech check-in stations with multiple assistants to help with the check-in. I couldn't imagine it being more professional.

The video intro for the sermon was way cool - gritty and edgy. They were at the end of a ten week series, about confession. Great idea. Great website. Pastor Troy is an excellent communicator, hip and relevant. Well, maybe too hip at least for my taste. He was sporting the "half-tuck" on his shirt as well as "fancy flops" (flip flops that are made of leather. still flip flops as far as I'm concerned.) Troy began his sermon by informally sitting at a small table and frequently returned to sit in his chair throughout the sermon. I like the informal feel this gives the sermon, despite it being an obvious gimmick. I'm all for gimmicks as long as they serve a purpose and aren't overused.

Troy's presentation of the Gospel was complete and well delivered. This, to me, is the most important factor in a "church service". He gave an invitation for baptism in a convicting manner that tied in to his sermon illustration on the enslavement of addiction. He gave each of us a palm-sized rock that illustrated those things which we are enslaved to. He then encouraged us to accompany him to the beach the following day to release our rocks into the ocean, especially those seeking to be baptized. In speaking about addiction, he stated that too often, people focus directly on the topics of drugs and alcohol, while ignoring such topics as pornography. Our friends at would call this the "Elephant in the Pew."

I'm not necessarily opposed to "consumer Christianity" but neither am I drawn to it. As I said, the most important factor to me, is whether the Gospel is presented completely, clearly, and with conviction. And it was.


revolutionite said...

It’s not a man thing—I can’t appreciate interpretive dance either. Is this another instance of Christians being nice rather than honest? Does anyone actually enjoy (other than those who perform) interpretive dance?

Anonymous said...

thanks for blogging about my church and for checking out my blog. i'm going to pass your blog on to some of the other pastors. thanks for the honest feedback!

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