Monday, July 9, 2007

Relevant Church Miami

Church Field Trip #2
(#3 if you count Church by the Pool)

Thanks to the Relevant Magazine Church Directory, we discovered Relevant Church Miami.

They meet in a middle school auditorium in Miami Lakes, Fl. Upon our arrival (10 minutes late) we received two "genuine" greetings outside and then another once inside the cafeteria. At the door, a gentleman took a picture of each of us individually with a Polaroid and gave us the picture.
The music was mainly acoustic with a background track, though thoroughly enjoyable. They are praying for a band, so if you play (drums/bass/elec. guitar/latin perc.) make your way over there and volunteer. The set-up was very tasteful and very well done, considering the cafeteria setting. The 19 year-old worship leader was enthusiastic and barefoot and open to any artistic expression that one might want to add to the worship service. There were probably about 50 people (July 4th weekend is a notoriously low week for attendance at churches). They started last year with 15 people. The pastor, Dan Egipciaco, was probably the most energized worshipper in the bunch (a bonus), standing right up front, hands raised, leading by example in worship. I should also note that the congregation was mostly 20 and 30 somethings, as Pastor Dan himself was 32. He is tri-vocational. He is a realtor and also a salesman for U.S. Imaging Solutions.
Pastor Dan was a high-energy, relevant, and humorous preacher. He talked about "Perceptions" - specifically our perception of beauty vs. God's perception of beauty. He talked about fantasy, pornography, inner/outer beauty. He used I Samuel 16:7 and I Peter 3:3-4. He mentioned the fact that too often, subjects such as sex are avoided in the church, despite the fact that our generation is crying out to hear what God has to say about it. Dan used the Polaroid picture as an illustration of how God sees us as beautiful. A Polaroid is a moment in time captured and cannot be photo shopped to look better. We have to accept it as is. He recommended that the congregation check out Relevant Magazine, and then he closed by reading an article from it, "This body that I wear."
Pastor Dan briefly mentioned the Gospel in passing during his closing prayer. I was disappointed, but at least glad that it got "thrown in" at the end during a prayer. As we neared the end of the service, I was beginning to fear that the Gospel wasn't even going to make an appearance. I really don't want to criticize, because I really liked this church and I loved Pastor Dan too, but I guess I am just a stickler for hearing the Gospel in a complete and clear fashion. I'll just chalk it up as a non-Gospel week.
At the end of the service, Dan remarked that he didn't really like the idea of "church marketing". "If someone is excited about their church, they will invite people, " he said. He asked the congregation to join him next Saturday in handing out fliers in the surrounding neighborhoods. He also invited everyone to join him on July 14 in providing a Free Car Wash to the surrounding community. They are doing the car wash as a service to the community (they are not asking for donations or money, they are simply telling the community about the church.) They will also be giving out free bottled water while the cars are washed. I really like where this guy's heart is at.
Now let me tell you my two favorite things about this church. When their one-hour service ended at noon, they spent almost an hour talking to us, telling us about their vision, and introducing us to whoever else was hanging out, drinking Cuban coffee and espresso. For an entire hour, no one lifted a finger to break down the equipment. They just mingled, hung out, and chatted it up. Awesome. When the people finally did start to break down the equipment, Pastor Dan handed his 8-week old off to his wife and remarked, "I really need to go help these guys break down, it's not fair to let them do all the work."

I'll just come right out and say it: THEY HAD A DJ SPINNING BEATS BEFORE AND AFTER THE SERVICE. Awesome. The DJ also runs a ministry during the week in Miami Springs, Fl.
We had fun, and we met a lot of cool people. They really seem like they've got it together, and we will definitely be praying for them.

Follow-up: We have been added to the church email list, and began recieving email updates from them almost immediately.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for writing this blog. It's awesome to see some feedback after a service. I appreciate the comment on just throwing in the gospel. This will help me in making sure the gospel is presented. Believe me my heart is in evangelism and nothing excites me more than see people give their hearts to Christ.

I am praying for you guys as you continue in your journey in planting a church.
I will tell you it is tough, but it is worth every moment.

God bless you guys. we will keep improving I promise!!!!

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