Sunday, September 9, 2007

First Church West

Church Field Trip #14

We visited First Church West in Plantation for two reasons: one, a member of our posse visited this church years ago and told us that the pastor opened the floor for questions at the end of the sermon - an intriguing approach. Two, the pastor, Dr. Norman Wise hosts a variety of meetup.com groups, one of which is called Socrates Cafe - a place for thinkers/philosophers to share their ideas - another approach many pastors would do well to adopt.

Upon our arrival, we received about three genuine greetings, and we were guided to sign in at the guest book. At this point, I should clarify my definitions for genuine and standard greetings. A standard greeting is the typical handshake at the door with a "Hello, how are you?" thrown in for good measure. A genuine greeting is one that involves an introduction by name, and also includes that person asking me what my name is as well. I want the greeter to at least feign interest in who I am and what my name is. Genuine greetings are few and far between at our church visits and that is unfortunate.

The music was early 90's contemporary. There were about 50 people in the room, but I'd venture a guess that there were probably more at their early morning traditional service. I was impressed with the way that Dr. Wise was multi-tasking by running the power point presentation both during the worship and during his own sermon. Of course, the use of power point itself would be another hallmark of the 90's.

The sermon, "Falling into Insanity" was based on Romans 1:21. I must admit that, for the first time in 3 months, I did not take good notes during the sermon. Pastor Norm did a fine job conveying the complete Gospel in a clear manner. He also used Jeremiah 2:5 and Ecc. 10:2 (NLT). In an interesting twist, he used Psalm 14:1 to prove the existence of atheists, countering the argument that there are no atheists in foxholes.

Three things he said did stand out to me though:

"It does me no good to speak to the unchurched people, because they aren't here in church."

"I have to speak to the people who are here, the church folk."

"Christianity is being reduced to an experience. An experience without knowledge."

Upon our departure, we were greeted by Pastor Norm and given a gift basket that included a small booklet - "Why a Crown?", a copy of a recent sermon CD, the Book of John on CD (I thought this was a really cool idea until I noticed that it was King James Version. Bummer), a vanilla scented candle, and a leather bound journal.

Once again, if you've never heard of meetup.com, I'd encourage you to check it out.

Follow - Up: Received a standard letter from the church.

1 Comment:

Revolutionite said...

How was I to know they didn't do Q&A anymore?
And I think you're being too hard him. It was a well planned, well thought out lesson. I think, though you are more progressive, you most likely have similar beliefs concerning reaching the world around you.

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