Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oasis Church

Church Field Trip #15
Oasis Church (Formerly Church of Pembroke Pines)

We visited this church for one reason. They are currently ranked #17 on the list of America's Most Innovative Churches. There are two other South Florida churches on that list: Flamingo Road Church (ranked #38), and Lifechurch.tv (ranked #7). I'll be visiting the Lifechurch.tv Wellington campus soon.

I can give you a couple guesses as to why these churches are on this list. Flamingo Road's two recent series, ivescrewedup.com and mynakedpastor.com were pretty innovative. Oasis Church began holding worship services 7 nights a week to help with their space issues on the weekends. And there were definitely parking issues at 10 am on Sunday morning. They have a total of 10 services on their main campus each week. That's actually daring and innovative. And Lifechurch.tv is just plain innovative by their very nature, period.

I must admit that I was caught a little off guard by how well-dressed everyone seemed to be at this church. I usually have a good sense of what to expect before heading into these churches, but this church surprised me in a few different ways. For the record, I like to dress casual for church if I can help it. (I'll pop a picture of my "church garb" up here for you.)

Upon arrival, a greeter checked us in at a wall kiosk. That was a nice high tech touch. Unfortunately, the kiosk then proceeded to print out name tags. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of the name tag. They have a cafe that is very well appointed. Coffee, pastries, cookies, juice, water, etc. This included a small bookstore set-up as well as some tables and chairs. Notably, the tables and chairs were quite nice. Some were high-tops and others were long tables with benches - the type you'd see in a German Beer House. I think that I've grown so accustomed to the appointments in a church either being portable or cheap or both, that I was surprised to see such a permanent dedication of materials to this cafe.

The worship was well done. This was one of the most satisfying worship experiences that I have had in these four months. There were no distractions. There was about 80% participation from the audience (a big factor for me). And the worship band was both diverse and talented. The sanctuary had a flag hanging from every country that is represented by the members of their congregation. Diversity is definitely a priority for this church.

Prior to the teaching, they played two videos. These are typical videos that certain websites produce and then sell to churches for $10-$20 a pop. I've seen both videos before. One video, Christian vs. Christ-follower (a play on the p.c. vs. Mac commercials) seemed to go over the heads of most of the congregation. The church had just begun a series on this premise of being a Christian vs. being a Christ-follower. Pastor Pat Roberts did a fine job teaching, incorporating the Gospel into the end of the sermon. He used a plethora of scriptures throughout the sermon, so I'm not even going to bother to record them here, sorry. Here are a couple notable quotes:

"Many people confuse Biblical paradoxes with Biblical contradictions. A Biblical paradox is simply God's reality, which to us, sometimes looks like a contradiction."

"A Christian will follow Jesus part of the way, until it gets difficult. A Christ-follower will follow Jesus all the way to the cross."

"You have to constantly empty yourself out so that God can fill you up with His purposes."

"Stop trying to figure out the Kingdom of God if you haven't been born-again. You must be born-again before any of this will make sense."

"As a pastor, if I go out and do something unbecoming of a pastor, then, in that moment, I cease being the person that I claimed to be. If Jesus had walked away from the cross, He would have ceased to be the person that He claimed to be."

This church was a bit of a paradox itself. In some ways, it fit some stereotypes. But in other ways, it was indeed innnovative.

Follow - Up: Recieved a letter from the church which included a hand-written note from Pastor Guy Melton, "Thanks for the blog comments. God bless you. Sorry, no cookies or goodie bags."
Trust me, I'd rather hear the Gospel and experience real worship than get cookies, a candle, and a book I'll never read.




8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lew,

My Google Alert on our church's name picked up your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience at our church. I'm particularly excited that you were able to enjoy worship as our guest at the Pembroke Pines campus.

We are always looking for good feedback from folks who visit one of our services. We have so much to learn and re-learn.

God bless!

Kevin McCord
Administrative Pastor
Oasis Church
http://www.visitoasis.org

Revolutionite said...

Ok, bottom line...should I check it out on a Saturday night?

revolution said...

Honestly, I don't think you'd dig it. But neither would it kill you.

Might actually be a different teacher on Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I attend Oasis Church mid-week at 7:00 pm. We like the casualness of weeknights. Same message as Sunday, same good music.
Gabi

SingForHim @ Real Life said...

I like the second to last quote. It's very succinct.

I like your, blog, BTW. It's very intellectual in nature, but not in a "I'm smart and you're an idiot" kind of way. It's accessible.

Max Power said...

Hey Dude,

I really dig your blog and appreciate the sincerity and humility in your church reviews (the fact that you take sermon notes, don't come across as judgmental but are still honest, desire to hear from God whatever church you're visiting etc.).

I was just wondering if there's any way I could chat to you about visiting our church and sharing your thoughts withs ome of our staff.

Email me @ jeffvox@gmail.com

Thanks!

Jeff T.

Chris Goeppner said...

now i know who you are! nice to meet you today. this church in mind, did they tell you to have a refreshing day (or evening)? i went once and they did, it kinda creeped me out. anyway, im linking you up baby.

revolution said...

No, they did not. But I could see that happening at Oasis. It wouldn't be too far out of line.

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