Sunday, October 28, 2007

Calvary Chapel Jupiter

Church Field Trip #17

The drive to get to Calvary Chapel Jupiter took about an hour. They meet at Jupiter High School, but they are presently building a church in Jupiter Farms which they will move into sometime in the spring of 2008. We parked our vehicle and then embarked on what seemed like a 1/4 mile winding journey through the school campus until we finally found the auditorium. Sometimes, in order to have a worship service, you do what you have to do. Because of this long walk, we received about 8 standard greetings from all of the greeters who were stationed along the way. Their attendance runs at about 500.

According to the Worship Pastor, Jeff Thompson, this week's worship was stripped down and acoustic. Though stripped down, it was still pretty high-energy. I don't know quite how to explain it, but sometimes I have fun during worship because the atmosphere is "helping me along" (Church by the Glades and come to mind.) At other times, that sense of worship seems to come from somewhere inside of me with a sense of it being more raw (CC Jupiter and Oasis church come to mind.) I wouldn't say that either of these worship experiences is better than the other, just different. Jeff promised that next week, they would be back to their usual "plugged in" experience which also includes a DJ. Big props on using a DJ, Jeff. As I've mentioned before, the heavy participation by the audience during worship at CCJ was a big influence on my worship experience.

Pastor Dan Plourde founded the church 10 years ago. A few years back, he determined that his church of upper class homeschoolers had become too comfortable in their own Christian culture bubble, and they were no longer reaching the unchurched community. So he decided to change their atmosphere by bringing in Jeff with a fresh take on worship.

Plourde puts a high priority on expository preaching. So much so that the slogan for the church written on all of their materials is: Chapter by Chapter...Verse by Verse. Presently, Plourde is working his way through the Book of Genesis. Specifically, he taught through Genesis 41, the story of Joseph's rise to power.

He began the teaching by asking the congregation this question: "How many of you here are believers? If you are a believer, please raise your hand. This message today is for you: You should be absolutely convinced, as Joseph was, that God is with you." It is ironic, how often we have attended these churches only to find that the message was solely intended for the church family and not the unchurched who might be visiting.

He went on to say that this was "the great promise of the Bible: That God is always with us." To illustrate this, he referenced Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 13:5-6, and Matthew 28:20.

Pastor Dan was convinced that the story of Joseph had special meaning for this congregation in particular, because they are a congregation that is "blessed when it comes to the corporate ladder." "Many of us in this room would be considered the rising stars of the business world, much like Joseph." "There are CEO's here, you've done very well, you're very successful. "This congregation could be considered well-off." "So this might be the most appropriate teaching for this congregation - Joseph's rise to power."

Mid-way through the teaching, he related a story about a motivational/infomercial speaker, Stephen K. Scott, who ended his series of motivational tapes by telling the listener that he was a Christian. The motivational speaker said that "he wouldn't be doing his job, if he didn't tell people the Gospel of Jesus." Unfortunately, Pastor Dan's only mention of Jesus at all was in this quote of the motivational speaker. And the quote itself was almost self-condemning of Pastor Dan's own failure to tell those congregants whose hands were not raised anything at all about Jesus.

He pointed out that he would be available to speak to visitors at the connections table outside in the courtyard (reminiscent of the Ten Minute Party at Calvary Fellowship). I like this because it sends the message that the pastor places a priority on meeting new people. We were given a gift bag with a variety of informational pamphlets, including a doctrinal belief statement. It also included a sermon CD entitled "The Gospel" and a small booklet by Josh McDowell, More than a Carpenter. One of our group asked the pastor how many hands were not raised when he asked the believers to raise their hands. He explained that, "on a typical Sunday, probably 20% of the congregation would indicate that they are not believers. And another 20% probably think that they are even though they are most likely not."

Follow-up: Jeff, the worship leader, asked us to join him for lunch. In 16 church visits, this would be a first. We accepted, ate BBQ, and talked for almost two hours. It was an enlightening conversation.
Follow-up: We received a hand-written note from the "Calvary Jupiter Staff" including an invitation to their Newcomers Night.


michelle said...

i think it's awesome how you go to each church to get a first hand experience and don't just assume a place is bad based on what other people think =]

MHC said...

Opening prayer from Mark Driscoll’s sermon on Oct. 21, 2007:

“Father God, thank You so much. We have sinned and separated ourselves from You. You have pursued us for relationship and You have given us a means by which we can have not only reconciliation with You but also reconciliation with one another through the person and work of Jesus. So we ask that You send the Holy Spirit, as we study the words which He inspired to be written that we would understand them and apply them and experience the life that Jesus intends for us. And we ask this in His good name. Amen.”

Max Power said...

Thanks for bringing your posse visiting, bro. I really enjoyed our conversation felt incredibly proud of our local BBQ. It's never a bad thing to be reminded about the centrality of the Gospel message. It's everything and is definitely something that should be, and will be, mentioned every week. I think you misinterpreted Dan's talking about the congregation being blessed in business. the last thing we are is prosperity gospel!

Thanks agian for the visit and blessings to you and your crew.

revolution said...

Sorry. I wasn't meaning to imply the presence of the prosperity Gospel by his statements describing the congregation.

No. When he described the congregation that way, it made it feel very white collar/upper class. It was kind of a turn-off for me - a blue collar middle class semi white trash suburbanite.

Our home church is in an affluent community, so my radar picks up these things easily.

FC said...


Anonymous said...

Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

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