I went to a Baptist church and a Nazarene church this morning… mainly because the roads were bad and they weren’t that far apart, and partly because I was curious how they were different and similar. As my sister noted in an e-mail, each church, no matter the denomination, is different. So my experiences in these two doesn’t mean I think anything particularly about the denominations; these were just two churches I happened to go to.
One thing I have been surprised by is that church is boring. *blush* I haven’t sat in a service where one person was doing all the talking for almost two decades- stand, dance, hop, leap, kneel, clap, say “amen” and “preach”, yes, but not sit. None of the services I’ve been in so far is very, ah, interactive…
Neither of the churches today had ushers. Neither seemed to take attendance. Whew! I like that! One had several Pentecostal type actions and words- raised hands and such, the other had none. Both had a group of 4-5 people get up on the platform and sing all the songs, both had projectors with words on them. (I’ve seen this at every non-Pentecostal church I’ve been in recently.) Both had loooonnngggg prayers… I have to laugh to myself; I’m guessing I could get my sweet hour of prayer in just by attending an hour and a half denominational service! Pentecostals take prayer requests for longer, but these people pray, in minute detail, about every request. It isn’t just “Oh, God, you know the needs! Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah! Amen!” They seriously pray for their requests- every one. I really like that. They act like they really believe every need and every person lifted up is important. I like that.
One, the preacher was kind of in charge even when he wasn’t leading, and in the other, the pastor actually made a joke about how it was OK to have him for lunch if people wanted to, and that people could correct him if they wanted to, as well. He seemed almost *gasp* human!
Every Pentecostal I know that will speak to me tells me I should “get back in church”. I know they would disagree with me about going to a Trinitarian church. That bothers me. I like a lot of things about Pentecostal worship and praise. I even enjoyed “holiness standards” and teachings on Jesus’ name baptism and such. I miss some things.
But in Pentecost I’ve missed the old, meaningful hymns like the ones sung this morning, people being able to accept each other in their humanity, the freedom to make choices on my own without rebuke, and preaching on things like grace, mercy, and love, too. I need those right now. Pentecostal style worship and praise I can do at home. I’ve got enough preaching CDs that if I really want an Apostolic message on baptism, I can listen to one any time. And standards are my choice. So I’m glad that, at least for a while, I can be bored! 🙂