Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Church Search Continues . . .

Last Sunday we went back to a Reformed church that we visited earlier. Sunnybrook Community Church. Sounds chipper, yes? The name actually comes from being located on Sunnybrook Avenue. This church is remarkably like Hope UMC that we attended in Jersey. It is seeker-friendly. It has a contemporary worship style. It has a "coffee house" and bookstore just outside the main auditorium. It has a MOPS program and a preschool. They support . . not an orphanage in Uganda . . but a school in Haiti. They have a ministry to the Hispanic community in South Sioux City (probably as close to Camden's Urban Promise as you get in Siouxland). As I said, remarkably like Hope, in many ways.

But it's big. 1200 people "call Sunnybrook their church home". They have two services happening at the same time at 9:00 and two more at 10:45. One service is in the main auditorium; the other is in the "Loft", a fellowship-hall-type room. The sermon is piped into the Loft by live feed. Otherwise, it's two different services, two different worship teams . . and tons and tons of people. Last Sunday there were not only orange-vested volunteers directing traffic in the parking lot, but a sheriff's officer directing traffic in and out of the parking lot.

They do have an emphasis on small groups, which is good. Otherwise, I don't know how you can avoid getting lost in the crowd. And they have lots of activities for our family: drama, music, basketball, youth group, Wednesday night kids activities, etc. etc.

Right now, I think I'm leaning this direction. I think we all are. But it will definitely be the largest church I've ever been a member of. And I'm not sure why that troubles me.

Actually, I think I do know why it troubles me. It's my ego. I don't think I've ever been in a church where I didn't eventually end up being involved in just about everything . . one of those people that everyone knows . . a "big-wig", to put it bluntly. This is too big of a place to become a "big-wig" very easily. I'm not used to being a small fish in a big ocean at my church. And I'm not sure I'll like it. How sad is that? How self-centered am I?!?

Well, maybe this will be good for me. Humbling. I probably could use some humbling.


Anonymous said...

Gwen, the post goes pretty well with the last...:-D. Glad you are starting to feel comfortable with da church, even if you cannot be a big wig. Personally I rave about the reformed faith and am glad you are at a reformed church, woohoo!!
Keep Coram Deo Gwen, it's all that matters.
Much love,

Meredith said...

Hey Gwen, wow, you expressed my sentiments exactly about being so involved in the church and everyone knowing you, and you knowing everyone and everything! It is a nice feeling... Having said that, I also really enjoy going to Willow Creek, a super huge church! I like the professionalism of it, and there seems to be soooooo much to do! something for everyone!

Christina said...

Sunnybrook sounds awesome, Gwen. I think I would find initial problems with the size as well, but I think that it provides some great opportunities to meet new people, especially with a huge youth group for the girls to enjoy. Just make sure you get involved in the worship arts again -- let your light so shine before men :)
Thinking of you and sending hugs!

Anonymous said...

Big churches also have great opportunities for you to serve. When we lived in Tucson we went to a church that was averaging about 1500 people and were very involved in the music and children's ministries. Now we are at one that averages 3000 each week and are involved in music, children's, and youth ministries (see a pattern?). In spite of the size and the fact that you don't get to know everyone, if you get involved, you find that there is plenty to do and plenty of people to meet. I don't think I could go back to a smaller church. We did for a short while as we participated in a church plant but quickly found that church didn't have the youth group which we needed for our boys. I guess what I am trying to say is don't let the size of the church spook you.