Church: Bethlehem Community Church
Pastor: This Sunday it was Pastor David Eames.
Time Spent: 10:00 – 11:30am with a little extra thrown in talking to some friends
Overall Impression: Good, but bigger than I’m used to
Type: According to the website, this church began as, and I suspect still considers itself, an interdenominational church. I’m not sure what denominations it is between. It has an evangelical feel to it. I’m not entirely sure how pastors are selected, hired, called or whatever. All of the pastors listed on the website are male and several of them have degrees in theology from seminary colleges. There was also a section describing leaders which made a distinction between elders (male) and deaconesses (female). I couldn’t make out if one is meant to ‘outrank’ the other or what. I’m sure there is a set of rules and regulations for all this stuff that isn’t going to be available to the casual web surfer.
Format: Music, announcements, more music, appeal for money for charity type project, sermon, music
Thoughts: So I gotta be honest, there were a lot of things working against my liking this one. It was a particularly down Sunday for me from the get-go. For some reason (or several) I was just bummed out when I got up that morning. That might be the reason the music wasn’t really doing much for me. I also suspect the gymnasium which doubled as the worship space might have had some poor acoustics going on. I wasn’t greeted at all this time, except in a cursory way by the woman handing out bulletins. This I think I can safely say was due to the enormous number of people in attendance; too many to recognize a new visitor. And to be fair, the woman who sat next to me struck up a short conversation with me after the service in which she found out I was new and invited me back.
I can’t say the sermon interested me much. It was pretty short owing to the choir and the charity appeal taking time away. A couple of friends of mine who I met afterwards said that it was unusual in its brevity. I did get a few little nuggets of awesome from it though. He said that “every church has problems because every church has people”. This is a wonderful idea to hear from a pastor. Many churches fail to recognize that they might have issues going on that could be improved upon. Just recognizing the need to consider problems is a great thing. I wish more churches would acknowledge this idea. I also noticed Pastor Eames can get kinda shouty. A few people responded with ‘amen’ or ‘yes’, but not in a widespread way. And he’s funny. He told an amusing joke about a painter which I will retell later on.
After the service I got some extra info on the church from my two friends who attend there. We had a bit of good talk before I went on home. I’m not really sure if I would have stayed long if they hadn’t been around. The pastor kinda disappeared afterwards- I think there was a meeting he had to go lead? And it was a whole huge mess of people, which can sometimes make me nervous. I don’t love big crowds.
Overall Feelings: Eh, s’okay I guess. The size thing might be a detriment to my returning. As I said I’m not in love with big crowds. Other than that it wasn’t really problematic.
Oh yeah, that joke:
So a house painter is looking for work. He gets connected with a church that is in some serious need of paint. He strikes a particularly good bargain which will compensate him well and make the church happy too. He gets his supplies ready and shows up to start the job. Once he gets out of his vehicle he realizes the church is much bigger than he originally thought. It has a whole extra wing- he isn’t going to have enough paint! What can he do? He decides it won’t hurt anyone if he just adds some water to the paint to stretch it. As he starts working, the beautiful sunny day begins to cloud over and become threatening. Dark clouds fill the sky and thunder and lighting rumble and crash. He knows he’s in trouble with the man upstairs, so he gets down on his knees and prays, “God what should I do?” God’s voice comes down from heaven, “REPAINT! AND THIN NO MORE!”