Church: Delmar Reformed Church
Pastor: Reverend Dirk Gieser
Time Spent: 11:15am-12:30pm
Overall Impression: Kinda fun
Type: Reformed Church in America
Format: Contemporary worship: singing to words on a screen, children’s time, sermon (bible verse imbedded), song and closing
Thoughts: The place is extremely wide with several entrances, so I asked a couple exiting about where to enter. I was brought in and introduced to an usher and shown the contemporary worship space. There is also a sanctuary with traditional pews and altar which houses the traditional worship at 9:30am. The usher seemed keen on introducing me to some other people, to which I smiled but worried inwardly. The first two people I met were really talking to me a lot and that usually means everyone will try to welcome me. Actually only one other person engaged me for any length of time, and I think he chose to do so rather than being prompted to. That ended up being cool as we talked after the service. We had some things in common, we were similar in age, and he didn’t come off as trying to sell me on the place. That all happened after the service though. At the beginning I was still dubious. The contemporary worship was arranged physically like others I’ve seen; the band at the front with some guitars, a singer, and words on a screen behind them. But it was tamer than a lot of places might do. No one put their hands in the air, or shouted ‘yes Jesus!’ or danced much. Actually there were a couple of kids dancing. But, mostly people just stood there singing quietly. I assume that means the shouting and hands up stuff is not usual for Reformers (Reformists? Reformites?) and they were just doing like they always do. There weren’t too many people in attendance. Maybe there were 30ish? I really expected more because again, the outside looks huge. But no one seemed bothered by the turnout so, on we went!
The sermon was about marriage and Ephesians 5:33. That’s the verse the no one I know likes, but it still turned out to be a really worthwhile sermon with some good points. Here are the ones I remember. Actually the verse first:
“Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”
Remember that nonsense? It makes it sound like the wife and husband are held to different standards. I liked how it was addressed though. Men and women are different. They have different hormones going on, their brains actually seem to have different strengths and weaknesses when compared, things have different types of importance to women vs men. I can relate to a story the pastor told- If a man says, “I have nothing to wear!” what does he mean? Probably, most of his clothes are in the laundry. If a woman says the same words, she’ll often mean that she has nothing new in her closet. These don’t fit everyone of course, but it illustrates that the sexes think of things differently. The pastor said (and he was basing this on a relationship book called Love and Respect) that women tend to seek love and men tend to seek respect. Breakups can ensue if either partner doesn’t feel they are getting what they are after. So it might be helpful to know which one is more important to you- if you fit the majority or not. The bible verse seems to have been written for the majority. It’s telling us to give the other person what they want. And it’s pretty old as documents go, so maybe they weren’t progressive enough to think of writing it the other way too. Pastor Dirk clearly thinks love and respect should extend both ways, and in fact that it’s necessary for a solid marriage. I’m going to tack this on the end, but he gave us a statistic that I think is very strange. I’m not sure how to interpret it. A study asking about marriage had 40% of people saying they thought it was becoming obsolete. 95% of the VERY SAME PEOPLE said they wanted a marriage. I am confused by this, but it also sounds like the people in the study were fairly confused too, so I’m not worried about it.
Overall Feelings: I’m still trying to decide if I like the casual formula as they have it. I haven’t seen the traditional service (yet), so I will hold off comparing the two until I can get back there to see the other half of it- so to speak. As a stand alone the service turned out to be alright. Also really good talks after service. The people there seem very real.