Antioch Christian Fellowship Center, I didn’t check for any affiliation.
Pastor: Usually led by Pastor Donald Stewart, this time we were led by Minister Tolliver
Style of worship: Casual structure with the usual songs, scripture, sermon, and prayer
Overall Impression: I like it.
I was really dubious regarding this church at first. The building isn’t very new, and the sign out front looks like it hasn’t been changed in about ten years. But it’s accurate! There is church at this building at 11am and people are there. On entering I found my way upstairs to the sanctuary. About 15-20 people wound up showing up for service. I gather this is usual. I was greeted in a casual way by the speaker up front. The atmosphere of the service was very open, such that changes in the format were easy and acceptable. I felt like the lack of formality was the way to go. No one shied away from reaching out to me during hymnal sharing or bible verse comparison. Yet at the same time they didn’t go out of their way and make me feel like an outsider. I was there and that was just fine. It’s nice to get that, especially in a small church.
The sermon was a nice collection of ideas following the instructions: Stop, Look, Listen, Obey. Much of it was about how to listen to God and let his presence guide us. We have to stop, because uttering the first thing to enter our minds is often a bad idea. Settle your heart first and think before you speak. Listen and look means we need to notice what God is telling us. Jesus lived a life full of love; one we can follow. Obey means deciding to follow God. We were told it’s a choice and that it’s either God or not. I tend to look at things more broadly, I suppose. We choose things every day. And if something we do is a mistake, there will be chances to make better decisions in the future. I see following God more as a process than a single choice.
At the end of service things were relaxed and we were closing with announcements in more of an open forum. The speaker thanked us all for coming and me for deciding to walk in the door. She said ‘If no one else tells you this today- I love you.’ This is probably my favorite interaction at any church. Minister Tolliver had a real sincerity and concern in her. This day I felt it towards me, but I imagine this is something other people have felt from her as well. Last week I was wondering if I’d be able to feel any real connections with people from single visits- apparently I can. And it’s really a nice feeling.