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Since faith was the theme over at the Fancy Word for Simple blog this week and Sandra wanted to hear about my experience at Wellspring last week I figured it would be a good topic for a blog post today. (Well, actually I’ve been intending to blog about it since Monday but it’s been a hectic week)

So Nikki and I decided to go to a church that I used to go to about 2 1/2 years ago. It got me thinking again about what factors there are when it comes to picking a church to call home.

I really like Wellspring. From the moment I pull up to the sign at the entrance I’m happy to be there. I know the building itself shouldn’t be a factor. And I’m actually typically very turned off by a church that puts ridiculous amounts of money into their ‘church campus’. Most of these elaborate churches come off as cold to me. Not warm or welcoming at all.  My favorite church that I’ve attended met in a highschool on Sundays and had their church office at the local health club. They didn’t ever want to be defined by a church building but by the people who went there. Unfortunately that church no longer exists so who knows, maybe there’s something to be said for having a building to call home. I’d still like to think not though. All that being said, Wellspring has a BEAUTIFUL church building. I went to their website in search of photos to include in my post and stumbled on the original architect drawings and not surprisingly it was designed by my favorite local architect.

Wellspring
I know it’s not supposed to be the important thing about church but I do love the warmth that this church has achieved even in it’s design. Pulling up the long drive you feel almost like you’re pulling up to a lodge. Walking through the doors into the church it has that same feeling. Huge fireplace, comfy couches and chairs set up in conversational areas in the lobby, a nursery that looks like a cotton candy factory, a coffee shop with fresh cookies and donuts and even red bull behind the counter to keep the teens awake during church. And speaking of teens, the hang out room for their meetings looks like a night club. A vintage Volkswagen beetle, pool table, more couches and a bar (again stocked with red bull). The entire atmosphere is geared towards being a fun inviting place for kids to hang out. If you want to see photos of the inside you can take a virtual tour here.

So yeah, one of the things I love about this place is in fact the building. What can I say, I’m just wired that way to appreciate warm cottage style surroundings. It makes me smile. I can’t help it.

But there are other things that I love about this church. Like the fact that everyone is incredibly friendly. Like just the right amount of friendly really. Warm smiles and greetings from just about everyone you encounter. Very welcoming. Sad to say that I’ve encountered churches where this is not so much the case. I’d definitely put this at a higher importance than the appearance of the church itself. :)

Then there’s the singing. I LOVE music and I love to sing. I wasn’t blessed with the solo voices that my sisters all got but I enjoy singing none-the-less. Music and lyrics move me more so than just plain words, written or spoken. Something about the music just gives it more impact for me. I guess it’s another way I’m wired. Wellspring sings alot and I love that.

They also have an excellent preacher. I find myself thinking about the message throughout the week and to me that’s important. So often in my church-going past I sat through the service, and I listened (really I did) but once I walked through the doors to leave I didn’t give the sermon another thought. I would say hearing a message that I can relate to life throughout the next week and beyond is definitely an important factor in finding a church home. Arguably more important than a nice building and friendly church members. :) You can listen to the message from our service last week here. (Today’s message isn’t up quite yet).

So now for the one and only con that I’m struggling with at Wellspring. Each and every week (or at least most weeks) they have what i would consider an alter call. I dunno, I guess for me it comes off as showy. I also quite often look at church from a perspective of ‘how would someone unfamiliar with church life feel coming into this church/service for the first time?’ Personally if it were me I think I’d be intimidated and feel quite awkward in the alter call situation. I have the same frustration with churches where they sing songs or recite things where a visitor would feel as if they’ve missed some sort of handout or class they should’ve gone to before attending the service. So I dunno, I really struggle with this. I’ve talked with a few people about it this week and they all seemed to agree but for some reason I feel a bit like a sub-standard Christian for having an issue with this.

Anyway, this has gotten MUCH longer than I intended but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s important to you in a church you’d call home and if you’re brave, what’s your view on alter calls?

Oh, and I loaded up the blogpod with songs of faith that are particularly moving to me. They’ve been up all week just waiting for this post. :) I did find some new great songs that I’m dying to upload so if you want to hear my songs of faith soundtrack listen soon because I’ll likely be swapping a few out for some new favorites by tomorrow night. :)

Off to bed now. I’m exhausted. Lots more to post about maybe from the office tomorrow if the phones are quiet enough during break. I’ve been busy finishing up a few blog designs and struggling with a couple new designs.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Comments

  1. guppie says:

    Cons to Wellspring:

    60 minutes of singing.

    The ‘raise your hand if your not a believer and we will come talk to you’ thing bothers me.

    The designer must love pottery barn. WAY to much emphasis put on appearence. That’s normally a CRC thing, but seems to be dripping over to the non-denominational churches (did I spell that right?)

    90 minute service with crappy times.

    Pastor Gary is very good, but sometimes he can come across like he’s selling Amway.

    PRO’s:

    The day’s Pastor Gary is not selling

    People are nice

    Very casual

    PS. Your RSS feed works.

  2. shabbyjuls says:

    Hey Shawny…..I use to go to a church with 2 hour services and altar calls and all of that…beautiful building and all…very emotional, but not in depth. We go to church now that meets in the 3rd floor of an office building..we are looking for a building to call our own..been going there for 5 years now. We love it. The important things is that you are bine spiritually fed. We are close to the pastor and his family…could call him anytime, that is important too. A pastor who is approachable and not stuffy. Just some thoughts. I am at work today too..while the rest of the world has it off:) LOL

  3. Jen Higgins says:

    My husband is a youth pastor and at our church instead of an alter call, the Senior Pastor asks people to raise thier hands if they want to accept Christ while everyone else has their heads bowed and eyes closed. Then he prays and has people available for the those who raised their hands to talk to if they desire, but know one approaches them. I think it’s a good approach, a bit more private, but still providing oppotunites to disccuss, encourage,a an pray with people. I guess its low pressure. With the youth, my husband invites the kids to come talk to him or myself after the service if they have any questions or are interested in a relationship with Christ. Again, no pressure or the feeling that everyone is looking at you or judging you.

    As far as whether you should attend Wellspring or not, have you prayed about it and asked God if that’s where He wants you to go? Where He’s leading is the best place to be.

  4. Sandra says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a pretty church, I just hate that people seem to get so caught up in the look and feel of the place that they forget about the purpose of church. It sounds like you have your priorities in line. If you’ve found a church that is on the right track and has a beautiful setting as a bonus, that is great!

    Alter calls drive me nuts. I once went to a free concert that was an out-reach type of event. At the end they made the typical alter call. I was a bad girl and kept my eyes open. What I saw made me furious. The pastors wife was motioning to a friend across the way as she looked at all of the people spilling down to the alter. She (no exaggeration) made a motion as if she’d just won a basket ball game or something. I understand being excited about so many people, but it was just the way she did it. As if it were a personal victory. Like she had anything to do with it. I think alter calls shouldn’t be a standard part of the service. It should really be God telling the pastor to do it and not just going through the motions. It puts a lot of pressure on a person at a time when there shouldn’t be any pressure at all.

  5. Lori says:

    I love love our church ~ it is smallish, about 1300 people ( that is small for Texas churches ) ~ It is casual dress so you can dress up if you want or you can wear jeans if you want ~ we don’t have alter calls at all ~ hmmmm ~ I guess if you are going to accept the Lord you don’t have to go to the front of the church and show everyone, it is a personal decision between you and God ~ baptism is a public display ~
    Those are just my opinions :o)

  6. Maegan says:

    OK, this is going to sound terrible. What is an alter call? Hmmmmm. I am thinking that it is something like the Pastor asking the congregation if anyone wants to become a Christian? Yes?

    Our church is great, but I am not crazy on the times. Actually, that is one reason why I haven’t been in almost a year. (Yikes!). Getting there by 8:30 to get Zoë into preschool before the service just isn’t going to happen. The 11:00 service doesn’t have preschool.

    One of my favorite features of Overlake Church is that they have two services going on at the same time. One is more traditional, one is targeted towards high school students and young adults. That is the service I attend. They rock out. It’s awesome. :)

  7. angelapowers says:

    You know, it is interesting to read your thought here. Ben and I have been looking for a church to call home since we moved a year ago, and we are finding it to be a stuggle we never thought we would have.

    What’s important to me:

    *authentic worship
    *friendly faces
    *thriving small groups (so we could get connected on a more personal level)
    *solid foundation and teaching

  8. Margot says:

    I’ve had a very hard time finding a church that has everything I want in it ever since I left my home church…
    Things that are important to me?
    *Not pushy Christian-sim
    *Don’t talk about money, I know you want my money, but it’s my choice to give it to you, and if you talk about it for an entire sermon+ I’m not going to give it to you
    *Good workship, good songs, good band, connction
    *Good sermons, a preacher who actually makes a point instead of dancing around it and leaving me confused… and who doesn’t bore me to tears.
    *Friendly people, but not attackers who MAKE you talk to them even when you don’t want to.
    And the reason I haven’t yet found a good church: some sort of “young adult” program. I have enough avenues in my life where I connect with peopl 20-40 years older than me.
    The church I love does the “heads bowed you can raise your hand” thing about every other week. They won’t come pester you, he doesn’t even make you look at him, he just wants YOU to make the decision, and if you’re so moved to, go find someone to talk to about it. I think it’s a very personal decision anyways, so why should it be public?

  9. jane wilson says:

    Idon’t think you realise this but the church has an ALTAR and it is an ALTAR call, not alter!

  10. homeschooler says:

    Wow, I have never even heard of a church service without an altar call at the end. It wouldn’t be church to me without it. Isn’t that the whole point?

  11. mike says:

    Hello young lady!! Looking at your blog I assume you are in England or Ireland. Anyway I don’t know how i ended up reading your comments but just wanted to say: I have been alone for 28 years now and it isn’t so bad…I have a couple hobbies, tomatoes, golf, digital video editing. Any way good luck to you. Oh why are you alone in empty house?

    mike

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