Being away from North Side was a bit different today. I can’t remember the last time I “went to church” without serving. I showed up at a place. I parked in a visitor’s spot. And I had to go to the help desk for info. Very different, but I learned a ton.
We went to Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. The last stat I heard was that Southeast was the 7th largest church in the country (2004). They had over 15,000 people at their weekend worship services last weekend (Saturday night, two Sunday morning). I had heard some great things about the church and had visited the facilities a few years ago, so we decided to venture out there.
We had a great experience today. Obie was a little cranky, so we had to go back and forth some, but I did experience worship today. But I noticed so many great things about the way they do church, that I tried not to focus on once we got there, so I just tucked them away in my head.
And I will process them now:
- Well-Organized Entrance – Coming off of the interstate, they had so many police officers and parking lot team helping people come in and out. Amanda made a great point. “You know, if you go to a concert and have to plan for parking or get there early to get a seat. And we don’t complain about it. How can we complain about it if there are a bunch of people wanting to come to church of all places?!” Good point.
- The Value of a Good Host Team – We had a great lady befriend us when we went to the desk. She led Amanda to a place where she could go take care of Obadiah and waited for her to get out before personally walking us to a great place for us to sit. She was the reason we had a great experience at church.
- Commons Area – I was amazed at how many people sat out at the coffee shop and watched the entire service out there on a TV or a screen. Some had a baby situation. Some came late. I wondered: did some of they just not want to connect with anyone?
- Communion – They do communion every week for about 15,000 people! That’s a lot of ushering and a big budget for communion. Pretty incredible.
- Leaving Early – Why do people as soon as a preacher says something about winding up – people just rush to a parking lot? Cracker Barrel will still be there fifteen minutes later.
- Dave Stone – He is the pastor. Great sermon. Hard task. Do you know that he is the predecessor of Bob Russell, the pastor of that churched who served that congregation in that capacity for forty years?! Whoa! Big shoes to fill.
It was a great experience to see that God is doing stuff all over the world in all types of congregations.
Amanda, Obie, and I did listen to Jeff’s sermon from Sunday though. He nailed it. When he talked about doing stuff for God without doing stuff with God ruined me. Still processing that one. You can listen to it here.