Lately I have been going to different churches in the Dallas area trying to find a place to settle down. Yesterday I visited The Village Church. At first glance it looks like a small, tight-knit, community church, but when I walked in the door I knew there was something different. First, the age demographic of the church is definitely younger than what most people are probably used to seeing. Most of the congregation is in their mid-20’s and 30’s with a few older than that. Secondly, the dress is casual. At first this struck me as a downside because I have always been taught that church is a business casual (minimum) occasion. After sitting through the service and looking at the congregation more I realized that there were some who were dressed up a bit more and they were not getting looked at as out of place or “weird”.
The sermon is what made me decide that this is more than likely the church I will continually attend. The pastor is youg(er), energetic, and honest (more on that later). His opening remarks were about a mission that the church has setup and the philosophy behind it. These remarks started with what the money was going to do. He explained that the missionaries are simply advisors to the people where they are placed. They do not take on an administrative role or try to run things, they are simply there to offer help where it is needed. The reasoning behind this is that the churches and projects that are being worked on need to survive long after the missionaries are gone and there is no way to ensure that if the missionaries are there holding the hands of those running the operation or doing it themselves. The pastor continued and talked about how a meld into the local communities is needed for any of these projects to succeed and said that this was why they built things like schools in villages that did not have them, hospitals in cities that desperately needed them, and churches in those that wanted them. He said that as he sat in a coffee shop a woman approached him and quietly asked him “You are the one who can tell me about Jesus right?”. The people who want to know more know where to find the right people.
After the discussion about the missions the actual sermon began and the topic was all of the new visitors that this particular church receives this time of year. The pastor remarked that the sharp increase in attendance over the past few years in late-July and early-August was an oddity but he had finally figured that with school starting sooner and people getting back from vacation earlier, they were getting back in the “groove” of going to church and this was happening in these months. So he continued, stating that today would merely be about what the church stood for and the way things were done there. “Perfect”, was the first thought that came to my mind. He offered a disclaimer at the beginning, saying, “This is the way we do things here, it is not necessarily ‘the’ way, it is merely ‘a’ way. If it is not for you, I am not offended, there are churches out there that will worship the way you want to and have service the way you want”. The sermon continued and he talked about some specific verses in the Bible and discussed how had come to this particular church. He made some funny remarks, had some great analogies, and stated his points very well. I am going to save his points for a later date because I feel they deserve a post of their own, especially since I very much agree with them.
My point of this post was to say that I think I’ve found a church that I would love to attend on Sunday. One where it is not a “punch my timecard” type of atmosphere.