Essay: Attending different churches – write up

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  • Subject area(s): Religious studies and Theology essays
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  • Published on: February 26, 2016
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  • Attending different churches - write up
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I have to say that this project has been one experience that I was not excited about, but after the second church I got really excited and looked forward to going to the next church. The first church that I attended was the same denomination as my own just a different church. I was pretty excited about it. It was a small church in a small town with about seventy to one hundred attending. The pastor was a fire and brimstone preacher with a lot of spunk, and got very excited during worship service. There are not many paintings no stain glass windows and it looked like there was a piano, but they used a keyboard. They did not have a screen for worship, but they handed out announcements. The worship service began in musical worship from the hymnal they sang three songs out of it, and then they went into the announcements and prayer request. Then there were four people who got up and stood and sand two songs from contemporary music. They went into prayer and worship service. The worship service was exciting the pastor was very excited talking loud walking around, and asking if there was anyone who wanted to come to the altar. They dismissed in music, and the pastor wanted to make sure that everyone’s hearts were clear before they dismissed. This church was very welcoming it was obvious that there was a lot of family and friends that attended by the inside jokes and so on. I can see how someone might be uncomfortable there even though they seemed to be warm and welcoming.

The second church that we attended was a Church of the Nazarene although this is a beautiful church I have been there once before some years ago it had changed so much they have added on to it and there is a school there now. This is more of a modern church they have a café there and the sanctuary is modern. When arriving there were people there greeting at the door and ask if I had been there before since I had not been there in some years and this was a project I told them many, many years ago. So they told me to fill out the card are put it in the collection plate and to feel free to hang out at the café afterwards to get to know people. For some reason I was very nervous being there not sure why, but I got past that and went in and sat down. There are chairs not pews waiting on the service everyone was up talking in groups no one said anything until they opened with announcements and then onto music worship they sang two songs then moved into greeting at this point I kind of felt out of place because I wasn’t ask if this was my first visit until I saw a couple that we knew and they introduced us to some other people that have just started to attend their church. They started their worship service or sermon and they pastor just preached no excitement, nothing out of the ordinary a lot of people whispering during the service. They went into song and the altar was open for anyone who wanted to give their life to the Lord and they dismissed in song. It was when ‘I was leaving that someone approached me and introduced their self and went on to tell me how far they have come with the church about the school the new additions and that they have a women connection if I was interested. As I looked around I noticed that this church is run by all men I did not see one woman pastor or youth pastor. This was kind of weird to me since it is such a large church I ask if it was all women or if the head of the connection was run by the associate pastor? It was all women and they do have Bible Study I did not want to appear rude but I was curious. She went on to say that they were still looking to expand and that they hope to see us next weekend.

The third church that we attended was a Methodist church here is Circleville it was built probably back in the early nineteen hundreds and I purposely went to the traditional service because it is in the main sanctuary where the contemporary is held in the basement. They were handing out announcements and greeting everyone as they come in. They ask if this was the first time we were attending and I of course said yes. I went on to tell them why and that I was in my last class in my Associates program and they seemed pretty excited giving me history of the church and that it actually started in MacArthur’s room in the court house as he was a judge in Circleville back in the mid to late eighteen hundreds. They were telling me about the different programs that the church has and that they were going to have the Circleville Men’s Chorus there. I went in while there was a man still talking to me and when we got to the sanctuary I was completely amazed thinking ”How beautiful”, It reminded me of a Catholic Church with all of the stained glass windows and organ pipes behind the altar. All I can say is what an amazing church they take great pride in this church as they should. The pews were very old and beautiful probably original to the church they open service with prayer which was very different to me and then they went on to the announcements and prayer requests. They moved into the music which was out of the hymnal they sang I believe four songs from it. They went into prayer again with the pastor and then into his sermon which was a great sermon he was not running around real excited but he got his point across by keeping the church involved by asking questions. He stopped at least once and wanted to make sure everyone was following him. He gave praise like no one I had seen before and even stopped to tell a short story from when he was young and going to church. This man completely knows how to engage with his church and knows what they want and need. They pass the collection plate around and go to song then pray over the offerings. This pastor offered anyone to come to the altar and was very careful like the first pastor to make sure everyone’s hearts were right before they dismissed. He did give a few extra prayers to members who were not there and was concerned to whether anyone had been to see them to check on them. He had been but had gotten busy and was unable to make it again later in the week. This to me says a lot about a pastor to care that much to make sure he doesn’t just visit but to make sure that others are visiting their church brother or sister to make sure that they know that everyone cares. This church like the Catholic Church had a beautiful acoustical environment and an altar table. If I was to walk in and not been told the history I would have thought it was a Catholic church at one time. The time that they had to take to build this church with all of the detail is just simply amazing. The people were older however, I was attending the traditional service and not the contemporary service they still managed to make us comfortable. After church I was told that there was a contemporary service and that there is also service at seven P.M. that they were having guests singing and so on. They went completely out of their way for us.

They last church we went to was a Baptist Church it was very small and was sitting where the old drive in in Circleville sat. It looked like a house but once you got inside there were padded pews banners on the walls with uplifting messages. They were very welcoming and to my shock when we got to the sanctuary there were also decals on the walls with uplifting messages they immediately went into announcements and prayer requests. They ask if anyone had praises and there were a few that stood up and gave personal devotions. We sand three songs from the hymnal but they did not have hymnals it was on the screen alongside the altar. This was not much of an acoustical environment it felt like there was no one singing. Then they took up collection went to prayer and then the pastor started into his sermon. He was really into his sermon then stopped took up collection and then prayed again and went back to his sermon. I am thinking maybe they forgot. He really got into his sermon he might not have been like the first pastor but he did get excited and his point across. They did not have choir space, but I do think that there was baptismal space behind the altar. I could not see it completely because of the curtains I do think it was there though. They did have a president’s chair on the altar but no altar table no windows in the sanctuary. However this church does picnics on a regular basis, and seems to be a good church community. They dismissed in a call to the altar and music they pastor was good and the church welcoming it was enough that it has me thinking that this might be the pace for me but I have to pray about it to make sure.

This weekend for fun I attended a Pentecostal Church in Columbus with a friend he preaches there sometimes. It was pretty amazing I don’t know how I feel about people talking in tongues but other than that it was welcoming and different. Throughout the service they were offering for people to come to the altar. I think at one time this church might have been a V.F.W. but they had transformed it. They had a small baptismal space kid of hidden away behind the altar there was older pews with hymnals and the bible in each. They had a huge pulpit and they started the service with prayer everyone praying together went to their announcements, offerings, and then singing they do like to sing I counted five songs from the hymnals and contemporary music. The pastor started his sermon with asking anyone if they had testimony and there were a couple that testified and then he moved on to the meat of his service he was excited and moved around the altar I don’t think that he spent more than five minutes behind the pulpit he told the church if there is a time they feel compelled to come to the altar to come up don’t wait on me. He rushed around and soon in the idle of his sermon they went to prayer again and then everyone was excited yelling “Praise Jesus” some got out of their seats and was yelling and walking around and some were jumping. So I felt a little out of my element but it was crazy. When he was finished which was a thirty minute sermon they ended with him bringing two to the altar giving their lives to the Lord and finishing in prayer and song from the hymnal. When it dismissed I got to the car I was wondering what just happened but it was good I will definitely go back to see my friend preach. I know I had to do four churches but this one was so different than the rest I had to write about it. I felt like a fish out of water but it was good for me to see how others worship.

I felt like the Pentecostal church was the most different than where I go or that I am accustomed to. I did enjoy the service which I enjoyed most of the services even when I did not feel to welcome at one. I would say that the Baptist church worship was as close to what I have become accustomed to. I think that I should have done the contemporary and traditional at the Methodist church I had worked that night and was just way too tired to do both.

I did notice that all of the churches had a small baptismal space behind the altar except for the CCCU church who does not have one and the Nazarene Church who has it in a separate place I am assuming because I did not see it at or around the altar area, and I am sure a church that large would have one. There was no choir space at in the Baptist Church all of the others had room for a choir and most had instruments set up.

All of these churches had one thing in common with each other and that was that Christ died for our sins and was resurrected. All of the churches mentioned this in their messages at one point or another I found that fulfilling and even though all of our beliefs might be a little different from domination to domination one thing stays the same. However, I found that the Methodist Church believes that they are part of the Catholic Church and they recognize the ecumenical creeds. However, like most other denominations they believe that we are born sinners and the only way to salvation is through Christ. And like the other denominations they believe in the Triune God “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” They believe in the sacraments of Holy Baptism, Eucharist, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, and anointing the sick. While I attended they did not do the Eucharist, but it seems that this is a regular sacrament for them especially since they have the altar table.

The Nazarene Church may have their Baptismal space in another place within the church but they make sure that it is known that it is through the acceptance of Christ and Baptism is the way to eternal life. Eucharist is part of the belief but I do not think that it is something that they participate in on a regular basis.

The Pentecostal Church was by far the most different from what I attend. They believe that speaking in tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit and for new converts they do not expect you to speak in tongues but they do expect you at some point at exercise this gift. I have to say coming from a Catholic background this scares me because there should be someone there to interpret this. It could be something from the Holy Spirit or from Satan himself and how do you know the difference? I sure don’t I know that if you are happy then your gift is coming from God, but Satan is a tricky. They were talking about Baptism when I was there I think that there was someone in the congregation that was looking to be baptized, I heard them talking about Baptism with the Holy Spirit I had never heard this before I came home and looked through the book and could not find it. I did ask my friend and he said that in the baptism that Christ is the agent and that the Holy Spirit is the medium. I still did not understand.

I would have to say that this experience has opened my eyes to each denomination may be different a little as far as the worship service and their music worship, but we all are the same when it comes to salvation and our love for Christ for these reasons we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I really never knew what that meant I thought it was just a term, but now I do have a whole different understanding for that phrase. We are all bound together to bring others to Christ and to worship and have an intimate relationship with Him. We all want the same things it is just one might not agree with something in the doctrine and they might agree with another, but in the long run we all want the same thing. We want a deeper more intimate relationship with God, we want the same for others, and we want eternal life that is out there for all of us all we have to do is accept Christ into our lives.

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