Week 2 of the Church Search took us back to Stonebridge Church for the second week in a row. (We kinda figure it’ll take at least a few weeks at any given place to really be able to make some sort of reasonable judgment on things.) We got out the door five minutes earlier this morning, leaving at 8:30 for a 9:00 service. We were there in 15 minutes, but the child check-in desk was quite a bit crazy this morning, so we still ended up not getting in to the sanctuary until the worship band had just about finished the opening song. Hopefully they’ll get the check-in stuff figured out soon.
Some continued/revised impressions carrying on from last week:
- The folks seem quite friendly, and I’m enthusiastic about the age range I see. There is a good spread of old, young, teenagers, and children.
- A lot of the music is unfamiliar, but it’s pretty solid stuff. During each song I’d be wondering “man, where did this song come from?” and then the last slide would have the author’s name and I’d recognize it. The last song of the service was written by Bebo Norman and Mitch Dane and I thought hey, I’ve met Mitch, even had lunch with him. Kinda cool.
- The worship team was a little bit scant this week – fewer vocalists, no keyboard player at all. Makes me wonder how many folks the worship pastor actually has signed up, if he’s struggling to get people. If we were there I’d like to participate, just not be leading the team.
- Jeff Holland’s doppelganger of a young adult pastor was supposed to be preaching, but apparently came down with a nasty cold yesterday. So, the senior pastor got to wing it, but still gave us a good sermon on Psalm 23. Enjoyed it.
- The one thing I’ll gripe about the sermon, and I hassled Richard at Noelridge for the same thing: pastors that somehow refuse to use contractions when preaching. So far as I know, there’s nothing particularly unholy about ‘couldn’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘don’t’, and the like, but Pastor Richard at Noelridge and Pastor Randy at Stonebridge both seem to banish them from their vocabulary as soon as they get behind the pulpit. Anybody else get that from their pastors?
Next week Stonebridge is doing their official dedication of the new building, and they’re expecting a LOT of folks. They’ve actually gone door-to-door to everyone within a one-mile radius of the church dropping off small gift bags and inviting folks to visit. If it’s gonna be that crazy, we’ll probably take next week to visit the next church on our list. Not exactly sure yet which church that’ll be, but I’m kinda guessing Cedar Valley Bible.
It may be a little early to come to conclusions about Stonebridge after only two weeks, but my interim conclusion is that I like it, a lot. There’s a lot of good things going on there, a lot of good attitudes about things I think are important, and good teaching coming from the pulpit. If all the churches we visit are this good, it’s gonna be a difficult decision.