As long as I have been here in Madisonville, Tennessee I have been told about countrified church services. Today I got to experience a countrified church service.
My experience seems to be typical of a countrified church service. People came in and talked with their friends at their normal pews. The church service started with a welcome and then a call to come up to the choir loft. About 80 percent of the congregation went up to the choir loft and began to sing songs. These songs were countrified also with a little blue grass or country flair. At the end of the song set there began a greeting time where everyone shook each others hand talked with those who they know. After the greeting time the offering plate was passed to another countrified song. The preacher then came up and began his message from Ephesians 2:11-14. His message consisted of 5 points 1. We were formerly sinners 2. We were strangers to the promises 3. We had no hope 4. Christ brought you near and 5. Christ gives us peace. All 5 of these points seemed were emphasized by screaming at the congregation by the pastor and each point was not distinct but was actually a story consisting of him telling us how he was once a sinner and is now now saved so you should be also because of the blood of Christ. Following the sermon we received 3 separate alter calls and an impromptu testimony by an older preacher. Then we walked out of the sanctuary and it was over.
WOW, is all that I can say.
A few thoughts about this service were:
1) I didn’t understand the point of calling 80 percent of the people into the choir loft to sing to the other 20 percent and then not tell any of the new people what was being sung.
2) I saw some of the southern hospitality at the service but it was only with people who they already knew. Southern hospitality in my opinion is now only to those who you already know. Greeting time in the service should be a friendly time where you meet and actually talk with new people. Here is a challenge: Next Sunday at church go and meet a new person and find out 3 things about them besides their name.
3) I have never been at a sermon which so brutalized the text without preaching heresy. This pastor kept on telling the congregation part of the gospel but missed the richness and the point of the passage. Ephesians 2:11-14 is rich with the contrasts between uncircumcised and circumcised, separated and brought near to Christ, and no hope and hope. Here is a challenge: Look at Ephesians 2:11-14 and see what the main point of the passage is and comment on this post.