Sunday, May 21, 2006

Church #3: Grace Church

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica

How was the experience?

1: I was so uncomfortable and/or offended that I did not stay to the end of services.
10: This church was welcoming and thought-provoking. I would recommend that others experience this church.

Erica: 6. This church was friendly almost to the point of creepy.
Bradley: 7. I could tell this church made a good effort to reach out.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Grace Church
11020 Lebanon Road
Loveland, Ohio 45140

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope-- it was in the same area that the other churches have been.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
Here's the thing: I'm not sure. I *think* it was Baptist, and the only reason I guess that is because their URL says GBC, which I assume stands for Grace Baptist Church. I'm not really trained in differentiating the different sects of Christianity, and that's my best guess.

8. Who did you meet?
We met a lot of people. Everyone seemed really eager to say hi to us, welcome us, invite us to the picnic. We were asked, "What made you come to Grace Church?" at least a dozen times. There was even a ten minute greeting period, like an extended "peace be with you" session. And we were clearly the only non-regulars present, and everyone seemed to be pretty curious about us. Regardless, everyone was overly friendly and hoped we would come back again. (I didn't bother to break their hearts.)

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc

10. Church Hopper’s personal experience with the church, additional details:

ERICA: This church was really interesting to me. Bradley and I had been considering Grace for a while, but they didn't have their service times posted outside or on their door, so we really had no way of figuring out what time to be there. Today we were shopping around Loveland and Bradley saw that a lot of people were suddenly going into Grace, so we decided to just bite the bullet and walk in.

Everyone was really, really friendly right off the bat. And we noticed that the congregation was really... young. There were some parents and grandparents, but I'd say at least half of the congregation was younger than me. The atmosphere was really relaxed... even the pastor was in jeans, because right after services there were heading to their church picnic.

There were the standard (or so I'm learning) Christian pop songs... really upbeat hymn-like ditties that everyone seemed to know. These songs make me feel really weird sometimes. Especially with men singing at the top of their lungs about being Jesus' bride. This is something I guess I need to work on getting over.

They had a type of prayer open mic, where people would come up to the microphone and talk about things that they were going through or people that needed a-prayin' for. I thought that was an interesting way to build community, and it didn't drag on or anything.

Then there was the actual sermon, which seemed really long even though the pastor was a pretty good speaker. I'm not sure why it seemed so long... maybe because he was trying to touch on every part of the Bible. He was talking about "faith under pressure," and seemed to want to give every Biblical example of someone showing faith. ...And there are a lot of them. Also, he made fun of evolution, which if I wasn't turned off before, I certainly was then. It wasn't in a really mean tone... just the type of "Can you believe there are people who still believe that stuff?" Yeah. Yeah I can.

My final note was that the actual physical church was kind of odd-- there were no pews, only nice folding chairs. And there was no pulpit, only a music stand with a Bible on it. Now this was obviously a pretty well-to-do church, so this seemed really odd to me. No pews means no Bibles or hymnals-- everyone brought their own. I guess this is because people in the community are invited to use the church space for other functions, so it could be disassembled pretty easily. Or something.

All in all this church was pretty alright. They never took our address or anything, so no "thanks and come back" letter this week. I hope their picnic went well.

Bradley: Ok, we all know how mad I get when I get dressed up, and no one else does. Well they finally had a good excuse. They were going to a picnic afterwards, so everyone was dressed casually, which I slowly got used to. Anyway, my first impression of this church was "low-budget". But when I walked in, I must have confused that with just boring decorating, because I could tell that they really reached out to the junior-church-going crowd. Many people there were right around my age (including the really bad drummer).

The pastor seemed really weird at first (Erica said he looked like Steve Carell), but I soon warmed up to him. Half-way through the million hour long sermon I was bored of him again. He started off strong, but that man needs to learn when to cut it off. I did give this church a little better rating than Erica, because of there unintrusive methods. Everyone was very friendly (maybe too friendly) and they wern't all about the tithing. I was actually kind of nice. I would say, if you have teen-age kids, this would be a good place to try, it seems like they know what they're doing in that field.


Erica said...

i looked through their website, and there was still no mention of a denomination... i guess they are just non-denominational? maybe the "B" is for bible or something - weird though.

Ryan said...

"Bradley and I had been considering Grace for a while"

That struck me as funny, moreso out of context.

Made fun of evolution?! Hrm....not cool. Just out of curiosity, do you have a geographical preference for Loveland, or are you just starting there?

Eebs said...

We've been visiting Loveland because it seemed as good a place as any-- I don't particularly want to run into anyone I know, as I'm bound to do in Eastgate, and we've been visiting mamaw after services, so it saves time anyway. Plus I love Loveland.

Mark Zimmerman said...

Speaking of pop jesus tunes - was this the kind of church where everyone starts raisin' their hands in the air and swayin' with their eyes closed as the sing nice and loud and 'get saved?' Because I've been there before, and found it rather scary.