Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Church #16: First Christian Church (Springfield, OH)

1. Who attended? Erica M. & guest Hopper Erica B.

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 M.: 7.
ERICA B.: 7.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
First Christian Church
311 West High Street
Springfield, OH 45506

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Not really... we were in Springfield, Ohio on "vacation" and we found a church through the hotel visitor's guide.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?

8. Who did you meet?
I actually remembered to try to meet someone after the services, so I tracked down the pastor that gave the sermon. He was very nice and seemed happy to talk to us, which was nice because there was a really large congregation, so we didn't really have any other personal contact with the church.

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

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

ERICA B.: As a first-time hopper, this was a great church to start off with - especially since we had to pick pretty randomly! The church was beautiful, inside and out. One of the first things I noticed were the screens in the front of the sanctuary. There were two large screens that displayed the words to the songs that were being sung, scriptures, and various other pertinent information. I think Bradley would have loved the A/V here; it was very well done. The Powerpoint presentation used on the large screens was surprisingly very good. I say surprisingly because I've seen plenty of bad Powerpoint presentations, and this was definitely not like that. I also noticed (for Bradley's sake) that everyone seemed to be appropriately well-dressed, but also casual enough that i felt comfortable wearing flip flops with my skirt (the only shoes I'd brought with me for the weekend).

After we found a seat, one of the ministers gave a few quick announcements, and then the music began. I was surprised at how long the music went on, and on, and on. The songs were nice and the singing was good, but I didn't expect it to last as long as it did. The songs were all contemporary Christian music, and the lyrics were displayed for us on the big screens. I think it was then that I noticed there were no hymnals or bibles in the pews, because I had expected to sing a hymn or two. (I had "Holy, Holy, Holy!" in my head - but alas, no hymns.) One song that featured a few of the women in the congregation was especially good, and you could tell they had practiced.

During the first part of the music was a "greeting" time, and we shook a few hands. After the music was communion, which I thought at first was the collection plate. I tried to find a list of what order things would happen in the program, and finally did on the front of it. I'm used to churches that have a set program, listing each thing in the exact order it happens (when to sit, when to stand, when to pray, etc.), so not having that was a little weird at first.

The sermon was very good, much to my delight. The minister was easy to listen to, funny, and insightful. The message (the value of work) was one that anyone could benefit from, not just Christians, which is what I liked the best. He used examples from his own life, stories others had told him, and tied it all in with examples from the Bible. There was only one comment I was a little confused about (regarding a bumper sticker), but overall the sermon left me feeling good. Erica and I introduced ourselves to the minister before we left, letting him know that we had enjoyed our experience and how beautiful we felt the church was.

So overall, a good church. There were times when I didn't feel like the whole congregation was really "into" what was happening, but there were plenty of people singing with the music, and the general mood was lighthearted and happy. I personally would have liked to see more tradition in this church, since that is what I always liked about my old church, but I enjoyed myself here nonetheless. Thanks to Erica for letting me guest hop with her!

ERICA M.: Man. After reading Erica B.'s post I don't have a whole lot else to add. She pretty much nailed it.

Just a little back story: I went out of town this weekend with three of my friends: Jared, JT, and Erica B. On Sunday morning we were in Springfield, Ohio... hence the pretty good distance from our other churches. Erica was a delightful Hopper-- I know it's a little intense the first time. I'm just now starting to get used to Hopping, to tell you the truth. She was very open-minded and I was so glad to not have to skip a church. Springfield had a ton of beautiful churches, and this was no different (although they're apparently moving to a different facility in a couple of weeks).

Hm. Erica B. seriously nailed everything. I wasn't as surprised as she was by the AV and the lack of Bibles/hymnals-- a lot of churches have these elements from what I've run across so far. There was a large congregation, including a second floor balcony-type thing, and the songs were plentiful (read: let me sit dowwwwwwn please) and not surprising to me. It was a great standard church and the sermon was great. Like Erica B. already said.

***Coming soon: Bradley & guest Hopper with their review of Crossroads!


Anonymous said...

What happened to bradly's review? Looking forward to it ... I was thinking about checking out Crossroads this weekend.

Eebs said...

It has been posted, just this morning! Sorry for the delay. Tom still has to add his two cents, but there's Bradley's response!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I go to this church! I hope everything was great for you guys. This is a great Idea! I like waht you guys are doing. God Bless!

Eebs said...

Thank you for your comment! How did you find the blog?

curiousgeorge said...

Hi, I was was just wondering if you thought this church need some kind of welcome center? Lots of churches I have gone to have really made me feel welcome. Or did this church make you feel welcome, Just wondering? And is this church large? If so, Did you find your way around it ok. Like signs or anything like that?? I have heard this church is moving into a larger facility.

Eebs said...

CuriousGeorge-- I think a welcome center is a great thing for all churches to have. When we first got there I wasn't even sure which direction to head in-- I asked someone who seemed to know what they were doing and she looked at me like I was crazy.

My answer is yes for any church. Why not? There are only benefits for anything that makes people feel more welcome, because a lot of people are looking for a place they can consider like a second home.

Anonymous said...

Glad that you enjoyed this church as it is my home church and have been attending all my life. If you liked the "old" building that you went to, you should come out and see our "new" building. It is amazing what the Lord has provided for us in order to share his word with others!