Sunday, July 16, 2006

Church #10: Loveland Assembly of God

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: 7. Very welcoming, but we didn't get an actual sermon.
Bradley: 6. Very friendley, maybe too friendley...

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Loveland Assembly of God
6541 Arborcrest Drive
Loveland, OH 45140 (no website available)

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope-- found it by driving around.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
Um... not sure?

8. Who did you meet?
Everyone was really friendly and individually greeted us, so I probably met 10-20 people. We also met the visiting speaker, Dick Orcutt, from Gideons International. (He's pictured above; more details later.)

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

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

ERICA: This is what Bradley and I have started calling an "old church," where the church itself is old but so is the congregation. (This is not meant to be insulting. I tend to prefer these churches.) Bradley and I were definitely the youngest ones there by at least 10 years, excluding the drummer who was maybe near my age.

The church itself was very cute, with faux stained glass windows (pictures above) and a modest band set up in front. Right when we got there-- before we were even in the church-- people were shaking our hands and thanking us for coming. The music was less flashy than in other churches but with only a guitarist and a drummer, they did pretty well. I'd heard most of the songs before but they seemed to really feel the messages behind them.

The offering was different than other churches I've been to, because they have a chest near the podium and everyone goes up there to give their offering, and also to shake hands, say hi, etc. Offering is a time for fellowship, they said. I really liked that approach... plus, it was a chance to get up for a minute, which I was grateful for.

When it was time for the actual sermon, we were informed that the regular pastor was on vacation and that they had a visiting speaker, a Dick Orcutt from Gideons International (Clermont County North Camp, PO Box 724, Milford, Ohio 45150). If you aren't familiar with the Gideons, these are the "business men" who place Bibles in hotels, nursing homes, college campuses, etc.

He spoke about the organization in what was quickly revealed to be a sales pitch-- it wasn't over the top and obnoxious, but I did feel as though I'd missed the chance at an actual sermon. It ended with a call for donations for the organization, which again I didn't mind because he seemed to have really good intentions. However, I was disappointed to have hit this church on the one Sunday when I would be denied a sermon. It's hard to compare churches, too, when something like this happens-- as has occurred before, I don't know anything about their usual pastor or what this church believes in. Oh well.

Regardless, this was a welcoming church that didn't really say anything to tick me off. (Alright, maybe the quip about "when God finally lets us convert China" or something of that nature.) When we left we were asked to come back and everyone was happy that we came. It made me realize that as much as I like the bigger, more contemporary churches we've visited, for me you can't really replace the person-to-person contact that you get at smaller, more old-timey places like Loveland Assembly. I'd trade in all the fancy A/V and relaxed dress codes for a good handshake once in a while. Many churches phone that part in.

Bradley: First of all, I would like to start off apologizing for the absence of my post. It's been several days; yes I know. For some odd reason the cookies on my browswer were being scrambled, via Google accelerator. Anyway, sorry for the delay, he is my post.

I don't know why, but Erica and I have agreed, we both like older churchs. I say older in terms of the age group of people that speak, listen, and the age of the church itself. There is something about an old church that makes me feel a whole lot better than going to one where I have to be with a bunch of teens. I like to take a seat, and just listen. I don't want to be "related to", or "reached out" to. I just want some good old-fashioned church.

Well, lucky for us, this was an older church, in terms of the people. Also, because of a trip to Georgia, the pastor wasn't there to give a sermon. Nonetheless, the time was still filled by a name from the Gideons. The man that was filling in for the pastor played a few songs (which I liked!) played some gui-tar, and led us through some prayers. I really liked the way they did the collection, they had an open chest at the front, and on your way to tithe, you shake hands and get to know everyone. That was really neat. That being done, the man from the Gideons came up.

He wasn't the best speaker I've heard, but I could tell he'd done this before, and he'd had his fair share of experience. He talked about the placeing of the Bibles in hotels, and a quick story about one school that still allowed Bibles to be passed out. I can't say I would have rather had a sermon, because he had some very cool things to say. A lot of statistics about the businessmen, and the countries they've gone to. It's very interesting to see how far one religion can spread, and how far it's willing to go to push it's message. After he finished, we did a few more prayers, and left. Overall, this was a really well round church, even though there was no pastor/sermon.