Sunday, April 29, 2007

Church #35: Solid Rock Church


1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica.

2. CHURCH HOP RANKINGS:
How welcome did you feel at this church?
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: 4.
BRADLEY: 4, the message really took it down.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Solid Rock Church
904 N. Union Drive
Monroe, OH 45050
www.solidrockchurch.org

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Yes! A bunch of readers have asked that we visit the church with Touchdown Jesus.

6. Time/duration of services:
9:00am--10:ooam.

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
I'm not positive, but the church reminded me a lot of this one, so I'm going to guess that they're Baptist. If anyone wants to clear this up for me, feel free.

8. Who did you meet?
We went to the visitor center, where we exchanged our visitor cards for CDs of one of their sermons, but the friendly girl manning the booth seemed too busy to talk. There was a nice man near the center who asked us where we were from, but I didn't get his name.

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

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

ERICA: Happy anniversary, Church Hop! This year has been so eye-opening for me... so rewarding. In honor of our one year, Bradley and I decided to visit Solid Rock Church, famous for its giant King of Kings statue.

The megachurch itself is pretty amazing... huge and elaborate, easily navigable and clearly easy to find. We attended the early service, and the entire bottom floor was filled by the time it started... I'd guess that the 11:30 service is even fuller. We say in the balcony to get a good view of everything, and there weren't too many people up there.

The music was fanTASTIC. I was so excited to hear the full-blown gospel that they had, especially because that's something Bradley really likes. Everyone was standing and clapping the rhythm and singing along, so there was an amazing energy.

Unfortunately, this was one of those churches with beliefs very different from mine. (With a name like Solid Rock Church, I really had no expectations about what kind of belief system it had... though the giant Jesus might have given me an inkling.) I won't go into detail (I do listen to reader feedback, you know) but the sermon was very much like the First Baptist Church of Glen Este, so while the sermon was high-octane and passionate, I found myself emotionally tuning out the bulk of it.

As far as actually feeling welcome-- and that's the point of this, isn't it?-- they pulled the single-you-out-if-you're-new stuff that I'm not a huge fan of, but they were largely welcoming. They made it very clear that n00bs were welcome, they had a visitor center, information on the church, etc. Nothing else particularly caught my eye.

BRADLEY: First of all, let me start by saying something similar to Erica, and that is, we finally got to visit the Touch Down Jesus Church. For the visiters of I-275, it's a real treat to see that giant Jesus lighting up the way. (FYI, there is a theater behind him) Now I can brag to all those of the Facebook group saying "I've seen the big butter Jesus"

Enought about that.

Well this church started off grEAt. (as Tony the Tiger would put it) When we finally found a spot to park, and went inside, I was blown away at how large it was. Erica told me the website said it had around 3000 members, I can see how. But regardless of the size, this church still looked amazing. The stage was huge, and there was a giant neon blue (neon light, not neon colored paint) dove on the ceiling. Erica and I took seats right above the tech-booth. I love me a good tech booth.

Like I said, the music blew me away how good it was. They had a lot of spirit, and a whole lot of talent. The lead vocalist was really givin' it his all, and the choir behind him totally backing him up with the kind of sound only a large church congregation could make. The music was totally worth the trip.

But then came the speaker.

Let me first start off with saying he was a good speaker, in the sense of his actual speaking ability. His voice was a little raspy, in the good kind of way, the kind that holds your attention, and he would start to build up his sentaces when he talked, and got people excited with a large "AMEN". But the message was less than desirable to me. It just really disagreed with what I believe personally, because of so many things he mentioned, mostly to do with abortion, gay rights and George Bush.
So all in all, the music was some of the best I've heard yet, but the message really hurt my view of this church.

(note: my spelling is a little bad, I'm not using the grammer correcting Firefox, but rather IE)

9 comments:

Glenny said...

ROFL. That place cracks me up. I just always imagined that if you had a giant statue of Jesus in front of your church, everyone inside would give you a big hug, call you "brother" or "sister", then hand you some kool-aid or something. Thanks for checking it out for us!

d-mc said...

Judging by the mention of Royal Rangers on the program I'd think they are of the Assembly of God denomination. It is probably the largest pentecostal denomination (speaking in tongues, etc.). Only independent pentecostal churches would be bigger as a group than the A/G denomination.

Assemblies of God churches run tha gamut from very solid theological churches (from a theologically conservative point of view) to downright nutty on the other end. Sometimes the only difference between and A/G church and a baptist church would be on the tongues issue.

Pentecostal churches are often known for their exciting music. Elvis was raised pentecostal if that gives you any indication. That's how he got started.

Anyway-the picture o fthe giant Jesus kinda freaked me out. My first thought was "what the heck!" My second thought was "I wonder how many hungry people they could have fed instead of buidling that thing."

I dont have a problem with big buildings and expensive sound equipment if thats what a big church needs to hold all the people. But blowing money on stuff like that bugs me.

But hey-thats just me!

btw-HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

amo said...

I am so excited you went to the giant Jesus church! The statue freaks me out as well. What really puzzles me is the pose of Jesus. He looks like a sea monster coming out of that pond! Why not a more traditional Jesus pose - on the cross, talking to little children, something a bit more natural, perhaps? I almost think of him as a synchronized swimmer popping out of the water after a particularly difficult routine. I am sad to hear it when churches are not welcoming to you two. Especially this church, which seems to me a place where they are trying to welcome others inside: giant Jesus statue, interstate highway presence, etc.

Ryan Hartsock said...

Bringing politics into a sermon seems out of place...church messages can transcend politics and to tie it down to it seems a bait and switch.

I may be conservative but that certainly doesn't mean Jesus would walk around as I think he should.

Thanks for visiting them...always been curious.

Josh Roberts said...

would it be possible to interview you? i am a college and guest services pastor in rome, ga (the belt buckle of the bible belt) trying to figure out how to more effectively connect relationally with non-church goers, and i think your insight would be very valuable. essentially, my desire is to redefine people's perception of the Church (not just our church in rome, ga but those who represent Jesus (and i think one of the best ways to do that is to connect with non-believers who already have an empathetic heart like Christ in terms of service and selflessnes) - especially in regards to social injustice, environmental issues, women's rights, etc. ; you know, all the things that Jesus really stood for that the 21st century church has chosen to ignore and replace with their own dogma and propaganda. if it would be possible i would greatly appreciate it. my email is

tcanjosh@mac.com

thanks and i appreciate what you are doing.

josh roberts

Anonymous said...

Your search and review process is obviously helping many in your area. Unfortunately, you may not find what Jesus wanted His Church to be by visiting various Churches. There is a difference in a Sunday worship gathering and what the Church is supposed to be.
Yes, you should be able to tell a little about a church by observing its Worship and relational interaction. But the Church is not a building--- it's a community of people who live out Jesus' message of love 24 7. What is even more strange is that much of what goes on in our Churches on Sunday bears little resemblance to the early Church which was doing it Jesus' way. It is reasonable to assume each culture will express its love to God in Worship in their unique way, but culture should not affect the Christian culture Jesus brought to us. Your criteria for evaluating a Church experience seems to be the welcome you receive, the music you hear, and the content of the sermon. While all these are part of a Worship experience, it is not the essence of Christian experience. I am truly saddened by the inability of the Church to express the love of God in a simple but sincere manner while remaining faithful to a Biblical pattern for the Church--- a pattern clearly described in Scripture.
As Americans, we view and evaluate "religion" based on what our culture values. In America, "bigger" is better, since we think numbers mean success. A polished "performance" by good musicians catches our attention. And a sermon which agrees with our beliefs is more comfortable. Please notice that in all these criteria the focus is on "us"--- what we want, what we think, what we like. Some church leaders consider this self-focus the natural state of a "seeker", someone interested in finding out more about Christianity. I refuse to be so sceptical, and I don't think the message of Jesus should be spiritually dumbed down. You deserve to know that Christianity is supposed to be experiential spirituality where you have an experience with God that is life altering, and life affirming--- assuring you that the God Who created you loves you enough to get in touch with you. Someone should tell you that you can know God, hear from Him, experience the spiritual and learn what He thinks is best for you. Real Christians focus on what God wants,knowing that will be best for them. The truth is it's all about Jesus, not about us. How you relate to Jesus and others in love is what you are seeking. I pray you find a Church focused on leading you to Jesus and a totally real experience with Him. If i can be of any help in that search feel free to contact me at larryarendas@charter.net.

Eebs said...

Thank you all for your comments! Man, I haven't done a very good job of responding to them, have I?! I have a lot going on over here; I apologize.

Josh: I emailed you but have yet to hear a response. If you didn't get the email and still want to talk, please comment again!

Anonymous: Your concerns with the project are fairly commonplace, I'm learning. I hope we haven't offended you, and I'll try to address some of the issues you're bringing up soon.

Anonymous said...

I had a very different impression when I visited Solid Rock Church. I felt very welcomed although the size can be a little over-whelming when you don't know anyone. But I felt there was a sincereity there unlike any place I've ever been.

I too heard a sermon on abortion and gays; however, I believe that since the Bible talks about these 2 issues, that it is a preachers duty to talk about it too. If they don't, I feel they are duing an injustice to those they are speaking too. I feel that anything the Bible teaches should be relayed to me so I was not offended by that at all.

I do agree that the pulpit should not become a political platform to support any particular canidate; however I think it is ok to encourage your people to support those who are morally correct. From that point on it is up to the individuals to decide. I didn't see anything really political on my visit.

And I guess I understand both views on the Jesus Statue. I don't know if I pastored a church if I would choose to spend the money to build it, but I don't condemn them for it. I figure they are the one's answering to God on how they spend their money so why should I judge that.

I did hear a very moving testimony while I was there of someone who came to the church because of the Jesus Statue and they ended up giving their life to Christ while visiting. They said they never would have came if it wasn't for the statue. By no means am I saying the statue made them a Christian but I guess if it draws people there its worth it. I was raised in church and I may not remember where but I know somewhere in the Bible it says you can't put a value on a soul. (I'm parapharsing.)

I really questioned the cost of the statue and wondered why they would spend that instead of helping others too. My co-worker, who has been a member of that church for several years said that they spent over 2 million dollars in missions last year alone. They had some sort of adoption program, a home for troubled teens, and orphanages in South America. She also told me of several other things the church does.

I'm trying not to be critical, as that has always been a problem for me. So looking at it objectively, it looks like they are doing more than most churches I've seen. 2 million dollars is a lot of money just to help others.

I still don't know what I would do if I pastored the church, but I guess I don't have too. If peoples lives are being touched and they are helping others, more power to them.

If I decided to go back to church, I would consider this place. The hardest thing would be finding your place in a church that size, but it seems like they support good causes.

My opinion on anything is you have to experience it for yourself before you make a judgement call. I appreciate you all sharing your experience, but I think it is important for people to find out for themselves. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Everyone likes different things so try it out. With all the reviews I heard, I was pleasently surprised!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other anon post here. You cannot accurately measure the value of something spiritual by using carnal indicators or standards. (Definition of carnal: not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly; pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites.)

Carnal pertains to our feelings. Just like the other person posted, our feelings will always tell us "bigger and flashier is better." But Jesus came into this world lowly, meek, and poor -- not flashy, put up in the best hospital during his birth, and then driven to his beachfront mansion-home in a Porsche! The problem with our feelings is they can lead us down the wrong road. Anyone who murders or commits adultery (or worse) is being led by their feelings instead of being led by the TRUTH of what is RIGHT versus what is WRONG. Your own conscience is a small measure of God’s Spirit, in a way, because it is what tells you the difference between right and wrong. The word “conscience,” means: con=with, science=knowledge. So every time you violate God’s moral law, you do it “with knowledge.” Your feelings come into play when you ignore the conviction (which is that feeling of guilt or shame). As time goes on, it gets easier and easier to ignore your conscience (a process also called “hardening your heart” in the Bible), and easier and easier to follow your feelings instead. But the Bible says that King Rehoboam “did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” And, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is where feelings will lead you into error. In a good Joyce Meyer teaching ("Fickle Feelings"), she says, “I can go to bed feeling one way and wake up feeling the complete opposite! Your feelings can let you down because sometimes they’re not there when you need them to be, or they’re there when you don’t want them to be!” Every human, if they are honest, can relate. How can we trust our feelings? They will let us down and change on a whim!

Doctrinal integrity should be the #1 concern for Christians when they are evaluating a church. I realize that does not apply to you, but perhaps it will apply to some of your readers. I don’t care how nice-looking the preacher is, how expensive his suit is, how much energy he has, whether he uses slang or “low English” or whether he speaks Oxford English – none of that matters if he is not faithful to the integrity of the Bible. Whether the Bible is the infallible Word of God is another matter of debate, because to be a Christian, you have to believe in the words of the Bible – Jesus and all of his disciples quoted the Old Testament, so it’s clear that they “took it literally.” How much more should we take the Bible literally? The very word Christian means “little Christ,” or “to be like Christ.” I don’t care how adamantly a person affirms that they are a Christian. If they are not “like Christ,” then they are not truly Christians, and the only way we can know how to be “like Christ” is to follow His teachings in the Bible, whether they make us uncomfortable or not, and whether they “go along with what we have been taught since we were born” or not. There are young Christians who don’t look much like Christ yet, I realize, but there should be an ongoing forward progression in their faith walk. We are always being transformed and sanctified (i.e. cleaned up of all the “junk” in our lives that is not pleasing to God), but it is apparent in some “Christians” that they are not truly converted -- they have no plans to give up their sins. They have not surrendered to Christ – they are still doing things their own way with no desire (or intention) to change.

When it comes down to it, if the music director has the best voice IN THE WORLD, does it matter if he is an adulterer or a hypocrite or follows the practices of Satanists when he goes home? No, what matters is that the church is faithful to the integrity of the Bible – from Genesis 1:1 all the way to the last word of Revelation: “Amen.”

If I were to look at the example of John the Baptist as a benchmark for “ministerial success,” I would be floored. This man didn’t wear Fubu, Columbia, Nike, or Sketchers. He would’ve probably had matted honey in his beard and wore a homemade clothing made of camel’s hair, if you can imagine how socially “distasteful” that might’ve been. He did not have a big church building with flashy lights, loud speakers, or attractive bulletins announcing his upcoming events and services. Even to the people that came to him to be baptized, he yelled, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” So he wasn’t preaching a nice, soft, inoffensive, “seeker-friendly” message to appeal to his listeners to get them to come back and pay their tithes, either. I think it is clear that John didn’t care what people thought – he only cared what God thought. Jesus said of John the Baptist: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Least? Who wants to be least these days? Who wants to work and not get a pat on the back or a raise? Who wants to have church in a mud hut in Africa where there are no speakers or lights or even running water? To be honest, I’m a Christian, and that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me either, in more ways than one or two. I prefer showers every day, to hop in my car and go where I want to go when I want to go, and a refrigerator full of food…and I don’t like bugs! I couldn’t even imagine what they do for certain hygiene needs! But if God calls me to do just that, I would have to lay my fickle feelings aside and go. To be in His will is all fulfillment in this life – to be out of His will is to lack all peace.

I know people get hung up on what to take literally in the Bible and what not to take literally. But God gave us all some common sense! You take literally what you can take literally, otherwise you take it figuratively. When Jesus told a parable, he almost always followed it with an explanation – not much mystery there! When someone had a dream or vision, the explanation was given. There are types and shadows to be interpreted, but that is when you take the whole Bible as one complete unit and discern what it is saying – a practice that people who don’t read the Bible are not capable of, simply because they do not know what that “unit” says. And sadly, many “Christians” these days do not even read their Bibles. Many churches are in some level of apostasy – they are lukewarm, lack the power of God, and don’t even hold to the foundational Biblical truths, much less the deeper teachings. And that is why you cannot judge Jesus by his followers, or someone that calls themselves Christian, or a church that calls itself a Christian church. The followers and Christians and churches have to be judged by the Bible – not the other way around!

I’ve read over and over where you have said, “the preachers views didn’t line up with my beliefs.” At what point did you ever expect Christian doctrine to line up with your non-Christian beliefs, I wonder?

Out of all the things people put faith in – the brakes in their car, the driver of the bus they ride, the pilot and ground crew of the airplane they’re flying in next month – I don’t see what is so hard about putting their faith in God and His Word, except perhaps that they are looking for God in all these things that do not amount to God. Church should be a reflection of God, but you cannot know, unless you evaluate that church by the Bible’s standards, whether that church is effectively portraying God’s character or not!

Whether you become a Christian or not does not help or hurt me either way, but I hope that you eventually do. Your blog is somewhat interesting in its function, but your life is not something to play games with! And I God is love, but if there was no greater man born of a woman than John the Baptist, and he preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” instead of a sermon that is designed simply to make you feel good about yourself or a specific church/denomination, I can assume that REAL love is telling you the truth – Repent, because every one will stand before the judgment throne of God, and we have ALL sinned and fallen short of His standard. Thankfully, He has already paid the price through Jesus – but I hope you’ve already heard that at some of the churches you’ve been to! (It’s scary, but many churches don’t even touch on “how to be saved!!” That’s how far-off “churches” have gotten from the original apostolic message!!) Yes, many churches today (particularly in “westernized” nations) are severely lacking – not even remotely resembling the God they claim to worship. To measure God by the church is just a bad method, particularly in these “last days” about which God warned: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.” This may apply to “unbelievers” as well, but I think it applies to people who claim to be Christians!

To all the Christians out there who are trying to market Christianity or make it more appealing to people, I have the answer! Seek the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you! God knows every person individually and intimately – if you want to know how to reach the lost, get on your knees and ask Him!

Humbly signed,
IHS
figlia_del_dio@yahoo.com

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14