Monday, September 25, 2006

Sacred events in secular places

The church I go, National Community Church, meets in a theater and a coffee shop.

I think the church is great and Pastor Mark has a real vision worth supporting. I have no complaints about the body of Christians - plenty of Jesus-loving, do-gooders among us.

What I do have a little problem with is the physical space. Space in a dense urban setting is at a premium and it usually means that when a church grows it moves to the suburbs and leaves the urban community. Pastor Mark is committed to the Capitol Hill area and refuses to move to Virginia or Maryland. Therefore, he has used the space he has, a theater and a coffee shop. A smart move.

Additionally, Pastor Mark believes it is a lot easier to invite someone to a church service that is held in the local cinema or the local coffee shop than a church with a steeple. I couldn't agree more. Is there anything less intimidating then going to the local cinema?

Pastor Mark talks about "redeeming secular spaces" for the sacred. I like that too.

You know what I don't like? Trying to praise Jesus and not knock over my neighbors latte. Or to try to fathom the glory of God in the same seat I watched 'The Gridiron Gang' 12 hours earlier. I'm not much of a traditionalist. I left the Roman Catholic Church at 17. I don't like the standard church liturgy, so we went to HTB in London. We arrived in DC and eschewed a church full of great people because the worship was very formal and traditional. Yet, the lack of a true sacred space does take away from my worship. It takes me an extra long time to get into a worshipful mood. I have to actively focus on Jesus rather than be overwhelmed by God's presence like I get in a regular church. I don't know if there is an answer to my problem, but I revisit it each week.

What about my audience? Does where you worship effect how you worship? Any advice for me?

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