Sunday, November 04, 2007

Eastside Christian

One of my favorite things about vacation is that I get the chance to visit other churches. While visiting my parents this weekend, we jumped across the Ohio River and visited Eastside Christian Church. I'd been tracking this church for several years and had never visited for a weekend worship service. As a pastor, it is virtually impossible to visit a church without analytical eyes, so I thought I might give a short review of my experience.

Positives
  • I got to worship with the Brown family. Tom & Barb were youth coaches when I was in junior high and I've always thought the world of them. I'll share more on them in a later post.
  • A couple of years ago Eastside outgrew their existing church building so they purchased an empty theater in the Milford area and customized it. This facility is stinkin' sweet!
  • They had a coffee shop and even gave away free coffee in the lobby and the best part...you could take it to your seat:)
  • Their welcoming team was fabulous. As we entered the lobby we found a room designated "Guest Central". Upon entering we were warmly greeted by several volunteers who welcomed our family and took us to where we needed to be. One team member took Jennifer to check in Jalen and another team member escorted me to drop off Emrie and Christian. They hit a home run in this category!
  • The worship bulletin was ascetically pleasing; great design and very uncluttered.
  • This next item may sound insignificant, but to those who like their space, it's not. My wife commented on their seating. They had inter-locking chairs in their worship center which gave people "designated seating space".
  • They had Bibles in the chairs, referenced the page numbers during the message and even told people who didn't have a Bible, they could take a copy home to keep.
  • Before entering into a song that referenced the blood of Jesus, their worship leader took a minute to speak to those in the audience who may have been seekers. He mentioned that it may sound a bit weird to sing about blood, and then he went on to explain the gospel and why as believers, the thought of Jesus' blood is so precious. It was simple and yet well done and made the song that much more powerful.
Areas for improvement (like they're asking:)
  • Their signage from the main road was non existent, making it somewhat hard to find.
  • Their on campus signage for first time guests was not very good, though I did find my way to "Guest Central".
  • They had a few technical glitches that most people would not have caught; like the words weren't on their screen for part of a song, they lost a camera feed for a few seconds, a couple of audio pops, etc.
  • The biggest "weirdness" for me was that the people didn't seem to participate in worship. The band was great and I guess people were more apt to watch than participate. But then again, maybe they had a lot of seekers in the audience and the whole singing thing is a bit unique to non-Christians. I missed Greenville's worship!
Overall it was a great church and a fabulous visit. If you're in the Cincinnati area I would highly recommend paying a visit to our brothers and sisters on the east side. I think you'll like it.

3 comments:

Rebecca Jo said...

Glad you enjoyed your time abroad - but we missed you & your gang at GCC!

Mickey said...

I couldn't help but comment on coffee in the worship service. I know that Northside Christian allows everyone to take their drinks into the service and I have heard more than one person say they really love the worship at Northside but noticed that not very many really get into it. I had to smile when you mentioned Eastside and your observations about their involvment in worship. Maybe those that are not "getting into" the praise and worship are more concerned with their drinks. I realize that this was instituted to appeal to the seekers, however it is a real pet peave of mine, that we are so soft that we cannot go an hour or so without our favorite drink in our hand. Worship should not be like going to the movies.

Lynn said...

Actually, I have to agree with Mickey (and NO, I don't ALWAYS agree with him! If you know me, you know that much!!!)

I really don't care for the whole concept of taking your stuff with you into service. How can you fully give your attention to praising God and listening to the message if your are focused on your coffee/latte/softdrink etc? I mean, come on, can't you go an hour without a sip of something?

Church shouldn't be turned into a "social club", it should remain a place of worship where Christ is the center of our attention. The only drink on our minds should be a drink of the living water!