Building A Church

Today we revisited a church that we had not attended in quite a while. A friend of ours  had  relatives  there  from Texas, two of whom were going to sing. She asked that we visit  and we were most happy to do so. It was quite a good service, met some old friends and some new ones. During the service, i confess that my mind wandered a bit  in an odd direction. I wondered what kind of church would come out of a combination of features from the churches with which we have been affiliated. For example, the sanctuary from one church the music program from another and so on.

So, here we go. For technical reasons, I shall include my home church and my wife’s home church even though neither of us were formally affiliated with the other’s church. Bear in mind, these are strictly subjective, based on how these places  and I  interacted. And if one takes all the parts that assemble, they might form an odd looking church.

I have a great fondness for history and we have been part of 3 old churches with all that means in terms of facilities and grounds etc. I have an affinity for the grounds of FBC Eden, a smallish church sitting on a little hill, that has been in its locale for over 100 years. Each time I see it, it seems somehow unchanged as the first time I saw it.

First Baptist Church Eden, NC ( from flickr.com)

First Baptist Church Eden, NC ( from flickr.com)

So, we have a sanctuary, but since  my wife prefers the stained glass windows from FBC Salisbury, NC and I like what what we  called the praying hands window from  Columbus, GA. , those shall be added as well.  Already becoming complicated, huh?

Next, we need a library. For that we will somehow mesh those from Eden and Salisbury. Almost forgot, FBC Columbus had what they called a loggia. I had never heard of such, but I and my children loved it. Alas, I could not locate a picture, but I would describe it as an interior walkway witha  beautiful courtyard in the center.

Now, for a hard choice, music. I am not musically talented but i love music. We have been blessed to be in several churches with top notch music, both the traditional and the contemporary. This was tough. So, i took the Living Christmas Tree from Columbus, along with a world class organist named Rex Whiddon. The worship team comes from Rowan Cristian Assembly  in Salisbury. This was a place where I could literally lose myself in the music and I shall remember it forever. Thanks to Gay Lynn Dckens  and those who served with her at that time. Close second  to Bob Chambers at New Community Church in Elizabeth City.

As I am getting a bit lengthy, I will conclude tomorrow with more of a people focus. This church stuff is hard, is it not?


July 12, 2009 Posted by | church | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Hall To Gothard

I could have a bit of fun with the title, but no,it has little if anything to do with sports or a law firm  or politics. It refers to pastors, from my first to my current. You can learn quite a lot about my current pastor who is listed on my blogroll. And  I would invite you to do do. As for the others, that will take  a little time and space.

I have only referred briefly to my various pastors but thought it might be  interesting to do so in more depth. First, some general info and guidelines. The term pastor refers to men who led a church that we attended or I attended as members. As  has been the case in recent years we have not officially joined the churches we have regularly attended but these pastors still make the grade.

I was interested to note that there are 11 names but 12 people on my list, on e being there twice, like Grover Cleveland. With the exception of the last 2, all were older than I when I was under their ministry. Several came from Tennessee(don’t know what that says) and  a couple  from South Carolina. One played minor league baseball and one has an inexplicable attachment to the Detroit Tigers. Two were independent Baptists, two were Assembly of God,  six were Southern Baptist and one was non-denominational.

I have learned and grown spiritually under most of them, some more than others. I counted two of them as very dear friends, each of which was  a minister to me in a difficult time of life.

  • Rev. Odell Hall – Bethel Baptist Church- Eden, NC
  • Rev Eugene Wood           ”                                       “
  • Rev. Harry Wood-  First  Baptist Church – Eden, NC
  • Dr     Ken     Altom                 ”                                       “
  • Dr     Harry  Smith                ”                                        “
  • Rev.   Bob Potts                     ”                                      Columbus, GA
  • Dr       Harry  Smith              ”                                        Eden, NC
  • Dr       Cris Cannon                ”                                                 “
  • Dr       Phil  Cooley                ”                                         Salisbury, NC
  • Rev    Glynn  Dickens         Rowan Christian Assembly- Salisbury, NC
  • Rev  Clay Manos                  New Life Assembly of God- Elizabeth City, NC
  • Rev   Mike Gothard            New Community Church- Elizabeth City, NC

I owe a spiritual debt to each of these individuals . Having said that, I will attempt to explore in the coming days  what I  have gleaned from these men and what I think one should realistically expect from ones pastor.


July 5, 2009 Posted by | Christianity, church | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do You Have a Favorite Style ? ( And Should You ? ) Part I

At church today , the sermon was on ” Politically Incorrect Worship ”  and an interesting message it was . I have learned over time that a ” good ” sermon isnt always one that I totally agree with or that makes  me feel good . Today’s sermon hit the mark on both counts .

My wife was unable to attend today so she asked for a summary or synopsis or whatever when I got home . About 15 minutes later, I finished  . To her credit , she didnt complain about the length of my summary . I dont want to rehash the entire sermon per se but rather make some comments about how it affected me and some of the thoughts it generated . However , you can hear the sermon in its entirety if you wish . Go to newcommunitychurch.net sometime tomorrow and have a listen.

Over the years, due to moving etc we have attended probably 40 or more churches , some as actively involved , others as inquiring guests , others due to church responsibilities . Naturally , there are various ways /styles that worship is carried out . The music styles vary widely, due to skill levels, worship leader’s methods or proclivities etc . While music is not the end all , it does set the stage for good or bad  . We have been in churches with wonderfully talented, traditional music programs, talented ” contemporary ” music programs , good ole Southern gospel etc . We have been drawn to a church by its music and  ” turned off ” a church by its music . Must a church have good or exceptional music to have effective worship ; probably not but neither do I think falling back on Psalm 100: 1 is a valid excuse . Darlene Zschech is well known as a worship at her church in Sydney ,Australia as well as a singer and songwriter . I once read an interview in which she was asked about her role as worship leader . Two things stood out :

  • She had 20 minutes , generally , available for worship music
  • She told the interviewer that was ok, that she and the music were not the main show

That to me says that music had the appropriate but not the focal place in the service .Great attitude on her part and a good example .

I hadnt intended to devote the entire post to music related issues, so I will attempt to continue tomorrow .


November 30, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, church, Music | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments