Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I first missed a service at CLCA on March 7th 2004. There was a really good feeling there after the service though. It had been a baptism service, and the thronging atmosphere was so friendly, that it was hard to shake the feeling that there were people around who I knew. (In fact I had come with people I knew, but they didn't count!) :)

Since then I've made several plans to stop in one Sunday, yet repeatedly only got there for the end of a service, or on one occasion to find the service had been replaced with a Christmas pantomime.

Tonight Flatmate Dave and I showed up in good time for the start of the service, only to find ourselves faced with a visiting guest-speaker. Said speaker proceeded to deliver what was, to all intents and purposes, a prosperity message, a perspective that I always feel only tells a part of the story, and one that God will not apply to everyone.

The lady next to me gushed enthusiastically "This is the only church I've ever been to where I haven't felt condemned!" And indeed the sermon reflected this. I had to wonder if maybe they were missing a tiny unpopular part of the puzzle.

Today, though I didn't feel condemned, I did find it easy to feel intimidated by a church with 8,000 members. Everyone doesn't know everyone else. There are so many people on the stage, that they surely can't all know each other either. There are signs and cords up telling you where you're not allowed to go. Something about so much packaging always makes me feel a little distanced and distrustful. Perhaps I should trust as much as the lady next to me appeared to.

There are billions of different people on the planet, requiring loads of different types of churches. I just prefer the cosiness, intimacy and, yes, trust of a smaller one, that's all.

Afterwards Dave and I enjoyed a coffee in their café and resolved to come back again yet another time, in the undying hope of experiencing a full regular service.


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