Friday, October 3, 2008

Visiting Stonebridge

Sarah and I are involved with a church plant in Boiling Springs called Threshold. Over the next few months we'll be visiting other plants to see what they're doing and ask them some questions. I'm going to be blogging some of my impressions of the churches we visit. The first church we visited was Stonebridge in Powdersville. The church is one year old.

The greeters met as we got out of the car and told us exactly where to take the kids to get them checked in. After we checked them in there was some confusion about the quickest way to get to the auditorium. I asked one of the greeters and he directed us there.

They seemed to have a simple system for checking in the kids. You told them his/her name and they gave you a name tag for him. When you checked them out you signed a form next to his/her name. They never asked if he was allergic to anything or if he was potty training. Not a big deal unless your child is allergic to something.

I know that ALOT of churches are this same way but how did they know that I was Henry's father. Could someone else have come and signed him out? You could give the parent a tag with a number on it that the parent has to give. An easier way would probably be to just ask for the birthdate. Any parent should know that.

Moving on, I felt like we were sufficiently greeted when we walked in by people who weren't "greeters". They had coffee and I think they had pastries available. They also had a table with some church materials and other stuff.

They started the countdown clock and then the band came up and played a song. After one song a guy came up and did an official welcome and told us to greet those around us. I like it when churches to that. It gives you more of a chance to greet someone if they were missed on the way in. I think the three piece band played 3 songs and then the pastor came up. Ryan and I agreed that they were pretty mellow song choices. They definitely didn't do anything I would call upbeat.

I liked the 3 piece band though. I'm sure it makes practice alot easier than what's at North Point. I would maybe want a 4 piece though. I'm considering trying to lead playing electric instead of acoustic now. That kind of depends on if I can borrow an electric from someone on Sundays though.

I thought the flow of the service was good. The lights usually dimmed when someone else came up and there weren't any long pauses. He talked about being a servant. He washed the feet of someone who does some behind the scenes work at the church and then we took the Lord's Supper. It was very well done and very memorable.

After that the band played and then he made the dreaded announcements. Anyone who really knows me knows that I'm not a fan of announcements. It really jerks you away from connecting with God and puts you into a board room meeting. We spoke with him later and he said that he doesn't like doing them that way either and it's pretty rare that he does.

When that was over we got the grand tour and went to lunch with the pastor and his wife at Sonny's(Ryan's favorite). We got some pretty good insight like they haven't done any advertising. I'm not sold on advertising yet. We've done alot a North Point but I'm not sure how many people actually came because of it. I would rather do some advertisement up front to get some awareness of the church into the community and then pour that money into other things to improve the community. Let's get involved with local events to get our name out there.

So a quick run down:
1. Greeters were good but need to be more aggressive about telling visitors to park in the front.
2. Improve child check-in system. This can be done with no additional cost.
4. More upbeat songs.