I've had quite a few Chicago burb experiences so far that have made me think "Wow! I'm definitely not in Kalamazoo anymore!" (some that I can't even blog about). But this mornings church service was probably the most dramatic of those experiences.
The fam and I went to one of those "mega churches" for the first time. I know they have mega churches all over the place, and maybe this will be a boring blog post for some of you, but we've never been to one.
Why did we pick that church out of all the hundreds around here?
*we didn't know it was a mega church....from the road it didn't seem that big.....
*we were members at the biggest church in Kalamazoo before we moved (some even teased us that it was a mega church--NOT)....we kinda like big churches.....
*a friend of ours, who used to live in a burb nearby (and worked for FCA hint-hint) recommended it...
*and they gave me a FREE coffee mug a while back (I'm a sucker for free stuff!--I still can't decide which dentist to choose cuz I got a free toothbrush from 2 different dentists in my Welcome Wagon Lady pack--oh the dilemma!)....
so why not?
We knew the minute we pulled into the parking lot that we weren't in Kansas....I mean Kalamazoo anymore! Back in kzoo we had one parking lot attendant (just for exiting)....this place reminded me of Cedar Point parking. There were people in bright orange vests with orange light sabers all over the place. They just kept waving you on to drive deeper into the depths of the parking lot where you see another attendant and another and another until they directed you into a spot. Mac says "I hope they have letters on the light posts like Meijer so we can find our car!" (they didn't)
The inside reminded me of the center of a mall....you know, kinda by the food court or something. There was a big round info desk at the center. To the right was a bookstore (kinda weird if you ask me). Moving counter-clockwise, the entrance to the auditorium was next to that. A coffee/food shop next to that....It seemed that some people just skip breakfast and come in early and eat and drink coffee and hang out....hmmm.....could be fun. Next to that was the youth center which was like nothing I've ever seen before. Another cafeteria area (much larger) was in there with separate areas for lounging, pool tables, Foosball, upright video games, TVs everywhere....that's all I could take in with the couple of minutes we stood there trying to look like we weren't gawking.....it was HUGE. We didn't even go into the childcare building....
The auditorium was big and dark with two big screens on either side of the stage and it was packed!
Funny how we sat where we always sit when we are at our church in kzoo....to the left of the center section....maybe some kind of subconscious comfort thing?
The music was a little more "rock concert" than our old church, but nothing too stunning. I will say something here though.....everyone on stage was extremely good looking.
**disclaimer alert** the author of this blog is in no way saying that the people on stage in our kzoo church were not attractive! They are some "fine" looking people up there too.....I'm just sayin....it was a little freakish how good looking these people were....Abbey, Mike and I discussed it afterward (I had to make sure I wasn't crazy). Here's an Mac quote "I don't like to mix God and people that good looking together" Hubby and I looked at each other "huh?" Mac continues "It's too distracting! DUHHHH!"
The preaching was Biblical and straight forward by an associate pastor (we'll have to go back to check out the senior pastor). They have a big community outreach program that we liked and could picture ourselves being part of.
We visited the welcome center on our way out and talked to a very friendly guy and got another free coffee mug (Score!---have I mentioned that I unpacked about 50 thousand coffee mugs and mutter to myself the entire time "who in their right mind has this many coffee mugs?"---I don't know what is wrong with me!)
The kids aren't too sure this church is the place for us. The guy at the welcome center gave us the name of another church to visit....but it's an offshoot of another mega church....He said there are a lot of them around here. Apparently, a lot of these offshoot churches don't have pastors preaching....they watch a DVD or a live simulcast of the pastor at the mega church on the big screens....I can't imagine that....I must have lived a pretty sheltered life there in kzoo.
I guess we'll just keep shopping.