You think all churches are the same? And that they have the same type of service and talk about the same types of things? Well Then you're Wrong! I've recently had three very different church experiences.
First there is the church I regularly attend, which is City Church Chicago, a non-denominational church which is held each week in a small theater space. Normally about 200 people attend each service. The people who perform during the service are normally hipsters and the songs they play are very urban chic, with an uplifting message. The Pastor and his wife are very young and trendy. He reads from an iPad and his messages are very modern and relatable. I noticed that most of the congregation has the bible downloaded right there on their phones. In fact, we are encouraged to be on our phones and spread the word via social media while in church.
The second church is Willow Creek Community Church located in South Barrington or downtown Chicago. It’s also non-denominational and I've gone to this church since high school. I hadn't been in a while and decided to go with my family to the Christmas service. This church was much more theatrical, almost as theatrical as the Christmas Carol. I found this church to be much more conservative and less innovative. The pastor had his notes on cards of paper and no one was on their phone. The Pastor told the story of Christmas in such a beautiful way. He spoke between each act of the play and even showed videos. And at the end of it was a huge manger that took up the entire stage. The music consisted of traditional Christmas songs, with a unique twist. There had to have been at least 3 thousand people at the service and the church was only two thirds of the way full!
The third church I went to was my grandmother’s Lutheran church, Martin Luther Church. I went to the service with my 90-year-old grandmother and her friends. The service was extremely conservative, definitely the most conservative of the three. The church had traditional pews and traditional music; I hadn't sung a hymn in years. The offering was collected in the flat trays that were passed down each isle. The church had about 50 parishioners and I only saw 2 children. I found myself getting choked up at my grandmothers church because I realized that the elder generations are the forgotten ones. You should have seen my grandmothers face when I arrived, she was so shocked and excited that I showed up to surprise her for her birthday.
It was amazing how different the 3 churches were. Out of the three I think I took less from my grandma’s church. Willow Creek was beautiful but very theatrical. My grandmother’s church was very traditional and less relatable. I definitely feel that I take the most from the City Church of Chicago. I feel so good and connected; the church is progressive and the messages are significant to my daily life.
At the end of the day the message is the same and I'm so glad that I was able to experience these different services. It's good to know that there are so many different options for people who want to get a closer relationship with God!
-Gina <3 <3