A few good people
The Rock Church
It’s pretty hard to catch me at a loss for words, but I just don’t know how to say it. I guess I’ll come right out: I was late for church on Sunday. Hunter and I walked in during the first song, and we were properly embarrassed, but the fact is, we were late.
My fault. I left with what I thought was plenty of time, but The Rock Church is about four miles off Interstate 80 on Vista, so despite my leaving at 8:35 a.m. to make a 9 a.m. launch, we were late. Yeah, lousy lede, I know, but confession is good for the soul.
I’ve wanted to attend a service at The Rock for quite some time. They used to have these commercials on KRZQ, which made the place seem pretty hip. It kind of makes sense, though, if a church wants to reach the sinners, it’s gotta be where the sinners hang out.
I believe this is the most high-tech Christian church I’ve been in. It follows the general pacing of the modern non-denominational Christian churches I’ve attended in the area. Probably reminds me most of Grace Community Church and Sparks Christian Fellowship.
The sanctuary is proscenium-styled, which is to say, kind of built like a stadium or movie theater. During the singing, it’s as dark as I’ve seen a church. The stage is large and black, with a red curtain backdrop. There are four large white abstract dividers on the stage to add depth. The band is on the stage. This week, it’s led by Pastor Dan Whittemore on guitar, who’s joined by another six-string, keyboards, drum, bass and two singers, a man and a woman. The music could be called “adult contemporary.” It’s upbeat, but not too rockin'. Pastor Whittemore has a down-home, likable voice, and people seem to have a great deal of respect for the guy. I especially liked the guitar work by Jamie Arrington in the song “From the Inside Out.”
There are three massive screens hanging above the stage. Two show close-ups of the actions on stage, while the middle one shows information relevant to the proceedings—lyrics, salient sermon points and such. There’s also a very simple—picture two pieces of four by four—free-standing cross on the stage.
After a short message from creative arts director Josh Estes (who is on a leave of absence because of the birth of his new child), the congregation warmly shook hands and greeted one another. “Good Rock Morning.”
For the month of September, the ministers have been sermonizing around the theme of “Living in Hi-Def,” which made a comparison between the way the new high-definition televisions receive and transmit information and the way people receive and transmit the word of God. “The word of God falls on everybody, but they receive it different,” said Pastor Art Lenon.
Lenon worked quite a few pop references into his teaching. Hush Puppies, which grew from sales of 30,000 to 400,000 pairs of shoes in the space of a year or two, was one example. The explosion in sales could be traced back to a few dancers in a discothèque who spread the word of the shoes’ comfort and made the ugly footwear popular.
“That’s the law of the few,” he said. “A few people caught the vision and carried it across the nation.” He related this pop reference to Barnabas from Book of Acts, Chapter 9, who through his words—standing up for Saul of Tarsus, a former persecutor of Christians—was able to launch a time of growth for early Christianity.
Want to introduce Brian to your place of worship? Call 324-4440 ext. 3525.