It’s a God thing
I used to be surprised that special things frequently happened when I went to church—there’d be a special presentation or a visiting pastor or some such. It’s an occupational hazard that everything in this column kind of takes on a bigger-than-life significance, and mere coincidence sometimes feels a little extra-worldly. But you know me, life is more of an adventure than a job, so I don’t mind that occasionally I’ll go to a yoga class and get impressed by a Christian group that’s studying a more-or-less scientific pursuit about how to form Christian communities. And then for that specialized knowledge to be directly applicable to the topic of discussion at the very next church I visited, well, as I say, I call it coincidence, but I’d guess the pastors at Hope Community might call it a “God thing.”
I would heartily recommend the pastors at Hope Community introduce themselves to Randy Siever, the executive director of Doable Evangelism (“Shoulder to Shoulder,” RN&R, Oct. 8) because it seems—from the outside—that these guys might have some things worth discussing. I’m just saying. But then, what do I know? In Northern Nevada, they’re probably in the same softball league.
Hunter and I made our way over to Hope Community for the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday. We, of course, ran across a special experience. It was the church’s third anniversary celebration. Instead of having a sermon per se, pastor Bill Sherman and associate pastor Bryan Meyers sat on the stage and informally told the story of how Hope Community came to be, the trials and triumphs of the development of the community. I thought this was very cool, an oral tradition that many families and other types of communities could emulate.
The church is in a business park off Double Diamond and South Meadows parkways. We arrived just a few minutes before the service was about to start, so we headed right into the sanctuary, but we didn’t have to be that worried about it. I noted a quarter of the congregation didn’t arrive until we were 20 minutes into the singing. The sanctuary was large and roughly triangular, probably 200 padded chairs set out, with room for another 100 or so. The room was oriented toward one corner where the stage was. Atop the stage was a full retinue of musicians and instruments. There were two big screens and a simple cross above, and a bunch of gift-wrapped boxes scattered around.
From a musical point of view, the sound was excellent. I mean clear as a bell. A lot of these modern evangelical churches have great sound systems but only use them for loud volume instead of great tone. The musicians were tight, but I felt like the congregation was a little disconnected, uninspired somehow. Turns out the music leaders were new, and the congregation probably hadn’t made the connection yet.
Suffice it to say, all of the surroundings were technically and technologically very sound and comfortable. The congregation skewed young, probably a mid 30s mode.
Hunter and I had a relaxing and invigorating time at Hope Community, but I had a little trouble putting my finger on the reasons for this. After some deliberation, I think it was because, even though this is clearly a Bible-based, Christian church, with pastors who quote scripture in the course of their conversation, that morning we were not preached at. We were told kind of a family history, and by telling us their story, the pastors included us in their family. By describing their overcome obstacles and their hopeful plans within the larger community—the family secrets if you will—we had more of a life experience than a church experience.MUSIC