Previously, I’ve attempted to visit First Assembly of God. A year and a half back I passed on attending after noting there were few cars in the parking lot minutes before church services were due to start. Instead, I went to another church, pleasantly discovering a wonderful life changing service.
Websites Are Important
Due to repeated functionality issues with First Assembly’s website, I put off going back until those were resolved. Websites are rapidly supplanting all other forms of advertising for churches. Churches with well designed websites are attracting significant numbers of guests, potential members. It’s my standard practice to avoid visiting churches without websites, or that have them but are not fully functional. Fully functional means they must be kept up-to-the-minute, not out-of-date by a week or more.
Attempting another visit at First Assembly on Father’s Day, I first checked their website that Sunday morning. It informed me the services started at 10:30 a.m., at least I guessed it did (see comment on website picture toward the end of this post). I also noted through a small graphic they were offering a Father’s Day brunch NEXT SUNDAY. (Note the June 13 spaghetti feed notice to the left of the brunch notice.)[img_assist|nid=152436|title=First Assembly’s Website Brunch Notice on June 20, i.e., Father’s Day|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=450|height=230]
Walking into the church at 10:30 a.m., I discovered the Father’s Day brunch underway with many people seated and eating at tables set up in the foyer and hallways. I was warmly greeted by the pastor’s wife who was serving food to those seated. She invited me to sit down to eat. I mentioned I had come to worship, not eat. (I’d already eaten and was ready for a service.) Her answer was that church would begin in a while, so I left. In the parking lot, I discovered I was not the only person who was leaving. There were others too who had come for church at the normal time.[img_assist|nid=152438|title=Are the times for worship, a picnic, or playtime? Or does this graphic indicate it’s time for church?|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=232]
Should Churches Adhere to Published Worship Times?
I think it’s wonderful to celebrate Father’s Day with a brunch. However, I believe the worship service should not be replaced by brunch, or any other distracting activity. Perhaps an earlier brunch start might have helped. Maybe it’s an Assembly of God practice to ignore set times and activities. I posted my experience with Wasilla Assembly of God earlier this year, one similar to this. (click here to read)
I was also confused by their website picture (above), unsure if the indicated times were for a picnic, playtime, or whatever. There’s no religious symbolism shown. You decide. Nothing is mentioned about worship. I look forward to a completed visit at this church, but remain convinced these experiences easily deter other potential guests.
Where Where Did the Church Visitor Go This Time?
I ended up at friendly First Christian Church (FCC) on LaTouche, pastored by relatively new Rev. Paul Boling. FCC starts on time, is visitor-friendly, and loves their fathers, including them in this Father’s Day service. They also show their Christian love, graciously fellowshipping with each other and their guest at the end of each Sunday service, sharing beverages, snacks, and conversation. What a blessing that service provided. Consistent, loving congregations are always safe havens for those seeking to experience God.