Sand Lake Baptist: A Refreshing Change, Mostly

[img_assist|nid=157155|title=Sand Lake Baptist Sign on Jewel Lake Rd|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=160]On May 15 I visited Sand Lake Baptist Church located just south of Raspberry on Jewel Lake Road. I had a good visit including a warm welcome by two individuals when entering. A lively song service was in progress led by an excellent pianist/worship leader, a four-person praise group, and good congregational participation.

The singing was mostly contemporary Christian music (CCM); I enjoyed the ambience. The song, as I walked in, was being joyfully led by Senior Pastor John Priestley, in a unique free-form method. The musical portion covered the singing of about five contemporary Christian (CCM) songs, covering about one-half of the service time. However, the music, as rendered, was quite pleasing to the ear.[img_assist|nid=157156|title=Quilt Presentation to Graduating Senior – Sand Lake Baptist|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=164]

This church has a tradition of giving quilts to graduating H.S. seniors, presenting them to five graduating seniors this morning. The beautiful quilts were made by members, and signed with well wishes by members. What a wonderful tradition and definitely a first for this Anchorage church visitor! As Pastor Ian Kenny presented each quilt to the matching senior, he noted that often after graduation young adults may start moving away from involvement with the church. It was the church’s hope these graduates would remember their upbringing and the church by the quilts. [img_assist|nid=157157|title=Quilt Detail No. 1|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=263]

Pastor Kenny gave an appropriate, and well-delivered message tied to the graduation theme. I would have called it baccalaureate for seniors.[img_assist|nid=157158|title=Quilt Detail No. 2|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=281]

At no point in the service, however, were guests noted, mentioned, or welcomed. Although I enjoyed the service and felt comfortable in this under 100 attendee church, no one spoke to me before, during, or after the service. And too, guests were not excepted from giving at offering time. There was no altar call, a refreshing change for a Baptist church. My experience with altar calls is they often are a manipulative tactic, unsanctioned by scripture. Nonetheless, I recommend this church for a first-time visit if looking for a new church home. It’s small, so you’ll stand out. Please let me know how your visit goes.

Follow-Up Note: 5/30/11
I called the church a week ago and have yet to receive an answer to a couple of questions I asked. Churches should quickly answer any message call. One week is unacceptable for any church to respond. Unless some unusual circumstance has occurred, I will remove my recommendation for visiting this church. Potential visitors often call churches with questions. If churches are not answering those calls, they do not care about visitor concerns.

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