Changes Coming to ChangePoint?

[img_assist|nid=123770|title=ChangePoint Entry Sign|desc=ChangePoint’s presence is announced by this sign on Raspberry Road as one turns in to the church property.|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=167]
[img_assist|nid=123771|title=ChangePoint Facility|desc=A tasteful transition to a church from the previous occupant, ASI.|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=230]I had been hearing a bit about ChangePoint prior to my visit on January 20, 2008 and wanted to experience one of their services. ChangePoint is easy to find being located in the old ASI facility on Raspberry Road just east of Minnesota at 6689 ChangePoint Drive. The 11:30 a.m. service was chosen and I arrived a bit early. No one greeted me or acknowledged my presence.

Lots of music
ChangePoint is very music heavy. According to my calculations there was 40 minutes of music performed, for the most part, by a 9 musician band, quite good, quite loud, and quite long. In many contemporary worship services today, it has been my observation and that of other church scholars, that music is used to generate a desired response in the worshipers. To illustrate, on cue, as the sermon was concluding, the keyboardist came out and started playing to heighten the mood as the pastor concluded his remarks. To this reviewer, there were no recognizable songs, but thankfully, the words were projected on screens. In the future, I’ll devote several blog posts to the controversy about trends in church music today.

Senior Pastor had invitation he couldn’t refuse
The pastor this day was Dan Jarrell who started by noting that Karl Clauson, the lead pastor, would not be delivering the message, the final in a 4-part series he had been giving, as he’d been offered skybox tickets to attend the Green Bay Packer playoff game. The audience laughed, applauded, and shrieked their approval. I was taken aback!

How much different would Christianity be today had Paul, on the road to Damascus, decided to attend the Syria vs. Israel donkey pull? The message was well delivered. Taken from James, the message (Don’t Blink: Live Strong) was about dealing with trials and tribulations, advice to the early Christian church. It was easy to follow, due to the use of fill-in blanks in the bulletin, and the large screens. There was an obvious Martin Luther King tie-in to the message.

Something hiding?
Like many of today’s mega churches, it is easy to slip in and slip out of services like this. I’ve heard this church has an active small group focus, which may explain some of the coldness at large group services. Maybe the real warmth is seen in the small groups. I’ve heard about this church over the past couple of years and its work in the community.

Unfortunately, as with many of today’s churches, I entered, exited, was entertained, and left feeling empty.

(I understand there have been some changes in the pastoral staff since this visit. ChangePoint will be targeted for another visit later this year.)

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