Christian Church of Anchorage…An Invitation, Refusal, and Later Visit

[img_assist|nid=130833|title=Christian Church of Anchorage Sign|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=212]In July I received a warm invitation to attend a special service from Madelynn Robitson, a member of Christian Church of Anchorage. They were inviting me to attend a recognition and celebration honoring our troops. While, I don’t receive many invitations to visit from area churches, I told Madelynn I’d rather attend a regular service with their normal pastor speaking, and add them to my visit list. (I don’t normally pre-announce my visits but told her I’d meet her after the service I would finally attend.)

Warm Greeting
I visited this church on August 17, 2008 and was greeted warmly by a young woman who also gave me the bulletin for the service. I was further greeted by several gentlemen stand at the doors of the sanctuary. This church has a fairly small congregation but there was quite a buzz of eager conversation in the sanctuary when I arrived. With one other exception, I’ve tend to avoid visiting small churches but am glad I visited this one.

Music OK…Half Hour Standing Not!
This church has a musical group with a unique sound, three people playing guitar, drums, and piano, and singing some familiar tunes. No self-aggrandizement here, just simple music done in a contemporary and traditional Christian style. As the service started we were asked to stand to sing and we were left standing for almost HALF AN HOUR! As a regular church goer, I consider this practice to be bordering on cruel and unusual and recommend this church consider limiting this practice to a few songs. Maybe this is something peculiar to smaller churches because I’ve only experienced it so far in very small churches. Hmmmm….maybe there is an idea for church growth here. The projector for the song words was going bad and the words were hard to read. This is becoming a fairly common issue in area churches. Technology is great, but if it’s not in good working order, it’s better to dispense with it.

Would Churches Collapse Without Meet n’ Greets?
During the typical meet n’ greet I engaged a person behind me in longer than normal conversation. This is becoming my survival strategy during this dreaded phase (to me) of the service. Every church seems to do the meet n’ greet but frankly, congregations should be already be friendly and welcoming on their own without being coerced to do so.

Speedy Communion
Communion (Lord’s Supper) was served very early in the service, even before the sermon. While not annoying it was very unusual, in fact, I’ve never experienced communion so early in the service in all my years of church going. It also set records for being served faster than I’ve ever seen. There was a brief statement or two regarding church/personal finances and reminder that offering boxes were in the back. Yes!!! That’s the idea. The Lord does love a cheerful giver and one who is not coerced.

Pastor Darryl Titus presented a meaningful sermon drawn from the scripture regarding Philip and the Eunuch. He is an effective speaker, easy to follow, bible-based, drawing his illustrations meaningfully from scripture. As I was leaving he made note of my name and invited me back to a Wednesday evening fellowship which I understand it is a more casual environment.

Why One Member Chose This Church
Early on in our e-mail exchanges, Madelynn shared why she liked this church. The following is a lightly edited extract of those exchanges.
[img_assist|nid=130826|title=Madelynn Robitson|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=298]
“When I moved to Anchorage this was the 2nd church I visited and knew when I walked in the door that it was the place for me. I came from a small church of about 20 people in Massachusetts, the regular attendance for this church varies from 80-100 depending on the week. I have learned so much from working here about myself, others and my walk.

Of course there are things that I would like changed, but I think all churches could make improvements. Sometimes I think a church can lose sight of things when there are too many things going on, when outside of worship things are busy.

I love to hear other peoples stories about their walk. I struggled with the Christian belief because I grew up going to Catholic schools and they told you how to think and what to believe. I am blessed by this because I was able to learn things for myself and I think it has made me a stronger Christian.”

Yes, I Liked My Visit
I enjoyed my visit to this church and from it got a sense of the community they shared in Christ. Small churches can offer wonderful experiences. They can also work people to death unless everyone takes their fair share of the load. This church is worth a visit if you are seeking a way to get to know a great group of Christians.
[img_assist|nid=130830|title=Christian Church of Anchorage|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=140]

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