20 April 2005

Church & Worship

When we made our decision to separate from the military, pack up our things and move to central Florida, we didn't have an exact location in mind. We had an idea of where we would look for housing, but we knew that we had to get down here before we could clarify that. To top it off, we also didn't know ANYONE in central FL. But, one bit of comfort and familiarity that I looked to was that Dr. R.C. Sproul taught at a church somewhere down in this area. Only 2 weeks before we departed Oklahoma, I discovered that the church was actually in Sanford, FL, which happened to be very close to where we projected to move. So, I started doing research on churches in the area, but our original intent was to visit Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford. So, Steve found a rental in Deltona which is only ~20 min. away from Sanford. Our intent was to visit a few other reformed churches in the area, but once we visited St. Andrews. . .we stayed. . .and became members. I was so thrilled to attend worship at a church where I could get challenged and taught theology. I've really learned to value and cherish such teachings and church experiences over the years.

I grew up in a church with tradtional praise and worship services, but since becoming a Christian in college, I've attended churches that tended to fall on the contemporary side of the spectrum. I can't say one is better than another, I just appreciate both of the styles with their variations in beauty of expression of worship. St. Andrews is probably the most traditional church I've ever attended, and what strikes me the most as a difference in worship attitude from the congregation is the reverence and respect afforded to one another and the teaching pastor throughout the service. Although contemporary services seemed less pretentious to the meek-hearted searching for a church to call home, they also seemed highly distracting and unstructured. The focus of the speaker to the congregation seemed to lie upon the "new Christian" or "faith-seeking" attendant at a contemporary service. Whereas, the focus at Saint Andrews tends to be on teaching, discipling, and growing Christians in God's word.

I don't think one style of worship service is exclusive to a particular audience-type, but I think the structure and organizational flow changes with respect to the focus of the various outreach. With regards to the musical praise component, I enjoy, once again, singing old hymns and reflecting upon the richness of the theology wrapped up in each verse. . . coupled with a full choir and string ensemble is a beautiful expression of worship and praise to God. Similarly, I love a raw voice leading voices in worship accompanied by an acoustic guitar--something that I miss.

I like to live a life of no regrets, but to have no regrets is to not acknowledge your past mistakes from which you learn and grow. Due to our current situation of contstant commuting and studying, we are not nearly as involved and plugged in to our church as we have been at churches in the past. We appreciate those that do reach out to us to include us in the Saint Andrew's community although our participation is limited. I do wish we could get involved more, but it's tough right now. . . but we do what we can to attend events (and only seasonally participate in the choir). Meanwhile, we savor the teachings of the Bible by Dr. Sproul and Rev. Parsons--a tremendous experience.

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