This morning’s church was Calvary Community Church, located just outside the city limits on 5/6 sideroad.
I’ll get straight to the point – I liked this one. There are quite a few things that this church is getting right.
In no particular order, then:
I liked the decor. The outside is ‘classic North-American church’, with pillars and a spire, but the inside felt more like a nicely decorated house.
I liked the mix of people. There was a good range of ages and backgrounds represented this morning.
This might be my personal bias showing, but I liked the Pentecostal feel. The worship was heartfelt and led by a competent group, and the congregation felt quite happy responding with a lot of ‘Yes, Lord‘s and ‘Amen‘s.
The sermon lasted the best part of an hour, and I even liked that. It’s not that common to find a speaker who can take quite a lot of theological material, deliver it in a very accessible fashion, and manage to keep the whole message both cohesive and pastoral. I heard from my ‘agents’ in the Sunday School that the same material was covered during the children’s ministry. My agent was also pleased to report that her questions and contributions to the discussion were received respectfully, which has certainly not been the case in every church we’ve visited.
The message was anchored in Mark 11. In the Old Testament, God’s presence was found in a specific physical structure, the temple. But after Christ, his presence is now in humanity, enabling us to be God’s agents to one another, and for God’s ministry of reconciliation to work through us.
After the service it took a while to find someone to talk to; like many close-knit churches visitors can easily feel like outsiders. But I did get to ask my standard questions about both this particular congregation and God’s work in the city. This church, I was told, is learning to be more outward focused; learning to move into the community rather than expect the community to come to her. Furthermore, I got a strong sense of a desire to serve the city in both spiritual and practical ways.
This is definitely a common theme I’m seeing in nearly every church I visit. Regardless of the specific ministries they are engaged in, there seems to be an awareness that the church in Barrie is being called to serve the city, and especially the under-privileged, in gracious, practical ways.
Finally, I found the video that was used to start the service pretty funny: