Today we had a unique experience at the church we visited. The service was held in an active theatre. It was a fairly large cinematic facility with many movies being shown there but on Sunday morning the church takes over.
They had a welcome center and a book ministry where you could purchase various reading materials and get some coffee. As we went in it struck us how logical it was to hold a service in a place like a theater They have plenty of parking and room for people to mill about. The restrooms are already there and the theater itself was acoustically neutral so the sound people could tweak the music to utilize all sorts of special effects…like re-verb. Their offices are in a building several miles away.
The chairs were comfortable and everyone seemed friendly. We kind of smiled when the senior pastor (senior but probably younger than 50) welcomed us and warned us that the music was going to be loud where we were sitting and that we might like to sit away from the loudspeaker. We told him our home church was a college congregation and we were used to loud praise music. I guess he made some assumptions based on our grey hair. Mary did notice another fellow that looked older than us but this was definitely a young congregation.
The pastor spoke about “first” things in our lives based on Matthew 6:33. In previous weeks he shared how we should seek the things of God first in our personal lives and this week introduced a 24 day fast which he encouraged church members to participate in to exemplify starting anew at the beginning of the year and dedicate it to seeking God. The church seemed to have all the elements of an excellent congregation and we will attend again before we move to Gulf Shores.
The restaurant we wanted to eat at was not open until 11am so after church we took a walk at a park that meandered along the shores of Escambia Bay. That got our appetite going and we had a very nice salad and wheat-free pizza at Mellow Mushroom.