Friday, February 13, 2009

Vision Statement as a Visitor’s Journal Entry

Okay, so this is the vision statement for Ember as represented by a fictional personal's journal entry about their experience at the church.

I went to church this morning. It had been a while since I’ve been to church, but I kept hearing about this church called Ember, so I decided to check it out. What a weird name for a church!
I hate going to church by myself, so I took my roommate with me. We didn’t know what time the service started, so we were like 15 minutes early. I was nervous going in to the lobby, but the people at the door were really friendly. They told us we were early and said we could hang out down the hall where they had free coffee. Score! It turns out they had this coffee-shop like place there—kind of like Starbucks, but without trying so hard to be cool. There were already a bunch of people hanging out there, and I was a little intimidated, but a couple guys came up and started talking to us right away. They seem pretty cool. On Thursday they’re going to go clean up a playground in some neighborhood downtown. They invited us to go. I think I might.
We met a bunch of interesting people before the service. Everybody seemed pretty nice. They paid attention to me when I talked, and even introduced me to other people as “a cool guy.” Nobody has ever called me cool before. These people are too nice. And everyone tried to get me to go with them on some service project. I don’t know what their deal is, but it’s kind of refreshing.
When the service started the playground guys invited us to sit with them. The band played a couple of songs in the beginning. They sounded amazing, but it was weird, because it was like it didn’t even matter. Nobody was really paying attention to the music or looking at the band. Everyone had their eyes closed and was singing really loudly—especially the playground guys, who both sang horribly and didn’t seem to care who heard them. It was like nobody was trying to be heard by anyone except for God. The words of the songs meant something to them, like those lyrics were the words in their hearts that they wanted to say to God anyway.
After the first couple of songs they played a video. I’ve never heard of a church doing this before, but they played a video that highlighted another church in the city! They interviewed some people that go there and the pastor, and then one of Ember’s pastors came on and talked about what a great place that other church was. After the video the same pastor got up and prayed for that church. My roommate and I just stared at each other. “I’ve never seen that before,” he said to me.
The sermon was really good. After a while I had to start taking notes because that preacher was speaking directly to me. I haven’t had that experience in a while—where God just starts talking to me through a preacher—but that’s what happened this morning. The preacher got choked up when he started talking about the cross, and one of the playground guys started crying pretty hard. The other one just started praying for him. A couple other people came over and prayed for him, too. That almost made me cry! I think the sermon hit my roommate pretty hard, because he hasn’t said much since this morning.
After the sermon the band came back up and played five or six songs. I think they played some songs they didn’t expect to play, because the last two didn’t have the words projected. Anyway, the worship time was really moving. I even got choked up during one song, but I didn’t let the playground guy see because I didn’t want him to feel like he had to pray for me. The whole congregation was really into the worship. Everybody sang loudly and didn’t seem to care if other people thought they looked or sounded stupid. It was like God was there, and this was their one chance to worship Him together.
After the service my roommate went and talked to the pastor. I just hung back by myself—the playground guys had to go, I think to pray for people or something—but still I met a bunch of people. Everybody seemed to be genuinely glad that I was there. I got invited to like four different Bible studies this week. I might go to one, but I’ll definitely be back to Ember next Sunday.

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