Well, now that the sleep schedule is all out of whack (which it probably would be anyway), I can report that my visit to River Pointe Church out in Richmond was an enjoyable experience. Yes, it feels weird calling a 3000-seat church "small," but that's what it feels like for me, at least. I visited with some good friends, so I had the luxury of not walking in totally cold. Nice facility in a new subdivision. The attendance registered for last week was 2,930.
The band has a curious mix of being a bit lighter musically than you'd get at Lakewood, but I have to hand it to them for letting the occassional electric guitar work shine through. A few songs I'm familiar with from Lakewood's song list. The first song the band started with was "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor. I've seen a few blog discussions about churches using secular music here and there, but this tune struck me as far less scandalous as some other choices around the nation.
River Pointe definitely has more of a suburban feel to the place, though. That puts me out of my element a bit. But since we get a good deal of Saturday members who also attend some of the big Sugar Land area churches, I'm thinking there's a ready supply of people who might fit in far more comfortably.
Pastor Kelley was entertaining, with the sermon series being "Love, Sex, & the 747 - Reaching our Cruising Altitude: A Flight Plan for Intimacy." A bit gimmicky, but I hear that's what all the kids do these days. Sunday's was a sermon on. Normally, I'd beg off of voluntarily sitting through sermons aimed that far outside of my situation, but this wasn't an option here. Besides, Pastor Kelley made a good fit of the sermon for singles as well.
The church is nondenominational, which aids in the comfort-level department. According to the website's history of the church:
River Pointe's inspiration originates with Senior Pastor, Patrick Kelley. Growing up, he was entirely disconnected from traditional church. "In fact," he says, "in my experience, there wasn't a single church that understood me or spoke my language."
Patrick's experience has become a powerful force behind River Pointe's desire to reach people. Under his leadership, River Pointe has made strides in breaking down stereotypical attitudes regarding Christianity. His ministry style focuses on leading people in to relationships with others-- both in and outside the faith--and ultimately in to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sounds familiar ... and all too common. Talking over this background info with friends, there's a close parallel to the type of folks making it to River Pointe as there is a Lakewood: people burned by other church experiences and young families. There weren't as many old-timers at River Pointe, but when you consider that the subdivision the church resides in is less than a few years old, that's to be expected.
If you've got a spare Sunday, make the trip and check it out. There's a big Meet & Greet for visitors & newcomers happening on September 17th after services. There's also an Arts & Music Festival happening on October 6th.
Next week, I'll try and follow up this whole "being awake on Sunday morning" thing by visiting Life Fellowship Church here in my own neck of the woods. It ought to be fun .... I have no idea what to expect.