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Sunday, May 30, 2021

My Ecumenical Walk-About... #EcumenicalWalkAbout

*This post being updated throughout the project.*

In Spring 2021, God started building in my heart the need to visit The Church throughout the region of North Idaho. While I've done many such church visitations throughout the years in different regions of the country, they were usually a more passing interest. On any particular Sunday, I was feeling wrestless so I randomly visited a church is never visited before. 

This time, it's highly intentional. 

I'm calling this season, my Ecumenical Walk-About.

My mission, as I understand it, is to visit as many different types of churches and church traditions as possible (even and especially those I would normally have discounted before even walking in the door). I'm not going to "find a new home church". That's not the point at all. My mission is to see how other bodies of believers worship God. While I am very likely to disagree with much of what I find, my goal is to find what they're doing right! What are they seeing I can learn from? Is there something they see about God or live out before God that I've been blind to or incomplete on, or less focused on in my own traditions?


These are the things I'm seeing:

Candlelight Church

Pastor Paul was soft and personable, and seemed to have a sense of the body being the ones to do the work of ministry. He knows ministry isn't all about the pastor. Multiple services provide options for everyone to attend and serve. Free coffee and donuts was a nice touch, though I'd rather buy my latte (ha ha). I felt comfortable in the room, not self conscious, so that was nice.

The Well

Hannah and Michael are a couple I've served with before at a local church. So it was nice to visit family. They began incubating this start-up church months ago in small groups. This was their first corporate gathering. A group of about twenty or so people met in a conference center at a local camp ground. Hannah, Michael, and a few others sat on the fireplace. Michael played guitar, Hannah sung worship unto God in a free flowing way she's known for, and another provided backup vocals, still another beat out a rhythm on the congo 🪘. Michael provided a message. The free flow, hippie esque, feel made my significant other happy. It would be easy to feel family in an environment like this. I imagine something similar to this is how the early churc met.

Compel Church

Pastor David talked about what happened at the transition from Jesus to The Church, and how we are called to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. I got an image of Fractal Growth. The people seem to like each other, hang out for a while before and after service. The physical structure of the room provides for that atmosphere.


Sr. Luke's Episcopal Church:

The 1800's original architecture and old wood saturate the senses, as the history of the tradition walks you into centuries of prayers and rhthym. It was nice to hear whole readings of Biblical sections. The pastor (Priest?, Victor?) gave a warm message that felt honest and authentic, which reminded the hearer to be ever-aware of the spirit of God in us. We are now, as Jesus was, "emanu-el", God with us. On this Pentecost Sunday, a reminder that the spirit of God dwells in each of us. 


Athol Baptist Church

The people gathered as family. As I arrived, people gathered around chatting, nobody in any hurry to leave. Their unique older worship style reminded me of my church growing up. Lots of talk about doing things for the community, not just in word but in deed. The message was mostly centered around building up the local body.

New Life

New Life isy home base. They've been my home church for a while. So it was nice to visit with friends. While I was there, I didn't end up in service though, because I met a guy who had a Bible question. Don't ask a biblical studies major a Bible question unless you have an hour. Ha ha... Oh well, I guess I was right where I was supposed to be.

****Didn't grab a photo that service, but, I had a good photo shared with me.***

The Well

Visited friends at The Well. This is what church is probably going to start looking like in the future, more and more as time goes on. It's good to see small local families gathering together.

Real Life

The single largest church in the region. Still small compared to what I was a part of in Texas but large nonetheless. Since this is a post about what's they're doing right, I will withhold my thoughts about the messages, I attended two locations the same day. 

They believe on a culture of discipleship, and moving everyone into family groups. The leaders disciple leaders, and small group leaders are discipled by leaders and are expected to pastor their small groups well. They have massive resources and use a large stadium, thrift store, food bank. 

They are being the hands an feet of Jesus.


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