As I mentioned in a previous post, the Mad Clan has decided to do visit different houses of worship here in Knoxville every other weekend when MadBee is with us. Prior to this week, I put out a call to friends on Facebook to see if anyone had a suggestion. A friend of ours suggested we come to Fellowship Church on Middlebrook and then have lunch after. So that made it easy!
First impression was that this was a very busy church. There were police and cones out on Middlebrook helping to keep orderly the traffic coming out of the 9 a.m. service and in to the 11 a.m. service. We attended the latter, but got there in plenty of time. MadDoc, MadZee, MadBee and I were all in attendance. The Mad Grandmas decided to sleep in.
The people were very friendly. Everyone greeted us with a smile. The main auditorium was impressive. Different from the Catholic church from last time, but not less. Just different. As opposed to straight pews and stained glass, Fellowship had a curve to the set up, with chairbacks and multiple video screens. At the front of the auditorium was the stage where the band played and the preachers preached. The music was modern Christian and they played the lyrics on the screens for everyone to follow along.
MadBee spent her time in a separate section for 4th and 5th graders. She was reluctant to separate from us at first, but when she saw some faces she knew in there, she jumped right in. Big props, btw, to the woman who helped us get Bethany situated in the 4th/5th grade section. She walked us across the church to registration where we could sign her in and get stickers for her mom and me so that we could be the only ones to pick her up after the service. And, I’m sorry I didn’t get her name, but the nice lady also happens to be a member of the Big Blue Nation, like me stuck in Big Orange Country. Go Cats!
I can’t go on without commenting on the Donut Wall. It was a wooden wall with donuts hanging on pegs. I would have thought the donuts sitting there were for show if I didn’t see someone come up and grab one. Very cool.
Finally, I’ll comment on the communion and the preaching. This is quite a difference from our Catholic Church experience last time. They had bread and I guess you dipped it in wine or juice? I didn’t take communion, so I’m not exactly sure. It was close enough to the Catholic version that I recognized it, but something I’ve never seen before. And, evidently, they had a gluten free version.
In the service itself, where the Catholic mass is very regimented and scripted, this was more free wheeling. There were two separate preachers to come out. The first was maybe the head preacher. The second was the teaching preacher. (sorry if I’m getting the terms wrong).
The teaching preacher was very skilled. He used humor and the video screens effectively. The section he discussed was Titus 3:3-8. I pulled up the King James Version. He may have been using the English Standard Version, since some of the phrases didn’t match exactly. MadDoc and MadZee liked his presentation. I was never bored, but mostly because he was saying some things that rubbed me the wrong way.
First, I found it interesting that he did an explicit slam against prosperity gospel. I probably agree with him on that point, but I just thought it was interesting that he was very explicit in his criticism.
Second, it bothered me how, as he was going through the lines, he would define the words for me. He went so far as to say that my understanding of a particular word (foolish is one example) means something different in the bible. I felt like I was being boxed into his interpretation of these words and phrases. Didn’t like it.
Third, he did a big piece explaining how the common phrase “we are all god’s children” is actually wrong. I think this was about the point where he used the term “born again” which is just a red flag for me. That doesn’t go along with my thoughts on God and Jesus and let’s just leave it at that.
Now, all that being said, I think there’s a really good chance we’re going to go back. MadBee really liked her time there and the people were really friendly. My mom will really like the music I think. I don’t think my minor reservations are enough to keep us from enjoying the fellowship (see what I did there?) of this church.