It’s been a long time since I’ve visited a church as a “regular person.” I’ve been to a lot of churches over the years, but generally either with a friend who is an attender of that church or sometimes because I’ve been invited to speak. This morning the family and I headed over to Northway Church‘s newest campus in Colonie to check it out as a possible college church for Tim.
We arrived about 10 minutes before the service and found our way into the building. We were warmly welcomed by the folks at the door on the way in and given a leaflet with information about the current teaching series, Hello My Name is God (click here to see or listen to messages from NC), and general info about NC’s ministry. Tim filled in the visitor information, and was interested to see that they have a need for volunteers in their production crew. As a multi-site church with a contemporary worship style, there is plenty of technology around to support the worship band and the message simulcast from the Clifton Park campus.
The preacher today was Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, whose message was delivered in person at Clifton Park and to those of us in Colonie on a large screen. It was a good message focusing on the parable of the rich young ruler (Mt. 19), and touching on themes from Batterson’s forthcoming book, Wild Goose Chase.
While the satellite campus, multi-site model of church is growing like crazy, it felt pretty strange to me to watch the preacher on the big screen and having no interaction with him as a congregation. We could hear there was interaction with the CP congregation, but it felt a little disconnected to me. That doesn’t make it bad; it was different.
Speaking of things different, the whole service took 63 minutes. For those keeping score, that’s about half the length of a typical service at Christ Church. Another difference, after the friendly people at the door said welcome, we didn’t talk to anyone else (and no one talked to us either), and we didn’t immediately see anyplace for interaction after the service either. In following the people ahead of us out of the sanctuary door, we found ourselves in the flow of people to the parking lot, so we left. Tim wants to make another visit, and I’m hoping the info he gave them is followed-up soon.