I mentioned on my previous post that on Easter Sunday my wife and I attended the large non-denominational Northridge Church. I have downloaded the talks/sermons for several months so I knew what their views are. If you read the last post you know that I thought that listening to the sermons online was the best way to get to know a church, but I learned that while the views expressed in the sermons are the root of the church they give no insight to what it’s like actually worshipping at that church. I still think listening to sermons online is a great way to get to know if a church is right for me, but unless I attend a service I don’t have a complete picture.
Parking wasn’t too bad since we got there early, but walking into Northridge was intense. There were people still there from the previous service and people arriving for the next. The main atrium was packed, but the people were friendly and greeted us. We milled about a bit then went into the worship area with theater seats, cup holders, a stage with movie screens, and I think there was an orchestra pit (we were in back so I couldn’t see exactly where they were, but I saw them on the movie screen). While all of that stuff is nice it means nothing to worship. It’s great that it draws people in and engages them, but it’s just bells and whistles for me.
The service started out with a rock band with orchestra accompaniment. It was pretty good, except I’ve never heard the song before, and while the words were projected on the screen behind them I couldn’t sing praise with them because I didn’t know the melody.
Next the drama team put on a little skit involving Batman, Superman, Spiderman, David Banner (The Hulk), and Richard Stark (Ironman). Weird? Yes, but as a nerd I loved it! Then the Sr. Pastor came out and gave his sermon about power, and how God gave Christ the power to rise from the dead and how he wants to give the power of eternal life to us. He read passages from the Bible, and actually explained them in a way we could understand. Having very little Bible background this was perfect for me.
We then went on to a testimonial from a music instructor and former member of Mannheim Steamroller (I think it was them) he then proceeded to play the violin and the Sr. Pastor came back finished up his talk, we prayed for Jesus to come into our lives, and then we went back to the band for a round of Amazing Grace and that was it.
There is a video online of the service, you can watch it here!
After I went I received some criticism from one of my friends for going. His comment on Facebook was:
Why the hell were you at Northridge, Bill? I hate mega churches they take all the ritual, magic, mystery and sacredness out of religion and make it all about self help. Is nothing sacred anymore???? But seriously, why were you at Northridge?
After having gone to this church one time I found myself having to defend it and my decision to go from a friend who hadn’t taken an interest in my life to even realize that I had been a Christian for several months. My response to him was that I’ve learned through listening to their sermons that they aren’t really about self-help as much as say Joel Osteen is, they are about knowing God through Christ, and building a relationship through faith. Which I feel is more important than religion and ritual.
Though when you break it down I guess all Christianity is about self-help since you essentially use your free will to accept His word.
I will most likely go to Northridge again, especially since they offer a free children’s ministry/day care for my 2-year-old daughters. I just hope to to see more of the worship aspect there.