Pastor Tom Schaller preaching at GGWO

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My Grandma  is one of those God-fearing women who had me in church ALL THE TIME.  As a kid, it seemed like I was going to church for every possible program. So much, that I began to dread going because I didn’t get anything out of the service. I mostly, just fell asleep in her lap.

As I got older my Grandmother told me “Morgan, You’re too old to be sleeping in church. Time for you to pay attention.” So, since I was no longer allowed to draw, color, eat snacks, and sleep during service, I figured I’d do the next best thing: TALK to my neighbors and the other kids beside me.

Well, that was short-lived as my Grandma made me sit beside her in the first row of the church. I spent most of the time looking back at the other kids, kicking my feet and biting my nails. Basically, doing anything except paying attention.

But, as I got older and got to the age of accountability, I began to take God and church seriously. In fact, I actually began to enjoy going to church. I loved to learn of the different Bible stories and how they relate to my life. Going to church does something for me. It gives me strength and motivation to face the obstacles of the next week along with inspiration for my life and strengthens my relationship with the Lord.

No matter where I lived in the U.S., I made an effort to find a church home. In the U.S., I tend to go to church on a regular. Here: not so much.

Since I have been here, I have attended a church near my home a few times. I actually spoke about the church in an earlier post titled, “Do You Practice Your Religion?”

In comparison to the church I attend back at home, this church atmosphere is very different. The music here is….well… not my type to say the least. Although they sing hymnals, many of the songs sound similar (in regards to key, rhythm, etc).

For each song, the same person stands in the front of the sanctuary leading the song while the congregation sings along (somewhat). I hate to say this but is so dry. I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to burst out with a Kirk Franklin “Stump” or Donnie McClurkin “Stand,” but gosh, can they not seem so somber when they are singing praises to the Lord. It really is pretty sad sounding and I wish they would put a little pep in their step and at least try to clap a different rhythm sometime. Instead of clapping always on beat one and three, try clapping on beat two and four.  

Needless to say, I’m used to a choir back at home. One that sings contemporary/hymnals and one where the music is different.

Also, the preaching is different here. The pastor seems almost to be like a teacher, using PowerPoint and video clips every once in a while. I’m not mad at the use of technology. My problem is the lack of inflection of her voice during any part of the sermon. The pastor doesn’t yell or even seem to project her voice very far when she speaks. Her style seems to be as if she is having a really normal conversation with a person sitting directly in front of her. The church isn’t big so I understand the reason she does not project very loud, but can I get an inflection and a non-monotone sermon? This too, seems dry to me. Now, I’m not expecting the Pastor to jump from the pulpit and start sounding like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joel Olsteen or somebody because I know each Pastor has his or her own style. Nevertheless, I would like for the pastor  to sound a little excited about spreading the gospel and preaching the word.

Lastly, if I thought the music or pastoring was a little tasteless, the congregation just makes me wonder. Nobody claps when the pastor preaches. Nobody says “Hallelujuah” “Amen” “Praise the Lord.” It is all very quiet. Almost as if you are in the library or a museum. All you may hear is somebody cough. This may be because the church has an older congregation. I’m one of the youngest people there besides a few teenagers and toddlers.

So as I sit in the church, I just do not feel like I’m getting what I need. I’ve heard that many of the churches in the Manchester area are similar, so that makes me hesitant in visiting other churches.

I know a quote says, “Be The Change You Want To See” but I would feel out-of-place if I started raising my hand and saying “Praise the Lord. Preach Preachah!” during the service so I just sit there. Feeling dry and praying that the Lord helps me pay attention and not fall asleep.

I know that I go to church to hear the word and as long as the word is preached that should be fine.

I know that culture differences and denominational divides play a major role in influencing every church’s culture.  Possibly if this church style was the only type I was exposed to, I wouldn’t be longing for more.

But I do.

At the very least, all I want is an Amen.

Can I get an Amen?