One Sunday a few years ago we woke up and did our traditional routine of getting ready for church. Little did I know though that this Sunday would be one of the most eye-opening, impactful Sunday's I had ever experienced.
Saturday night we had a group of fierce storms roll through our city leaving many sections of the city without power. Though we were not impacted, we got around for church just as we always do. As we drove to church we noticed all of the stop lights were out, thus backing up traffic. As we pulled into the church parking lot it seemed like people were leaving, striking me as odd at first. I jumped out of my truck and opened my wife's door, and then we walked in.
When we opened the doors I could tell right away that the power was out, not surprising really because every light was out around the whole area. We were told that we would still have service, but that they could possibly cancel the service at any time because they didn't have the "tools" needed to complete the service as scheduled.
"We were told that we would still have service, but that they could possibly cancel the service at any time because they didn't have the "tools" needed to complete the service as scheduled."
At the last minute, the ministry team at the church decided to hold the service without power. They had sent someone out to a store to grab candles to light the stage so they gave the okay to give the service a shot. They had to choose to hold the service without the big worship band, without the crafted (yet dated) powerpoint slides, without the large soundboard, without dozens of stage lights, and even without the trick lighting setup on the newly designed stage features.
Instead, we worshiped without air conditioning. We sang with our voices, without a loud band to cover our imperfect untrained voices. We learned about scripture without our powerpoint slides. We experienced the community of Christ without the noise of a perfectly planned performance. For one very rare day, the experience of "church" felt honest.
This Sunday was followed by the next, expertly organized and executed and back to "normal." They talked about how we were so thankful for power and how it makes the service run according to plan. Then, we went on to talk about the great impact our church was having on a church in Africa. No electricity. No worship band. No windows. No AC. No coffee bar. No light show.
Just church, without the noise.