Monday, December 29, 2008

Mars Hill visit

I was glad to have the opportunity - together with my family - to visit Mars Hill in Grand Rapids this morning.

Although Rob Bell wasn’t around today, having become a regular listener to the podcast and like many felt the benefit and influence of Rob’s writing & teaching it really was good to check out the community there. I’d been looking forward to it for some time, and the day didn’t disappoint.

Although I don’t want this to come across like some kind of Secret Worshipper/consumer test thang, I thought I’d outline a few impressions….they’re all good.

Today’s teaching came from Ed Dobson, sporting a spectacular beard of quite literally Biblical proportions. At first I surmised this was just Rev Dobson’s particular preferred fashion arrangement, but he unpacked a little of the back story as part of his oratory. We learned that Ed is coming towards the end of a year of living as closely as he could in line with the teachings, example and life patterns of Jesus. Local rag, The Grand Rapids Press gives it’s take on the story here. It’s worth the read.

Aside from the fascinating facial hair story, Ed spoke powerfully from Luke 1v67-79.

Look out for the podcast at the Mars Hill site in due course

Above and beyond the Teaching and the Worship, a few things that impressed me:

• The unassuming building that somehow reflected the character of the Church
• The genuinely warm welcome from individual folks, despite the size – I guess about 3,000 people – of the congregation. It felt authentic and unstaged
• The obvious attention to detail right across the board. All the handout materials were well displayed plentiful, easy to understand, aesthetically pleasing and consistent
• Good coffee, in eco friendly cups!

God bless Mars Hill. It was a pleasure to drop by.

Baruch El-Elyon!

HT to Grand Rapids Press/Emily Zoladz for the Ed Dobson pic


Heather's place said...

How fab to visit.

And how cool that the visit didn't disappoint. I'm so glad to hear that as I enjoy the podcasts and, with the help of their website, feel 'at home' with Mars Hill.

I've visited one or two 'famous' Churches and the thing that often lets them down is the personal welcome - or lack of it.

It's one of the things I like to thinks we're good at at my Church.

But as Chick Yuill said 'no Church is as friendly as they like to think they are'.

Johnny said...

Yes, it was really good to get there, Heather.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, really appreciate the blog from someone who had the opportunity to experience something I cannot.

And happy about the impression of the nature of the church.

Johnny said...

Glad you passed by "Convolgulous".

Appreciate you commenting.