Sunrise United Methodist Church
Another of the four UMCs in Lewisville, this one is a little unconventional. The church has two services, both contemporary. Their sanctuary is a great big room with lots of chairs lined up in rows in the middle, a stage up front, and small round cafeteria tables around the outer perimeter. Snacks and coffee are provided in the lobby, and you are encouraged to take your food into the service. This is a good idea. I like to worship God whilst I enjoy some of his fresh-brewed creation.
But I really didn't know what to make of this church. It was just so casual. I was probably overdressed, in a skirt, short-sleeved top, and sandals. Most people were in jeans, and some were in (gasp!) shorts. I'm not sure how I feel about casual dress at church. I guess I feel like it doesn't matter what you wear, but I personally feel a little weird about wearing casual stuff to Sunday services. And while I know that is completely my own issue stemming from growing up in traditional churches, knowing that doesn't make it any easier to pull on my Levi's on Sunday morning. I suppose I could get used to it.
Being dressed-down didn't keep the people from being super-ultra-mega-friendly. The church is big enough that the regulars might not be able to spot a visitor immediately, but these people seemed to feel that the fact that I was there was reason enough to come up and introduce themselves. Even if they couldn't tell I was new, they could tell I was new to them. Plus, they were regular, down-to-earth people. One of them even told me up-front that this was the kind of church that you either liked or didn't like. Even if it turned out that I was the kind that didn't like the church, I liked the "Hey, this is what we do - take it or leave it" kind of attitude. They're glad to see me if I come, but they'll understand if I don't.
Being a contemporary church, they had contemporary music. I'm not a fan. However, they did have a full band (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drumset, and a set of bongos that did not get played), rather than using some awful recording of karaoke versions of popular Christian music. We read the words off TV screens at the front of the room. The distressing thing about not using hymnals is that you don't know what to do with your hands. I think I ended up holding my hands together in front of me, feeling very awkward and checking out what other people were doing with their hands.
I dug the sermon a lot; it wasn't very good. The minister gave some anecdotes that didn't really fit, had poor flow in his ideas, and I think he defined a couple of concepts incorrectly. But the sermon was about sloth, and I'd never heard a sermon on sloth before, and it made me think about things I'd never really thought about, and so I liked it. I write, so I'm probably just overcritical of bad sermon-writing, but I do give points for originality.
I am frankly not sure if I will ever darken the door of Sunrise UMC ever again. Part of me thinks that I could easily get used to the contemporary and casual aspects that I'm not all that comfortable with, and another part of me thinks that I shouldn't have to get used to it. Either way, I don't feel guilty. They told me I could take it or leave it, and so leave it I will.