Ridge Assembly of God Davenport, FL
Google helped me find a church today, and Ridge Assembly of God looked good, at least by their website. Although there were hardly any pictures of people on it. Aren't churches people? I hopped on the scooter and rode, 2 miles. Should have walked vigorously. Nah.
I arrived fifteen minutes early and sat, no one else there except the band and singers warming up. Mary stopped by and gave me a visitor's packet. Does the service really start at nine? Sure.
The place was a metal building with arched roof, mint green seats and gray carpet, with no adornments except a couple of half columns and some chandeliers.
The place loaded in five minutes, almost no one late, but apparently it's a sin to be early. The faithful were of mixed race and ages, although mostly grays. We sang contemporary songs, being the early service was contemporary and they called the late one a 'high energy service.' It made sense to me, since this felt like low energy. Then Mrs. Pastor spoke and it made sense. A sixteen year old girl passed away yesterday, a body slam to the family, the friends and the church.
I couldn't help but wonder where were all the people. It seats 260 or so and there are forty or fifty today. After twenty- five years? At greeting time, people met one another warmly albeit cordially and resumed sitting.
The pastor preached on 'I Care,' holding to the theme of caring for this year. He told stories of how they had cared for others in the past, but I felt like he missed it. How can we care for this family with their dead daughter? Let's get real and let's get personal.
Later however he nailed it, saying the old timers are getting upset with changes to music and such. He wants to reach the younger generation and that requires walking a tightrope, appealing to the younger without alienating the oldsters. I say, "Geezers, suck it up!" The church needs to reach the young people, so if you don't like the music, stay there, shut up and get used to it. Hopefully we're going to get older and grow to irrelevance. That sounds horrible, but someone has to pick up the baton, so we have to let go of it. Let's reach those others rather than die clutching our hymnals and hairstyles.
Shoot, maybe I'll go get some tats and piercings. Okay, maybe not.
And now, a Rant:
Sounding like a geezer; "Back in my day we had hymnals to sing from." Well, now we have overheads and Power Point. The person who turns the pages has a simple job; listen to the song, and click to the next verse. While straightforward, it's a very important job. If you don't turn the page, you take the entire church out of worship, especially the people who don't know the words. But even the veterans look at the screen and mutter, 'turn the page.' Please. It's a really elementary job. But quite important.
After the service, a biker named Jo Anne greeted me. (They asked from the altar who rode that red white and blue bike). We chatted and she invited me to their ride on Thursday night. Very nice. Not sure if we'll still be here, but it would be fun.