If you were planning a long weekend getaway to Washington, D.C., what would top your list of have-to-sees? The Capitol? The White House? The Zoo? The Lincoln Memorial? The Washington Monument? So many choices.
Too many choices. There was no way we could see everything worth seeing from Friday afternoon to mid-day Monday.
So what was at the top of our list?
Before I answer that–or in the words of JFK (at least I THINK he’s the one who said this), “Let me say this about that”–I have to tell you about the Wednesday night Bible studies at my church. Yes, this is relevant.
We normally watch one session from a video series and then discuss it. Although Atlanta’s Andy Stanley is probably our group’s favorite video speaker, we’re currently watching a prayer-related series by Washington’s Mark Batterson.
Mark felt led to walk a circle around Capitol Hill. And pray for our government leaders and how to reach them and other unchurched Washingtonians with the Gospel of Jesus. If you want to know more about Mark and the development of his project, which was bathed in constant prayer and had the most remarkable results, I recommend his book Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge or one of his other books.
But the bottom line is that–to date–Mark’s National Community Church has no actual traditional building, but meets in seven theaters around the Washington area. Each branch has its own leader, but Mark occasionally preaches by video to the whole group. What a concept!
But Mark’s other prayer-driven accomplishment was the purchase and renovation of a long-abandoned crack house within easy walking distance of Union Station and the rest of Capitol Hill. That’s another story you need to read about. I can’t do it justice.
So what would my wife and I center our Washington vacation trip around? Not those other places–the famous ones–although we got to see many of them.
No, we decided that we’d attend church at one of the National Community Church’s locations, Lincoln Theater. And we would visit the Ebenezers Coffee House on Saturday night. More about that on Wednesday.
We found people to be just as friendly as they are at our own church back home. But instead of greeting one another in an often-too-unworshipful way inside the theater auditorium, people buzzed in the lobby, where refreshments, books, and other resources were readily available. Then they came inside the auditorium for the worship service.
We opted to sit in the balcony, largely so I’d be in the best picture-taking position. We sat in one of several small areas along the side. With curtains or walls of some kind, they probably would have been considered box seats. Great view!
Although the music was led by a band–guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and a female singer–they had opted this Sunday to use only traditional hymns. Wow! What Believer wouldn’t have worshiped through that music?
Interestingly, the leader of that branch of the Church spent some time doing a baby dedication. Very much like the ones in our church except for the MANY hundreds of people in the congregation and the large number of family members who participated in the dedication.
It turned out that Mark Batterson was going to be taking three months off, starting after that morning’s service. So this was one time he preached by video to all the branches of his church. It was great being preached to by the same fellow we had been watching the video series by on Wednesday nights.
I know I haven’t done this church visit justice. But suffice it to say we found it a worshipful experience. All the more so because we didn’t have to sit in the choir loft, where we normally sit in our own church.
Are you familiar with Mark Batterson or any of his books or videos? Does this sound like the type of church you’d be interested in visiting? Please leave a comment.
On Wednesday I’ll blog about our visit to the coffee house the night before.
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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.
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