Jock preached this past Sunday, so I took advantage of the opportunity to go to Pocalla Church for the first time. I admit it felt a little strange; after all, I’ve been preaching to these folks for the past eight weeks and haven’t met some of them. I’m learning to pastor one church in two locations.
What stood out:
- I got there at 9:20. Greeters were already in place, rooms were already set up, and were ready to go. No last minute volunteers getting in place. No last minute scrambles. Impressive when you realize at 7:30 that morning, nothing was set up.
- I saw parking lot greeters go out to open car doors and assist people into the building. They were getting know people who were coming for the first time.
- The preschool area was well set up and the kids were having a ball.
- I went to the older children’s class. They were very engaged. I joined them in a game. We got beat but turned tables on the teachers and won the next game (Lead pastor pressure).
- I sat in a LIFE Group and loved the sharing of hurt, pain, and worry. These folks were learning to do life together. Some in the group were educated, some were not. The Jesus they had in common was stronger than what separated them.
- Worship music was acoustic, with two vocalists. You could hear people singing. Cameron Gaddy, the worship leader, has a gift for engaging people in worship.
- The crowd looked just like the crowd at Loring Mill. There were people in shorts and sandals, young women in Lily Pulitzer dresses, teens in jeans, different races, different ages. Being a “Place of Grace” lives at Pocalla!
- I didn’t think I would like watching Jock on a screen, but honestly, after about 20 seconds, I forgot he wasn’t there in person. It works really well.
- I loved the smaller feel. There was more relational space and time. People were not rushing to get from here to there. The whole day had more of a “Sabbath” feel.
- Chris Moore was hosting the service since Jock was over at Loring Mill. He communicated warmth, care, and grace. He was the face of Jesus.
- People lingered to talk. The pack up crew changed into t-shirts and started stacking chairs, undoing sound equipment, etc. Within 30 minutes, everything was ready to roll back into storage.
- The people who have volunteered to go and launch this campus are truly faithful. They have said yes to the adventure. People who never felt needed at Loring Mill have stepped up to a new level at Pocalla.
- God is showing us the future at Pocalla. There are huge opportunities to go where there is not progressive, outreaching church and provide a different experience. People get to enjoy all that is good about a large church in a mid-size setting.
In short, I had a great time. It is a little strange, however, when someone at Pocalla Church says, “You look a lot better on the screen than you do in person!”