Although few will admit, pastors struggle with church envy. I'm not above it, so I constantly need to remind myself that God is at work in many ways, even those that I'm not involved in. I think the key to overcoming this envy is realizing that we're all human, all trying to advance the same agenda. And being able to personify churches so that you think of individuals instead of inanimate entities. So I had such an opportunity yesterday, as I attended an open house at Crossroads Community Church in Oakley yesterday. Crossroads is the biggest Protestant church in Cincinnati, a few miles up the street from us, averaging about 7,000 each weekend. The ten year-old church recently opened up a brand new 3,200 seat auditorium. Once a quarter they allow pastors to come in and take a sneak peak of how they operate.
I was joined by Adam, a CCU student who helps out at Echo. Besides us, there was only one other person there, so it was a good opportunity to get an intimate look at their church. We had the chance to eat lunch with Brian Tome, Crossroad's founding pastor and ask him questions; I was just interested in listening to their passions and goals for the future. They were very honest about they struggles as well as their successes and incredibly supportive of what we were trying to accomplish. As we later took a tour of their remodeled facility [which is rather cool] it was reassuring as I felt no jealousy, but excitement for what they had going on.
The one thing that blew my mind is that they do an entire run-through service before their Saturday night service. They do it exactly as if it was an actual service, as Brian preached his entire message, and then reviewed what they wanted to change. Considering they're running four services each weekend, I was shocked. Preaching multiple services is exhausting. Can't imagine putting yourself through it one more time for practice. I've encountered many megachurch rehearsals, and I can't say that I know of anyone who does it that way.
It was a great experience. The Crossroads staff was wonderful. If any other pastors/church leaders would be interested in doing this, they're going to run another one in February. Email me and I'll let you know who you need to talk to.