This morning, besides going to Mark’s church, we tried the church I remember going to with my relatives when I was a kid.  It’s Sunrise Baptist Church.

When the Brims first started going there, it was up the street a bit from where it is now.  It was a little white country church with a steeple and a parsonage next door.  I’m trying to remember if that was the church where I had a fight with a girl who liked my cousin, Dave, because I was jealous.  I liked him too!

Now the church is a sprawling, modern building with many classrooms.  There are more modern looking people in it too.  I didn’t mind because there was something familiar and homey about it.  I didn’t mind that they had a “praise band” because the first couple songs were based on hymns and some of the instruments used were a banjo, a mandolin, and a ukulele.  We went to half a Sunday school class and I liked the teacher.

There were a couple things that seemed less than I’d hoped for.  The pastor, while very friendly and welcoming to us, put me to sleep and bored Mark.  He seemed very excited about his topic, which was the High Priesthood of Christ from Hebrews, but it was another of those sermons that I don’t know what to do with.  If I can’t figure out an action I can take from a sermon, my mind goes numb.

The other thing that I have found sometimes in modern churches, and that was true here, is a growing trend to give first time attendees a “gift bag” just for walking through the front door.  The gift bag today included a nice water cup, a couple small candy canes, an “Our Daily Bread” devotional for December through February, and a little folder full of literature about the church.  I can see the point of handing a new person some literature about the church, such as what they believe and what programs they offer for families and individuals, but the rest of the stuff feels like a bribe to me.  Am I old fashioned?  Do people really need gifts to help them decide to keep coming to a church?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m drinking out of the nice water cup as I write this and Mark and I ate the candy canes as the sermon wore on, but that isn’t enough to make me decide to come back.  I’m feeling a little torn, but not because of the gift bag.  If the sermon had spoken to me I would have come back simply because I have been there in my past and because one of my cousins still attends there whenever he’s in town.  I really wanted this to be the one for me.  It would have been so perfect because it has two services, so if Mark’s church time changes we could have gone to the other service.  However, I think I’ll try a few more churches before I settle down.

One thought on “Bribery?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *