For the last two Sundays I’ve visited a church with an ATARI logo on the side of the building:
(Actually, it was my wife who pointed out the comparison!) and it made for a great twitter post.
While we are “church shopping” and I’ve been posting comments on churches on facebook, twitter, etc. I’m not posting names or links to churches so that I can be honest and respect the churches I’m visiting and save their church websites from being pulled down from massive traffic. (ha!) But I will say, that this church so far has been my favorite. And not only because of the “Atari” logo – but because of what it might hint at. I have no idea if this symbol is from some denomination or has any significant meaning (help me out in comments if it does) but like Atari, which is dated, there are some dated things about this church I liked, besides the fact that building was a bit old and obviously one they are eager to replace or move out of, so there isn’t much point in investing too much in improving it, and they were bursting at the seams. There was an energy and excitement that was contagious. If I had to choose one word to describe the experience, it would be Authentic. While they had all the “stuff” of a modern cutting edge church (band, PowerPoint, wireless mic, pastor in polo shirt, etc.) it wasn’t so polished you felt like you were going to a concert or a show. I liked that. The pastor prayed for people by name, and not from a list. He knew these people. He had visited them during the week. The children’s ministry may not have been one that prompted pictures to blog, but the children were smiling, and the volunteers were enthusiastic and welcoming. And unlike the church the prior week at another church that didn’t even ask me for mine or my child’s name (!) they had decent security and a lesson. (Though Luke said he liked the place the week before where he got to play cars the whole time. Eh hem.)
You know, when it comes to Atari, there is a funny thing. I get my ATARI out at kids overnights, and the kids LOVE it. Often, more than all the modern games despite being so old. Why? Because they can instantly play any game without reading a book first. There is nothing to learn, they can just immediately plug in and play. Church should be that way too. I think some churches have gotten too complicated. Maybe that’s why I liked this church. Like old fashioned Atari, it had all the stuff you could count on – solid biblical preaching, but that connected with the audience. Good worship, but contemporary too. Friendly, upbeat, easy to feel welcome. Small groups and a staff I could relate to. A children’s ministry I could see easily fitting into. Perhaps.
So we have been to the Mega Big Super Duper We Have Everything Church. The Bible Is Everything But Kids Aren’t Important Church, and now the a really awesome church I can’t make up a label for. And that’s a good thing. Not sure it’s the final one for us, but so far, we like it. We thought the church search would take longer, so we still want to see what other churches are in the area, but we are glad to have discover the….. Atari Church. I guess that can be my nickname for this church!