Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Trip to Saddleback - Part 1

I thought I would comment on my trip to Saddleback Church. In this post I plan to speak about my observations with the exception of the sermon that was preached. That will be in the next post.

I went having heard many things and didn't really know what to expect. It was far larger than I anticipated; they even had their own traffic light on campus. The landscape reminded me of Disneyland on the outside with the running water, lighted trees, and etc. The inside of the worship center was smaller than I thought it would be, but they do have about 4 or 5 services.

We got there a few minutes late due to heavy traffic, so I wasn't able to see everything from start to finish, but they had just begun singing when we walked in. I did not recognize even one song that they sang. Their style of worship was very casual, which was evident before we even walked in the door. The door greeter was in flip-flops, a Hawaiian shirt, and those pants that don't go down to your ankles. Another observation was that no one had a Bible except the guys I was with and myself. You can see that in the picture to the upper right as people were walking to the worship service.

When Rick Warren headed to the pulpit after the choir finished singing, he started jumping in the air across the stage like a rap star and gave the worship leader "high fives." He then said, "cool." I was very surprised by that statement. I thought it was supposed to be a worship service where the natural response of the heart would have been "glory," "hallelujah," or "praise the Lord!"

It was obvious that the entire service was designed for the enjoyment of man. It seemed to me that the songs after the sermon seemed to be full of the words "you," "me," and "we" instead of words like "Christ," "Jesus," "God," "glory," and etc. Up to the point in the service that the preaching was to begin an unbeliever who may have been "religious" but not born again would have probably been very pleased. It was non-offensive, there was not too much talk about God, there were no demands placed upon your life, and the atmosphere in the building was very bright, colorful, and pleasant.

However, a believer hungry for truth may have felt differently. I personally was desirous of more depth and focus on the glory of God. I am trying to remember if there was much prayer in the service or Scripture reading, but don't recall at this point over a week later.

The next post will discuss the sermon that we heard. This is what I was most interested in out of everything.


Anthony said...

Reminds me of another blogger who visited Saddleback, see it here:


Lance M. Roberts said...

His observations were very similar, but I think we both probably come to different conclusions. Hopefully my next post will throw some light on that.