Recently Tom and I attended worship with John and Jackie at Rock City Church, the Upper Arlington location. Jackie had seen a news piece about the church and was interested in checking it out.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived at the church was all the young people. Lots of people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s were streaming into worship. Those with children dropped them off at “Rock City Kids” for children’s worship. The second thing we noticed was a line to get into the auditorium. I don’t believe I have ever stood in line to get into church before!
This branch of Rock City Church meets in the Upper Arlington High School. They used the auditorium for the adult worship. The worship service reminded me more of a concert than a worship service. There were lots of lights and special video effects. The Praise Band was very good but also very loud. A man behind us had ear plugs in and I wished I had brought some. But the young people seemed to be enjoying it.
We had 15 minutes of singing, a prayer, and then the sermon started. Lead Pastor Chad Fisher preached for the next hour. His topic for the day was “What Time Is It? Jesus Is Coming Again.” He told us what the end times will look like so we can recognize we are living in them. He also told us how to live in these end times. Although he had some good points, he also stressed that the only people who are Christians are those who believe the Bible is the infallible word of God. And only Christians will be saved in the end. Everyone else is going to hell. He wanted everyone who was choosing to be saved that morning to fill out the card in the bulletin and turn it in.
After the long sermon, Chad Fisher left but appeared a moment later in a giving video. In the video he said we were all rich and if we didn’t give a tithe to the church we were defying God. I’m a big believer in tithing, but found the video a little heavy handed. Ushers passed offering buckets down the rows and then, after a short prayer, we were dismissed.
The Rock City Church service felt very much like a production, which many people like. And the church’s use of technology is excellent. You could sign up for missions or more information by texting a certain number. You could give by cell phone. The church’s web page is one of the most professional I have ever seen. Obviously this church is reaching lots of young people for Christ.
I, however, did not appreciate the presentation or the message. Perhaps I am too much a creature of my generation, but Rock City Church won’t become my church home.