09 September 2007 ~ 5 Comments

Visit To Vintage Faith

My first and only trip to Santa Cruz before beginning to dialog with CLC was a trip up with David Trotter almost three years ago to visit Vintage Faith Church.  You can see what he wrote back then here.  At that point, Vintage Faith was just starting out as a new church and meeting at Santa Cruz Bible Church.

Now, almost three years later, I am here at CLC and Vintage Faith has been meeting for the past year or so almost right across the street from us at First Presbyterian Church, two churches, one vision.  I’ve been wanting to get back over to visit now that we’re neighbors, and I was finally able to tonight.  I love visiting other churches, being able to kick back and worship, and learning from what I am able to take in when I’m there, the good and the bad.

I chose a very significant and different week to visit Vintage Faith.  They were in between series, giving a vision update and making some rather major announcements.  More on that later.

When I arrived the parking lot was way packed.  So after driving through it, I had to exit and park a block or two away.  One of the concerns at CLC has been our parking situation as well, but it was interesting to see how many people were walking from a bit of a distance to get there.  I was hoping to visit sort of covertly, but I knew the greeter at the front door, and immediately saw a friend from CLC when I got inside.

Some of the things I enjoyed:

  • Img_2859Very cool vibe inside.  Large ornate silver cross up front and center with fabric and some lighting.
      I found it interesting that I could only see six lighting fixtures that they were using.  They used them well, though.
  • The sound was nice and thick.  It was loud (as I prefer it…nevermind, that’s a whole different post) and full.  It really seemed to envelop and immerse you in the worship time.
  • It was hard to spot Josh Fox off to the right as he welcomed people and started worship.  At first this bothered me a little bit, but at the same time I thought it was kind of cool to have very little focus on the team and have the central focal point up front as the cross.  Whether they have it like that every week, I don’t know.
  • As Dan Kimball did the first part of the message, it was very conversational.  There was a part of his speaking where he had lots of people give input as to what it tangibly meant to have life more abundant.  It’s bothered me at times that we get together at church and listen to one person teach while we stare at the back of peoples heads.  This approach was kinda nice for a change.  More community focused I guess.
  • Cool response to the message.  I’ll show that in a sec.

Img_2872The big announcement: Vintage Faith and First Pres. are merging to become one church.  It will be called Vintage Faith and they will become Presbyterian.  First Dan shared about the history of Vintage, then Lee Perky shared the history of First Pres. and the joining of the two, and then Josh Fox addressed some details as to what it would look like, wrapped up by Kristin, who oversees Community groups and Hospitality, explaining the response and communion.

As a visual representation of the joining of the churches, people went forward to several stations at all three services where artists traces outlines of their faces as a symbol of the two churches becoming one family.

So a few things the service got me thinking of:

  • Vintage Faith is doing some great stuff in the city of Santa Cruz.  It is an honor to get to do ministry nearby.  We’re all on the same team, and I’m excited to see an impact being made.
  • One of the things Dan shared was some research they did when they started Vintage Faith.  Based on what they found, 90% of Santa Cruz does not attend church.  That is a HUGE mission field.  There is plenty of work to be done.  Another Pastor I met with several months ago said the most accurate estimate he know of was actually 93%.
  • CLC is not Vintage Faith and never will be.  And it shouldn’t be.  I think we could learn a lot from what they are doing.  They have clearly been successful in reaching a segment of this community and have to a certain degree "broken the missional code" of Santa Cruz.  But we need to so that by being true to who we are at the same time.  However, don’t hear me wrong.  I still think that means some serious examination and changes for us, but that will be addressed in our current series as we share where we are headed as a church.

All in all, it was a fun night and a nice opportunity to get out and actually get to learn a lot about our neighbors.  It was fun to worship with another part of the fam.  And it was good to remind me of the need and opportunity in our immediate community and be reminded of the mission that Jesus has laid out for us.

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