4350 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
This Sunday I ventured to the mega-church that is near my home, North Point Community Church.
Getting into and out of the parking lots of this church is very similar to getting into and out of the parking lots at Disney. There are lots of people directing traffic, lots of signs of who should go where and cones to guide you along the way, and if you end up in a parking lot that is far from the entrance of the church they have shuttle buses that will pick you up. You might think this beginning experience is intimidating, but it runs so smoothly that it really sets a positive tone for what to expect next.
Since I made a point to get there early I was able to get into a closer parking lot. As I walked in wearing a dress and heels I was pleased to see the majority of the people walking in wearing casual clothing including jeans. As soon as I entered there was a man at a podium to welcome first-time visitors. I introduced myself and received some information about the church to take with me. He explained to me that the East Auditorium was where the live presentation took place and the West Auditorium is where you watched the service on the big screen. I was early enough to get into the East Auditorium, in fact, the nice man even offered to find me a seat up front. I declined because I want to wander around and find a comfortable spot for myself. By the time the service started, both auditoriums were full with standing room only.
I ended up sitting right behind the cameras and control board. I figured they HAD to have the best advantage so sitting behind them would give me a pretty good advantage.
Community Church is a great description of this church. If you want to feel connected and get to know your neighbors, there are an overwhelming number of ways to do that through this church. The opening speakers continuously welcomed new attendees, as well as encouraged people, get involved in the many circles (groups) that are available.
From today’s perspective, I do not see much diversity in the audience, it was overwhelmingly white, which was so painfully obvious when their amazing band rocked it out on stage and the congregation mostly stood there listening.
The entire service was a well-organized and though- out production. From the way they brought the two auditoriums “together” by having a jumbo Jinga competition between the two rooms, to the way they played a relevant, entertaining and distracting video for everyone to watch while the band’s equipment was moved off stage the pastor’s props, two large closets full of clothes and a screen, were moved onstage.
In the opening, it was made clear multiple times that the mission of the church is to lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ, so I was prepared for an in your face Jesus message. I was pleasantly surprised by what was delivered.
This service was the 2nd in a series of talks titled “Breathing Room.” The focus of this talk was on how you are spending your time. Breathing Room was defined as the space between your current pace and your limits. One closet on stage was packed full of clothes that were disorganized, the other was neat with enough space to sort through what was in there. The talk was based on Psalm 90: 1-6 10-12. I did not have a bible with me, just my notebook, but as I looked around it seemed no one had their bible with them. The service was delivered by the Senior Pastor, Andy Stanley (I have to say, what a great name!)
Andy took the message as written in the Bible and interpreted it to awe God’s infiniteness compared to the blip of time we are here on earth with a warning to be careful with the time you have allotted.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom
was reinterpreted to teach us that our days are numbered.
He talked about Bronnie Ware’s article The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying focusing the top 2 regrets.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Andy then turned his presentation to what he knew our Monkey Minds were says (monkey mind is a term I acquired from my time with Unity Church, not Andy’s term).
Andy said I know what you are thinking. You are thing If I don’t do as much as I can I will
– not make it (what is it?)
– fall behind (behind who?)
– be poor (how do you define poor?)
– be accepted (by who?)
We tend to spend our life chasing something we never even defined.
Overall I found the church very welcoming, and even though they are upfront that their mission is to lead you to a relationship with Jesus Christ, I felt like they allowed people the “breathing room” to define for themselves what that relationship is and the path to get there.