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A new, modern church

Daytona Beach First Baptist Church

I attended a required Child Evangelism Fellowship workshop today so that I could continue working with the Good News Club at a local elementary school. The workshop was held at the new campus of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, which recently moved from its historic location closer to the heart of the city. I looked forward to seeing their new site.

On the way there, I missed the turn into the church entrance. After I turned around, I turned into a mile long drive into a gorgeous acreage with the two new church buildings. A friend of mine commented, “That drive must have cost at least a million dollars.” I believe he was on target.

But as I pulled into a parking space, I was underwhelmed by two very understated buildings. I felt like I had pulled into an industrial park rather than a church complex. OK, take a breath. Just walk in and see what they have done here.

I walked into a space that was designed to be a coffee shop, restaurant and gathering area. It was very nice, and I quickly recognized others from my Good News Club. We sat together with coffee and bagels and caught up since our last time together.

The opening session was in the adjacent building, the main worship space. I tried to keep an open mind, but to tell you the truth, it felt like a warehouse rather than a church. The audio/visual technology was spectacular, but with a back wall of garage doors, exposed ventilation ducts and exposed walls, I did not feel like I had stepped into a church. I know that this design was intentional, but wow, what a difference from what this church used to be. Our breakout sessions were in very nicely appointed classrooms with very homey appointments.

So many thoughts went through my mind. Is this what a church looks like in the 21st century? Am I old enough to feel uncomfortable in a contemporary church? Is this what Jesus had in mind?

Jesus never went to church. What would he have to say about our churches? I am so glad he is merciful and abounding in love!

The dais, screen and stage

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