I’ve just completed a 12 week sabbatical.
I visited 19 churches during that time. I should say, I visited 19 worship services. I didn’t observe their mission activities, their elder meetings, or their care for one another. My observations were just superficial.
I thought some people might be interested in what churches I visited, so here’s the list. This isn’t an “endorsement” list, just a list of where I went. I don’t think it would be fair or helpful for me to review or grade the churches. For a couple of the churches, I made notes of things I found praise-worthy or notable about the services.
I tried to do two things: Be God-centered personally, and receive each worship service for what it was, rather than critique it for what it was not.
The churches are listed in the chronological order that I visited them.
Anchor Community Church (Long Beach) A church plant at our local elementary school. The most welcoming church we visited as a family. Probably half of the people in the room came up and started a conversation with us during or after the service.
Grace Long Beach Visited by myself on Pentecost. A wonderfully thoughtful liturgy specially designed around the Spirit’s coming.
CityLights Church (Long Beach) – Appreciated that they replaced the “turn and greet” time with an open time of praise and prayer requests. A great picture of what a multi-ethnic, multi-economic church can be for a community.
Emmanuel Reformed Church (Paramount) – I was impressed by how committed to prayer this church seems to be. There were 4 thoughtfully prepared prayers by different leaders throughout the service. When I met the senior pastor after the service we talked for a few minutes, then he asked if he could pray for me and my sabbatical. You can tell that this church has a bias toward prayer, which was great to see.
Community of Faith Bible Church (South Gate) – Probably my favorite church to visit, and the one on this list I’d consider first to become a member of. A deep joy pervaded the people, and the service was God-centered and biblically driven in a way that was a delight.