Mystery Worshipper: Shamgar
Church: Ipswich City Christian Church
Location: Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Date of visit: Sunday, 5 March 2006, 6:00pm
A large brick building. Inside features a spacious stage up front with purple curtains and a screen. At center stage is a timber and glass enclosure behind which sat the drummer. A nearby office building, also owned by the church, houses a coffee shop and some paramedical services.
They seem a very friendly group. There are numerous children and youth ministries.
Ipswich, not far from Brisbane, is an attractive city known for its fine domestic architecture. This is a city filled with street after street of magnificent and imaginatively fashioned old houses. The church is located on the edge of the city centre, in the health precinct.
Pastor John Hunt.
What was the name of the service?Sunday Evening Service.
How full was the building?
About two-thirds full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Two welcomers at the door handed out brochures. Folk sitting nearby were friendly in their greeting. A "network pastor" came over and said hello, asked our names, checked out why we were there. During the service there was a break where we were asked to greet each other.
Was your pew comfortable?
Very comfortable second-hand cinema seats.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Friendly and chatty. There was some canned music going.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
Couldn't decipher them. The worship leader mumbled something into the microphone before he broke into a jumping dance.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Some folks had their own Bibles.
What musical instruments were played?
Two keyboards, two guitars, drums, three vocalists.
Did anything distract you?
A couple of toddlers danced in the aisles. A few people wandered in and out during the service. Sometimes the singers were a bit out of tune, and one of them looked somewhat bored. There was a large sign on the wall that read "Faith is", leaving us to complete the sentence on our own. The inevitable cell phones went off during the service, including mine!
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Mosh-pit jumpy style. Loud and rapid, very intense.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – It was a good theme, it just went on and on. I fell asleep for 20 minutes.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
"Who do you think you are?" The sermon questioned our self perception, and challenged us to think of ourselves as people of destiny and influence, against what the world tells us we are. At the end he asked us to close our eyes and go on a 10 minute fishing trip into our lives, and to stand up and tell him what we discovered in response to his appeal.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The preacher was engaging, at least while I remained awake. Seeing some little kids dancing away to their hearts' content was also heavenly.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Singers singing out of tune. The 10 minute fishing trip. The absence of any real change in the music; it was all the same.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were invited to coffee and the pastor shook hands with us.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was hot coffee in disposable cups. The social hour appeared to be nothing more than a teenage hangout, so we scooted.
How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
4 – It seemed like a friendly place, and their activities indicated they were serious about discipleship and training.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. The basic message of the sermon was good.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?
"Who do you think you are?"