|278: St Mark's Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, USA|
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Mystery Worshipper: Zizzard.
The church: St Mark's Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, USA.
Denomination: Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.
The building: The church has an A-shaped front with a steeple and the surrounding area is well landscaped. The sanctuary is beautiful as is the narthex, having just been remodelled.
The neighbourhood: It is behind an elementary school in an older neighborhood.
The cast: The youth minister, Bill Streger, opened the service and Rev. William Dasch, Senior Pastor, gave the sermon.
What was the name of the service?
10:45 Service with Communion.
How full was the building?
The service was packed.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
The lady who gave me the bulletin smiled at me.
Was your pew comfortable?
Cushioned and very comfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
It was very, very noisy. There was certainly no chance for anyone to go in and just sit and meditate.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning and welcome to St Mark."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
The bulletin had the entire service inside. There were Bibles and hymnals in the pew, but they were not used.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano.
Did anything distract you?
When the songs were sung, someone was "helping" the congregation by singing into a microphone. The wonderment of the congregation singing together was lost and overpowered by this person.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The service was basically informal. They had a children's sermon, something that I absolutely dislike sitting through, and the person directing this part was very loud. It was very disrupting to the service and it took a few minutes for the mood of worship to return.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 Pastor Dasch was a wonderful preacher. The only problem I had is that he is apparently one of those preachers who relies on stories to preach his sermon. Maybe that is how the Lutherans learn their skill, but it is very distracting and takes away from the real issues at hand.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Building your life on a solid foundation, which is God's word. We are to hear, read, study, memorize, meditate and do God's word.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Communion was celebrated and some people went to the alter. Others had "drive through" communion, which was just walking by someone who handed them a wafer and the wine. It seems like the reverence is lost when that happens. I personally went to the rail and it was the best part of the service for me.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I disliked the fact I couldn't enjoy the wonderful sounds of the entire congregation singing because of that person apparently thinking his voice was better than the congregations blended voices.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I had to leave in a hurry, so didn't have a chance to find out.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Coffee is only offered after the earlier services and Sunday school. I went to the last service.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Very much so. Pastor Dasch gave a wonderful sermon, one that would keep you going through the whole week until you got back the next week.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The importance of staying in God's word.