|830: United Christian Church of Dubai, Jumeira, Dubai|
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Mystery Worshipper: Son of a Preacher Man.
The church: United Christian Church of Dubai, Jumeira, Dubai.
Denomination: "Non-denominational" per the church website, although I would say they have Pentecostal leanings.
The building: Converted villa. It looks like a house from the outside.
The church: When we visited, they had just opened their new church centre, which from the pictures in the church leaflet looked very impressive. Services were to continue at the old villa as the new centre was out of the city.
The neighbourhood: The building is next to the Iranian Consulate, just off the Al Wasl Road.
The cast: Worship was led by Gerald Longjohn (associate pastor) and the preacher was Daniel Splett (pastor).
What was the name of the service?
Worship Service, 7.30pm.
How full was the building?
About 60 per cent full. We started with about 45 people, and then another 10 arrived at around 8pm.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A polite hello at the door, when the weekly service sheet was handed out.
Was your pew comfortable?
The seats were acceptable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Fairly quiet, except for the worship group practising. The leader was not happy with the singing, so they had to go through the same song several times.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"I would like to welcome you again to the United Christian Church of Dubai."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
None. Song words were projected onto a screen.
What musical instruments were played?
Keyboard, flute, acoustic guitar, plus five singers.
Did anything distract you?
The floor was the biggest distraction. It was a hideous orange/brown colour and made it very hard to concentrate. Also, there were a number of flags from around the world on the wall. There was a space and a sign for "United Kingdom", but the flag was missing.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Fairly laid back. "Shine, Jesus, shine" appeared to be the favourite song of the fellowship.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
5 He tended to wander about. He used his hands quite a bit.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
"Being a lighthouse". The sermon was based around the new church centre being "a lighthouse" in Dubai. Much focus was placed on the "10/40 window of unreached church groups". Positive impressions of Christianity had to be given in order to "win the lost".
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The sense of international community in a non-Christian country. A wide range of nationalities were present: English, American, Canadian and Asian.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The tendency of the service leader and preacher to go on about the new church building.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Food and drinks were promised, but did not materialise. After looking lost for a few minutes, we were approached by an American gentleman. We had a general chat about our holiday in Dubai and the new church centre.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
It would have been nice to find out.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 Given the limited number of Christian churches in Dubai, the options for regular worship would be somewhat restricted.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. I felt more spiritually uplifted than before the service.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The missing refreshments.