causes, effects, and miscalculations

So I arrived to San Diego Saturday, safe and sound, planning to attend Skyline Church‘s “The Cause” service, a worship experience targeted toward college students and Young Adults. While surfing Skyline’s site, however, I discovered the church had another service preceding that – known as “Effect.” (It all makes for lots of cute notes about “The Cause and Effect services.”)

Anyway, based on the info I could gather online, I was counting on “Effect” being some sort of postmodern service. The name certainly sounded “contemporary,” it appeared to be more community-based than just a normal “church service,” and it met at 5pm on Saturdays. (You can see what I was reading here.) I was a bit surprised when I was greeted at the doors by an older lady, but I just thought, “How cool! She’s loving on people my age!”

Apparently, however, I was just way off. Effect turns out to be a 55+ sort of service, complete with their own emcee and “I’ll Fly Away.” So there I was, singing away with the Southern gospel-style music, enjoying these sweet people and a neat-though-clearly-specialized service. All part of the adventure, but certainly not what I was counting on!

Skyline, like lots of big churches, had quite a few services this weekend – five, actually. However, unlike many multi-service churches I’ve seen, their services had pretty wide diversity. Sure, I’ve seen (and belonged to) churches that performed “traditional” and “contemporary” services each weekend. But this was a bit different. In all, Skyline had:

  • “Effect,” which was a “Southern Gospel” sort of crowd (if that makes sense)
  • “The Cause,” which is indeed a rather edgy college and young singles draw.
  • A “Classics” service early Sunday morning, billed as “Traditional Hymns and Gospel Worship”
  • Two “Contemporary” services Sunday at 9:30 and 11am

So that’s four different service types, all with the same message but pretty distinct “specializations.” (You can find ’em all described here.) That level of distinct specialization was just kinda new to me.

So that’s how I ended up at my first “seniors service” for the Road Trip! I hope they weren’t offended by my college T-shirt, Gap pants, and tennis shoes…

But this particular church phenomenon – worship service specialization – is really on my mind for another reason. Sunday morning, I ran into the church that may very well take the cake in the “church service specialization” department. For me, this was a shocker. I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow [here’s that post].

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