I just finished a wonderful jog, had a nice shower and am enjoying my tea as I look outside and marvel at the dazzling sunshine. My Sunday morning routine has changed often throughout the years, but at this point in my life it is far different than it was before. But, I guess so much of life is changed now. Not so long ago, I would wake up early on Sunday morning so I could eat breakfast, do my devotions, and head off to church. If I was really motivated, I would set my alarm an hour earlier than I had to get up - and I would get a run in before church.
Now, I don’t go to church on Sunday morning. Nope. Now I go to church on Monday nights.
Let me explain how this began. My daughter Madison lives in Ypsilanti. When she moved there, I thought she might naturally be able to find her way into a large church we had visited in the past that was located right near the University of Michigan’s campus. But that didn’t seem to be a good fit after she moved and had settled in. I was attending a very large church in Hartland, which was a great church, and I was content worshiping God there. I actually liked the fact I was pretty much invisible when I attended. Then a pastor from a church in Ann Arbor came one Sunday and spoke. He mentioned the church he pastored in Ann Arbor and it was called “the greenroom”. His message moved and engaged me unlike any message had in a long while, and, even though I know church is not about me, I was curious about the greenroom.
So I went home and I looked it up online. Look it up when you get the chance - http://thegreenroom-annarbor.com/. I learned the greenroom is a church that celebrates the arts and artists of all types. The pastor, Scott Crownover, and his wife Denise are actors-turned-pastors. They were called by God to start a church in Ann Arbor that appreciates and enjoys arts and artists, because, after all, God is an artist Himself! One of the interesting things I found out is they meet on Monday nights. I would later learn this is because many actors and actresses work on weekends and cannot attend traditional Sunday morning church. Scott and Denise are not traditional-type people, anyway, so they decided their church would meet on Monday evenings.
My daughter Maddy has always been a girl who loved the arts. She has a beautiful singing voice, (although she is too shy to use it), she used to play violin and dabbled in drama when she was in school. She is a hair stylist now and I think that is yet another art form - she is certainly very creative in what she does. So I started thinking about her and decided I would ask if she would like to try out the greenroom with me. She was happy I asked - and was particularly glad she didn’t have to get up early on Sunday morning to go - so we decided to check it out the next Monday.
Now, I do not remember ever being nervous before attending a church service in my life. But I have to admit, I was nervous the first day I was heading out to the greenroom. A church for artists? What was I doing? I was being moved out of my comfort zone, for sure! And it never seems like God just eases me out of those comfort zones - I get moved out with a bang! I had no idea what to think. I was expecting an eclectic group of people. I guess I thought the church would be filled with young hippy-types, and eccentric young artists setting up their easels while others strolled around playing their sitars and kettle drums. I thought there might be beads and incense. And I really thought I was going to stick out like a sore thumb. I had a feeling I was going to be the oldest person there - and certainly the least artistic of them all! I have nothing to offer in terms of creativity. I can’t paint, I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t draw, I pretty much can’t create. I don't even scrapbook or make crafts! Those things are out of my league. I can appreciate those who do, though, but that is about it. I hoped it would be a church where Maddy had a place, and then I could move on and find where God wanted me to be.
What I found was a group of accepting, loving people who warmly welcomed me through the doors of the big yellow barn where the church meets. I found young people, and old people (some older than me). I found gifted musicians and actors and artists of all sorts, but my lack of talents did not put a target on my back, I was as welcome to be there as anyone. I found something you don’t often see in a church - a multicultural body of people - truly a blessing in itself. I found an amazingly humble pastor and family who are listening to God’s call on their lives and following Him no matter what it costs them. And overwhelming it all, was the presence of God.
In this day and age of the mega-church I found a church in which I never get the sense their ultimate goal is to build an enormous building to fill with tens of thousands of people. And the incredible thing about that is - people I talk to who don’t go to church often don’t go because they are tired of the megachurch movement. I sense and believe Pastor Scott is on the cutting edge of God shaking up His Church, and changing how things are done, particularly in America - and Pastor Scott is going to find himself leading the way.
If you find yourself looking for something to do on Monday evening, come on out to the greenroom in Ann Arbor. We meet at 7:30 in a big yellow barn. You will find Pastor Scott and a lot of amazingly gifted artistic people. Sarah and Maddy and I will be there - we sit toward the back because sometimes Sarah and I have to skip out a bit early to pick up Panera donations. If it is a truly blessed night - you will get to hear Scott’s wife, Denise, sing a song of worship. Beautiful.
But, most importantly, you will find God. And that’s what church is about.