Monday, November 14, 2005

Great worship today at Eagle Brook Church...

Eagle Brook Church is my home away from home church. I have commitments to my church to fulfill, but on special ocassions I am able to catch a service here and there, and today was one of those days. A lot of fantastic stuff going on there today, and an ending of some church services as well.

1) Jason Anderson (husband to the amazing Amy Anderson) preached today. Jason is the new speaking pastor for Eagle Brook. His sermon was based out of Exodus (mostly Ch. 4) and examined the change in Moses' life, and how we respond to change. A powerful message with some great illustrations. Jason is physically more animated than Bob Merritt is, and it was a nice change up for the congregation I think. Jason really nailed this message, and though we were supposed to leave the service a little bit early, we didn't because we didn't want to miss any of the message. We did end up being late to our next appointment, but our friend was understanding.

2) The worship was stellar! If I could bottle the essence of a worship band, today's 11:45 upper sanctuary service would be the one I would want over and over. Steve Duede and team helped me and my fiancee connect with God. I so appreciate talented musicians, good song selection, and great sound systems, but today went beyond that. The lighting was excellent. Lights came up and down during different portions of songs. A light on the Cross would come on during certain segments of some songs. It all blended seamlessly and wonderfully into a great worship experience. It was great to see so many people in this service.

3) The service was at 11:45, which was a problem for us. I seem to remember this service being 11:15, and nobody notified me of the change! Banana (my fiancee) and I were sitting in the parking lot of the church right at 11:00, and could have made the service in the main sanctuary, but chose not too, because it looked awefully full. So we trudged up to the other end of the church complex for the 11:15 service. At 11:15 we were the only people in the sanctuary, and I found that rather odd. No musicians or anything. So I double checked, and realized the service started a half hour later. Banana was able to grab a cup of coffee and we relaxed a bit. Unfortunately this crunched us for time, but that I my fault for not paying closer attention.

4) At the end of the service, I had a chance to chat with Amy Anderson and Kathy Resler Chambliss. Amy is the Executive Director of Worship Ministries, and Kathy is the fairly new Sr. High Pastor. I was reminded about what a great staff Eagle Brook has assembled. But that's not my point, though talent is important. It was nearly 1:00 Sunday afternoon, with SEVEN church services completed, and both of these women took the time to talk with me. I'm sure both have very busy schedules, and have no doubt both were beat and ready to head home, but there they were. Eagle Brook is a huge church, the second largest church in Minnesota from my understaning (Hosanna Lutheran I think is the biggest). It's easy for things and people to get lost when a church grows to this side. Eagle Brook staff are intentional about being available before and after services. When you walk around their campus, it is not uncommon to run into the staff, and they are all easy to converse with. Whoever is preaching (generally Bob Merritt) makes themselves scarce, but almost everybody else is mingling with people as they come and go. And today with Bob not preaching, I was even able to catch him for a brief conversation. This is why Eagle Brook works. They excel at paying attention to details. They have put a premium on excellence, and strive for it in all they do. Many churches, both large and small, could learn much from this.

5) Today was the last church services in the upper worship center at Eagle Brook Church. The next two weeks, those normally worshipping in those two services have been asked to join in during one of the other 5 services in the main sanctuary. December 3/4 Eagle Brook will open their new facility in Lino Lakes, MN, near where 35W and 35E join in the North Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro. The new sanctuary will seat 2100 people, and there will be 4 services. Eventually they will bring back 2 services to the old facilities in White Bear Lake, but those dates haven't been released to my knowledge. When those services return to the old campus, they will be the programs called "The Edge" and "The Brook". Edge is an edgier (is that a word?) service, with rocking/loud worship. Brook will be the other end of the spectrum, with a bit more of a traditional and mellower worship. I think this is a great set of services that will hopefully blossom when they get up and running.

6) Bob Merritt was interviewed for The Leadership Blog. Joshua put out a call a month or so ago for who we thought should be interviewed, and I offered up Pastor Bob. I hooked Joshua up with some contact info and Bob's secretary's name and it appears it worked. I've mentioned before that Bob is one of my favorite Pastors I have ever met/listened to. Sure, I was his teaching assistant for two years at Bethel Seminary, but beyond that, he has had a great impact on me. He is a great communicator, and a man of integrity. He leads well, and enjoys life. He has Kingdom centered priorities, and for all of that he has earned my respect. Bob is good people.

So, if you live in the North Metro of the Twin Cities, and you are looking for a church, check out Eagle Brook when they open their new campus. I think a lot of exciting things will happen there! I pray that God will bless them in this time of transition.

7) Look through the staff directory of Eagle Brook Church, and count the # of people who have a last name that ends in "son". There's almost enough Andersons to field a basketball team!

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