Another Sunday — Southside II


This entry is part of my series on my on-going “church journey” that I’ll be documenting as it takes place. You can read about other visits with the “journey” tag.

I’ll admit that my second visit to Southside Baptist Church this past weekend started on the same footing as my last visit a few weeks ago — service had already started by the time I drove tardily into the parking lot.

From there, however, the differences began immediately. As I approached the doors, there were Pam and the girls coming in late, as well. Rodney shook my hand, welcomed me and handed me a bulletin. Tammy gave me a hug as I walked into the sanctuary. To be honest, I really don’t know who the other person that spoke was as I came in, but he knew me.

Point being, these were people I knew. Last time I was there, I was very aware that I was returning for the first time in about three years to my long-time church home, but it felt like returning home in much the same sense it would be to go back to a former house and find other people living there. I think I recognized only one face — the minister of music — last time I was there. This time was very different.

The second difference — the place was packed. During my journey, I’ve only been to a couple of services this packed. It was the complete opposite of the last time I was there. To be fair, since the last time, the church had gone from having two Sunday morning services to just one, but even so. It would have taken far more than two of the crowd at the last service I went to to equal what I saw this week.

The last time I visited, it was the Southside I was afraid I would find: largely emptied after the rift going on when I left, with a sermon focused on the fear that had taken root in the church.

This week was the Southside I had hoped I would find: filled with people — a mixture of long-term members I knew and fresh faces — and a dynamic, Bible-focused new preacher.

I’m glad I came back.

I’m pretty sure there was a lesson in it for me; other than the obvious fact that I shouldn’t judge a church based on one service on one Sunday. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but suspect I may find out before too terribly long.

I’m not sure what next week holds. I’ve had a couple of suggestions (in fact, they may have been suggestions for the same place, which would give them a little more weight). After revisiting Southside, I’m also now interested in going back to the church I grew up in before going there. And, after a Creative Arts team meeting on Sunday night, I may have to start spending more time at Sojourn. So we’ll see.

One Response

  1. I’m glad things went so much better at Southside this time, David. I realized when I looked at your photo that in the four years I went there, I almost never sat in that corner of the sanctuary! It gave me a whole different perspective of the place.

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