kristy and i had a busy weekend. friday night we were busy around the house, then saturday we spent all day getting ready for and executing a party for my pal SPC dave who is shipping off to war sometime in the near future.

sunday AM we woke up tired and drove over to our church, CCB. i led music for the kids and then kristy and i tag teamed sunday school for 1st-5th graders. it was a blast as usual.

once we got home we collapsed. ricky went straight to bed and i played with rachel for a while. then they swapped – ricky was up, rachel went down for a nap. they never sleep at the same time. i had a great time enjoying my kids on father’s day.

since we missed the service, we packed everyone up and headed over to the friendly neighborhood megachurch, Buckhead Church to get in a service. it was our first visit and it was something else.

first, a little background on CCB. we started in a strip club. a closed, run down, junky, nasty strip club. we renovated and had services there for a while. after the strip club we went to the AMC theaters at phipps plaza mall. we set everything up and tore it down every sunday. it was fun for a while but we started to get worn out. and i think everyone was tired of their shoes sticking to the nasty floor. i’ll never look at a movie theater the same way again. as a matter of fact, i’ll probably just join netflix.

a while back we stumbled onto a good thing in buckhead on peachtree street right next to maggianos. the christian scientists had moved out of their spartan building and it was sitting empty. some big hotel chain has bought the property and will build yet another high rise condo/hotel building, but apparently it’s slow going. we’ve been there for a while and we’re just starting the process of looking for another building.

so here we go visiting Buckhead Church.

the first thing i noticed was the parking. they have a deck. their OWN deck. wow. real estate in buckhead is $$$$$$$ and parking decks aren’t cheap.

we rode the elevator up to Waumba Land – their kids area. they have 3 elevators. when we got off the elevator we saw some escalators. i felt like i was at the world congress center! the Waumba Land reps had us fill out some receipts for our children and we took them down the immaculate, incredibly well decorated hallways to their classrooms. Rachel was with a bunch of other little ones and Ricky was with some kinda little ones like him in another room. the Waumba Land workers were very nice and we felt safe leaving our kids with them. well, as safe as a parent ever feels leaving their kids with someone…

then we leave and i notice the old school Land Rover sitting in the hall outside Waumba Land for decoration. how appropriate, a Land Rover in buckhead! i chortled.

we rode the escalator up and went into the worship area which is essentially a big warehouse-style box. it was minimalist and i liked it. the Buckhead Church people know where to spend their money, and gaudy cathedral-esque decorations in the worship area is not that place. they hit a home run here.

being the nerd that i am i was immediately wowed by the tech booth. they had some sound/light/video gear i’ve only seen at arena concerts. way cool. then i noticed the sound reinforcement. same thing, arena concert. i thought to myself “this is going to be good”..

we sat close to the front because i wanted to see the musicians up close. like any other musician i always compare myself and my gear to whoever i’m looking at. gear? they had it. chops? they had em. i was impressed. the production was top notch as well. Casey Darnell led worship and he was great. they played some steve fee and some todd fields music – northpoint association alumni. Buckhead Church is the place to play in the ATL if you want to get into the Jesus music biz.

i was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see the fabled holographic Andy Stanley, but hearing Jeff Henderson speak was pretty good. Jeff is a good communicator and he busted out some hebrew – good stuff.

we stopped by and spoke to our friend Carlos Whittaker afterwards – he produced the services yesterday. he’s inundated with people but he immediately remembered us from his visit with the CCB volunteer team a few weeks ago. he’s a great guy. go read his blog.

my takeaways:

  • there are a lot of white people at Buckhead Church. i mean a LOT.
  • the band was 37.5% not white, which is awesome. i hope that bleeds into their crowd.
  • CCB and Buckhead Church are worlds apart but we have the same dream and vision to glorify God. very cool.
  • exactly 5 staff/volunteer people said hello to us besides Carlos. Carlos doesn’t count since we had to go find him 🙂
  • of those 5 only one said anything more than hello – and it was the lady explaining how to reclaim our children after their Waumba Land experience. oh, she told us what to do if our number pops up on the screen too (that means one of them is melting down)
  • a few people shook my hand since i’m a dad. they made us stand up and i didn’t see a lot of dads in the crowd. interesting.
  • big, nice buildings are nice
  • big, nice buildings can distract if you aren’t careful. Buckhead Church is careful. good job!
  • i need to practice my guitar and bass!
  • killer, high tech, professional worship can still be heartfelt and true.
  • we’re in it together.

that’s it. Buckhead Church has a lot of growing to do and a lot of potential. so does CCB. we do things differently. our budgets are massively disproportionate. our hearts aren’t.

it might sound strange to say that the mighty Northpoint/Buckhead Church has growth potential, but as long as there’s someone in Atlanta who hasn’t experienced the love of Christ then EVERY church has work to do.

next time kristy and i teach sunday school we’ll be back at Buckhead Church..

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