Monday, July 15, 2013
Evangelical Church of Bordeaux Right Bank
So we began our survey of the Christian scene in Bordeaux with a church I have long wanted to visit because it is the preferred church of many students now. It's an Assemblies of God congregation with a big staff and three services at the weekend (Saturday evening, Sunday 9:30 and Sunday 11:30. They also have a well-known musician working in the church and it's quite a big church so even in the summer there should be a reasonable number. The church has stopped its Saturday evening services for the summer holiday period.
We arrived in good time for the 11:30 service, despite me messing up our route ! We were welcomed by a lady at the door and I was struck by the good mix of ages - not many children, but all other ages well represented and a good mix of people. One chap on the welcome team recognised me and came over to chat.
We sat down but most people were milling and chatting at the back of the church. On the screen a countdown appeared - the service begins in 4:26 minutes. People took no notice !
The musicians came on stage, the drums did their opening burst and we were off. People took their places and I guess there were something in the order of 200 people present. Five songs, I think, including Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin. Not much repetition. Songs had good words. Music was guitar, bass guitar, drums, synth, accordion. Three singers, including Dan. The music part lasted half an hour and there was some prayer. There were two or three occasions when we were invited to sing free-style.
Then the pastor, Patrice came up to pray and then to preach, from 2 Samuel 9 on Mephibosheth, to illustrate grace (hesed). His thesis was that David was a man after God's own heart because he knew and lived grace. It was a good message that we all appreciated, clearly explaining the bible text. The application was to see ourselves as Mephibosheth, recipients of God's grace in Christ. This led very naturally into the communion service which was focussed on Dan's song "Seule ta grâce". The teaching part lasted about half an hour.
During the sermon at two different moments a quick summary was popped on the overhead screen with an invitation to tweet them. Interesting idea !
Afterwards people were invited forward for prayer if they needed to know God's grace and over half the people present went forward. Lots of folk from the church were detailed to come and pray with people.
Then offering. Announcements (which started "Welcome"!) and a presentation to a youth leader who is leaving to study in London. We left just after 1, but not before the chap who recognised me had brought Patrice over to say hallo, and not before Gwilym had gone off for a chat with Dan.