It was a beautiful Sunday morning as I surveyed the full parking lot at your Typical church. Mountains standing in the distance, blue sky hovering above, bright sun baking each individual car like tea biscuits—it was the perfect morning to appreciate God’s amazing creation and huddle inside the auditorium. All church services have hiccups, of course—not enough coffee, that one baby who cries the entire service, the worship leaders forgetting to play “Good Good Father”—and today was no exception. No one was expecting the sun to appear in Chilliwack until late June, I suppose, so the sun made it impossible to see the song lyrics projected onto the two sides of the church. This wouldn’t have been a problem except for the few newcomers scattered in the congregation who didn’t know the words. No one wanted to tell them, but everyone knows that if you don’t sing during the worship service, you lose three points off your spirituality. Thankfully, that one really tall kid from youth group closed the blinds and the newcomers were able to mumble along, much to everyone’s relief. I personally don’t believe the newcomers were even Christian because they clearly didn’t pass the Christian test of knowing Chris Tomlin lyrics. If I saw correctly, one of them even had a tattoo, and it wasn’t a Bible verse or written in Hebrew. I don’t know what they were thinking.
Of course, the entire thing could have been avoided if I had attended a more Relevant church this week. The modern, windowless look isn’t for everyone, but at least it keeps the sun out. I’m not sure how spiritual these churches are, with their lack of pews and stained-glass windows, but I guess the bright lights and high-tech sound equipment make up for it. Sometimes, I forget I’m in God’s holy sanctuary and assume I’ve wandered into the middle of a music concert—TobyMac or Lecrae, of course, because the Bible clearly forbids any secular music within a ten-foot radius of a Christian. Even without pews, I’m certain the Holy Spirit visits these churches more than other types, based on the youth attendance alone. You know it’s a Relevant church when the youth group sits in the back of the congregation and shouts “Amen!” when the pastor mentions the upcoming youth retreat at Stillwood. When I was still attending kid’s church, I couldn’t wait to go to a youth retreat and add twenty points to my spirituality. They may be overpriced, but God calls all of us to make sacrifices.
The one thing I don’t like about Typical and Relevant churches is their communion. They usually have these dry, gluten-free pieces of cardboard to chew on while the pastor reads from Matthew 26. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all about inclusion and allowing hipsters to participate in communion—but I don’t know how spiritual it really is. Is Jesus’ body made of gluten-free crackers? I don’t think so. Some people haven’t grasped the fact that communion has to please my tastebuds in order for me to truly experience God and his sacrifice on the cross. Traditional churches, on the other hand, serve generous cubes of legitimate bread, along with the usual grape juice. They’re doing it right.
The one thing about Traditional churches is that, in the few times I’ve attended one, I haven’t seen a single child there. My best guess is that they hide them away and let them watch Veggietales during the service (that’s what they did at my previous church, when they were looking for a new kid’s pastor), but I’m not even sure any kids go to these churches. Also, the first time I attended one, I didn’t even know it was a Traditional church and I wore blue jeans—with holes in them, for goodness’ sake! I was so embarrassed when four spiritual points were taken away for not adhering to the dress code.
The best part about living in Chilliwack is that, now that I know the rules and expectations of each type of church, I don’t have to compromise my spirituality! If I want to wear blue jeans one week, I’ll attend a Relevant church. If I’m looking for comfortable seating, I choose a Typical church. And I always schedule my attendance to make sure I land all communion Sundays at a Traditional church. After seventeen years of living here, I’ve finally mastered the art of church.