Monday, November 16, 2009

Worshipping at Renovation Church in Blaine

Yesterday, my daughter, Hannah, and I attended Renovation Church. They are a New Church Development and currently worshipping at Northpoint Elementary School in Blaine.

According to their web site,, Renovation is being birthed by enCompass Church in Vadnais Heights and Grace Fellowship in Brooklyn Park. Both churches are helping Renovation by sharing finances, training, and people. This is one of the best ways to start a church—churches planting churches. I applaud these two churches for these efforts. One of my long-term visions is for us at Chain of Lakes to plant churches.

I found out about Renovation when we at Chain of Lakes were looking for worship space this past summer. When I inquired about the availability of Northpoint Elementary, I found out that Renovation was already scheduled to worship there.

They had a very impressive launch and early start to the congregation. According to their Facebook group page, 308 attended worship on the first Sunday and 194 attended their second service the following Sunday. They are already busy organizing Home Groups and seem to have been successful. They’ve organized three Home Groups of 25 people.

I’m always interested in how new churches get started, so at at 9:50 a.m. Hannah and I pulled into the parking lot of Northpoint Elementary School ready to worship.

As I approached the parking lot I was greeted by a man waving me into the correct place to park. When Hannah and I walked into the school we were greeted at the door. I asked Hannah if she wanted to go to the Kids program that Renovation offers during worship. She decided to do that.

The people leading the Kids program put me through a fairly extensive registration process. I filled out a form at a table set up at the entrance to the space where children meet. Hannah was given a nametag; I was given a tag that I had to show when I picked up Hannah from her Sunday school classroom. I certainly understand the intent of the registration—they obviously want to ensure safe pickup of the children participating in their Kids program.

I was very pleased that Dave Nyberg, a member of the Core Group at Chain of Lakes joined me for worship. Dave and I walked into worship at the gymnasium of Northpoint Elementary a couple minutes after worship started. The gym was dark and the music was being led by a four-man Praise Band. No bulletins were handed out. The Praise Band led us in two songs—ones we would hear on KTIS.

Their equipment was impressive. Renovation had a huge black curtain hung in back of a portable stage. An image was professionally projected in the middle of the curtain. The band was made up of three guitar players and a drummer. It seemed to me that they had all the eqipment needed to share a quality presentation.

After the music the lead pastor of Renovation, David Sorn, shared a thirty minute sermon. The sermon was well-prepared and well-presented. He talked about a number of issues--the main one that struck me was the relationship of the Sermon on the Mount to the Old Testament. David previously served as the Pastor of High School Students at Constance Evangelical Free Church in Andover. The sermon was preceded by a short video clip.

After the sermon we were encouraged to sign a card that was placed under the chair where participants sat. We were encouraged to share an offering (along with the card) in a bucket that was passed. David shared that if we were visitors we didn’t need to share an offering.

We then sang three more Praise songs. The service ended when their worship leader basically said, “see you next week.”

Dave Nybert and I estimated that between 100 and 125 people attended the service.

This style of worship is one I've experienced at other new churches in the area--band, sermon, no liturgy. At Chain of Lakes we've decided to worship with a little more balanced style. We'll use traditional forms of worship and try to share them in fresh ways.

After the service I congratulated David Sorn on their very successful launch. I told him that we were starting a new church in Blaine/Lino Lakes and tried to worship with other congregations to learn from them.

Before we went to Renovation I asked Hannah if she would share with me one quality she liked about the church and one thing she didn’t. As we were driving out of the parking lot she shared a lot. I can tell she is going to be an analytical person! She shared that she enjoyed singing with the other kids in her class—I think about eight kids attended their class of 1st to 5th graders. She also shared that she would have liked to have done an art project.

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to worship with Renovation. As I do with every church I pray that they will become the community that God desires for them to be.

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