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Thanks for that Ben. I would really like to check these guys out.

The greeter thing is odd to me. To be honest, I have never thought of NOT having greeters but I would like to hear more their thought process behind that.

I would also be interested in hearing how their discipleship process works.

How long are you in town?

Do you think that fostering an enviornment that is more like a mall and less then a worship service (including the smell of beer) would be a hindrance to the counter-cultural movement that is Christianity?

Wouldn't unchurched be confused that Christians seem, at first glance, to be just like the world?

As a life-long church-goer, Forefront was such an unusual experience for me... but Vince's testimony explains a lot. He had absolutely no church background, which makes him such a great ambassador to people like these. I'd venture to say that so much of what we perceive as holiness in our services is actually a "churched culture" we've manufactured.

As a former long-time member of Forefront (6 years) I must say that the discipleship you mention can be the gap--there are small groups (called "gel" groups) where church happens even more so than the Sunday morning event. However, those two weekly activities are about all for opportunities to connect. There aren't Sunday School classes held regularly, for example, but a monthly (or so) opportunity for 101, 201, 301 classes about church & Christ. Due to the fact that the church continues, after 8 years, to meet in a "temporary" facility, the benefits that come wtih a church HOUSE (so to speak) are missing. Forefront does well to try so hard to create these environments--picnics at the beach, baptism services held many times throughout a year, email updates, an active website, etc., annual women's retreat...

I fully agree with your first impression--this church wonderfully brings people in! And, you are also right in wondering about the lack of greeters having an effect on people's welcome feeling. But it's hard to criticize when I didn't ever step-up to stand around & look for newbies or answer their questions when they had them.

To answer the post by Charlie Wallace, I must say that the smell of beer, as you said, isn't of those who are on the staff or outreach team, of course! It means those who smell like beer are never judged or turned away. Better, really, is an explanation of 60%+ having tatoos or piercings! I always felt on the older edge of things there--with only three earrings & not a tattoo to be found! :-)

I always felt, however, that as a "seasoned Christian" I was responsible to seek out my own growth groups for the deeper spiritual needs.

When you get right down to it, though, isn't stripped down faith as basic as just the elements of Christianity? If we all only TURNED to Jesus when we hit any snag, and really poured it all out to Him instead of looking to everyone else to solve our issues, that would certainly be the best place to start to live a better life in all ways (as Forefront says, "Loving God & Loving People"), so the repetition of a simple message week after week does remind us that it can sometimes be just that simple! I've been pretty profoundly affected by a stripped down message on many occasions when I had clogged up my own complex life with too much complication (like that very sentence, itself!).

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