Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rock Harbor rocks

I wrote in an earlier blog entry that while some our church staff was out in southern California, we were able to visit several different local church ministries. One ministry that we wanted to see but did not get to visit is called Rock Harbor in Costa Mesa. The Sunday our staff was there, they did not have any services. Instead, they called that Sunday “Serve Day” and over 1800 of their congregation joined with over 20 other churches in the county and spent that day out in their community doing service projects. However, since my family spent extra days after conference doing some vacationing out in the California sunshine, we were able to visit Rock Harbor on the following Sunday. We have always tried to make it a priority to go to church when we are on vacation. Why? We want our kids to know that church is what we do because we are Christ-followers, not simply because dad is a preacher and gets paid to go to church.

The lead pastor at Rick Harbor is a tremendous man named Todd Proctor. Ask any of our church teens who Todd Proctor is and they will tell you. Todd has led worship at Brethren National Youth Conference (BNYC) for the last several years. He is one of the most gifted worship leaders I have ever met. I got to spend some time talking with Todd after the BNYC session that I spoke at this summer. I was also able to introduce my family to Todd after the service we attended at Rick Harbor. I don’t usually buy music CD’s but I bought two of Todd’s and the live worship that he leads at Rock Harbor.

Rick Harbor has multiple services each weekend at two different locations. The service we attended began with a whole lot of worship. On that particular Sunday a group of children from Uganda sang several songs. Boy could those kids dance. It was really fun to watch. After this beginning time of worship there was a message followed by more worship and a time to respond to God’s leading in your life. The worship is always live but the speaker may be via video depending on which service you attend.

The service we attended at their main campus that Sunday was packed…literally standing room only in the auditorium. Then, out in the foyer, there were hundreds more people sitting in chairs watching the service on screens. God is truly allowing Todd Proctor and the Rock Harbor ministry to reach many, many people. It was exciting to see.

The thing I found most fascinating was the way they gave opportunity to respond during the ending worship time after the message. As many songs were song, people had many options. They could just stand and participate in the very effective and moving time of worship. Throughout the outside areas of the auditorium there were several crosses. At each cross there were several church elders and staff members. During the ending time of worship, if you desired someone to pray with you, all you had to do was go to one of these crosses as people continued to sing. At each cross there were also elements for the bread and the cup. If you desired to remember the sacrifice of Christ through taking communion, you could also do this at one of the crosses during the ending time of worship. It was a very informal yet effective way of giving people a chance to respond.

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