As I always do, I try to visit as many churches as possible when I’m away from my church. This past Sunday I visited 3 churches in the upstate of South Carolina – 2 in the morning and 1 at night.

  • 9:00 AM – I went to a church that I always try to visit whenever I’m in Greer, SC: Springwell Church. Springwell is a vibrant, fairly young church that has had a great impact on their community. This was my 3rd time getting to attend a service in their new (3 years old) worship center. As usual, I wrestled with trying to worship and turning off my analyzing and critiquing. All in all, I had a great experience. This was the first time I had seen them use IMAG (they had 3 cameras). I was disappointed with the quality of cameras/picture and the video directing. I also thought their left and right screens were too small for that size room. On the positive, I like how they used their screens. They had a left, giant middle and right screen. They did some cool stuff on the middle screen which was a nice touch. The had some nice looking backgrounds and FYI – they were using ProPresenter. The music was great. 2 young worship leaders co-lead and both had great voices and sang some of my favorite songs. Their youth pastor was preaching. I only got to listen to his intro and then had to slip out to go get my family and attend my mom’s church.
  • 10:30 AM – I went to Tigerville Baptist Church, which is where my mom and step-dad go. My step-dad is the pastor there. TBC is located on the campus of North Greenville University. This church was probably the most special of the 3 churches I visited. Besides getting to hear my step-dad preach and worshiping with my kids and mom, it brought back all kinds of memories from the church I grew up in. This church is much like how I grew up – no screens/media, the music minister called out the hymn numbers and we turned in our hymnals to that song. Everybody knew everybody. There was a sweet spirit and family-type feel, which I can see being attractive to college students – which they have attending when school is in. There was no children’s ministry, so my 3 kids sat on the same pew with my wife, mom and me. I must say, they behaved very well and it was a memorable experience.
  • 5:00 PM – Sunday night, I rode with my friend Don Chapman to his church: NewSpring in Anderson, SC. As you know, I’ve blogged about NewSpring several times. 2 of their staff members: Lee McDerment and Tony Morgan are a part of my upcoming book. Tony was on vacation, so I didn’t get to talk with him, but I did get to hang with Lee for a bit. Lee is an amazing worship leader and that band rocked! The whole experience was amazing. I was blown away. NewSpring lived up to all the hype (they are on the “Most Innovative Church” list and the “Fasting Growing Church in America” list). I knew of what they were doing, but had never seen it with my own eyes. Now I know why Don drives 30 minutes every week to go there. He won’t have to for long because they are launching a Greenville campus! I was blessed to be there for their last Sunday of the year, where they gave thanks to God for all He had done in 2007. You can listen to the message online. They played a highlight video, which was very moving. They had also had their congregation vote on their favorite songs of 2007 and did the top songs – I loved them. I was very impressed with everything I saw on the screens – the backgrounds, the picture quality, the video directing, everything – very well done. The sound was great – they are not afraid to raise the roof. I commented that I had never been to a church that played the pre-service/prelude music so loud – it was cranked! If you ever have the chance, you’ve got to check out what God is doing in this small city – it’s truly a God-thing. FYI – NewSpring used MediaShout.

Greg Atkinson

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