Like these two agnostic church hoppers, I like to sample different churches whenever I can to broaden my horizons and keep myself open to a variety of views, models, and styles.

When I first moved to Minneapolis, I visited Solmon’s Porch. Its pastor, Doug Pagitt, is a leader in the emerging church movement. The congregation meets on couches facing a center stool, from which Pagitt leads his sermon/discussion each Sunday, spinning constantly to address everyone. Solomon’s Porch is very artistic, and unfortunately their worship time was basically a performance concert for one young composer. But Pagitt is a good speaker and leader, and the community seemed genuine.

Next up was Missio Dei, not so much a church but a missional order: in this case, a small group of people authentically submitting to the lordship of Christ and loving and serving people in the West Bank neighborhood. Because their beliefs and mission – and in particular those of leader Mark van Steenwyk – so resonated with my own heart, Missio Dei has become my home community of believers in Minneapolis.

I joined my friend Brandon on a Substance Church men’s retreat, and later visited their Sunday service in St. Paul. They are mostly youth-focused, and in fact I wonder if many of its members attend because they are lovesick youths seeking a “safe, Godly” mate (which I found to be a common motivation for youths to join YWAM). Pastor Peter is energetic, loving, and genuine. Substance Church operates under free market church government, a structure that especially empowers the church body to advance the Kingdom of God, not the elders and their programs.

Because I so loved Greg Boyd’s downloadable sermons, I visited his home church, Woodland Hills. Their worship wasn’t my style, but Boyd’s preaching was as impacting as ever, and I was impressed by Woodland Hills’ commitment to prayer. Volunteers prayed silently for people as they entered the building, and volunteers prayed throughout the service.

Next came Spirit Garage, a mostly non-liturgical Lutheran church of about 50 people featuring hard rock worship (including a rockin’ electric blues version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”). The service wasn’t my style, but it was thankfully brief.

That’s all of this episode of Church Hoppin’!

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