Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Seacoast Greenville Article

Don Chapman at WorshipIdeas.com (a great site!) wrote a nice article about us after attending our 1 Year Anniversary service. It was great to read, because that whole day is still kind of a blur for me! Here is the article:

- WorshipIdea: Video Church
____________________________________________________________

A few weeks ago I talked about how refreshing it is for us
worship leaders to attend a worship service we didn't plan.
Recently I had the chance to sneak out after our praise set
and attend a new, local church plant that you'll find very
interesting.

Seacoast Church is a huge mega-church in Charleston, SC. A
few years ago they outgrew their location and began taking
steps to enlarge their building. Charleston denied the
request to expand. Soon after the pastor discovered churches
around the country that are starting to expand by video. A
church is planted, has its own praise band and campus
pastor, but relies mostly on a sermon video feed from the
mother church. The sermon is taped at the main church's
Saturday night service, then broadcast Sunday morning. The
new plant considers itself a part of the main congregation,
and will rent facilities (public schools, movie theaters)
instead of purchasing buildings.

Shame on Charleston, but then again, look how God can use
circumstances to expand the Kingdom. Seacoast began planting
video churches like this - first in other parts of
Charleston, then in Columbia SC, Irmo SC and Savannah GA.
One year ago they planted a church here in Greenville, SC. I
attended their one year anniversary worship service.

Want a template for a successful church? Since Seacoast is
starting to take over the south, take notes:

1. A helpful website complete with pastor's blog, sermon
video clips and podcasts. Service times and directions are
easily accessible. I enjoyed reading what's been on campus
pastor Chris Surratt's mind via his blog, and felt I knew
him
a little bit before I stepped in the door.

2. Top worship. With (only!) about 150 attendees, Seacoast
has a top-notch praise band that could go head-to-head with
anything from Willow Creek. Not as interested in performing
secular rock tunes to draw in the unchurched, Seacoast
believes seekers are seeking... God... and wants to help
them connect through a real worship experience. I enjoyed
the latest worship tunes led by one of the most fantastic
female voices I've ever heard in a local church setting (a
vocalist from the Charleston church who occasionally leads
worship in Greenville.) Not blended, yet not ultra hip, the
music was just right - with a mix of rocking tunes and
gentle ballads.

3. Timely messages. Using pop culture as a touchstone,
Seacoast reaches people where they are (with the truth of
the Word) instead of going over their heads with doctrinal
dissertations.

4. Bookstore. Feeding the sheep is oh so important.
Personally, I'd love to be reading the latest "it"
devotional book but have no idea what it is or where to find
it. Seacoast has a book table in the back with recommended
reading for sale.

5. A vision. After the worship, Chris reminded the
congregation of where the church is heading... with goals of
excellent worship, community and outreach (Chris spoke that
week instead of a video feed, which he does from time to
time.) This congregation knows where it's going.

6. Community. Right after Chris started speaking, everyone
heard a thud in the back of the room. A man had had a heart
attack and fell out of his chair. Immediately paramedics
were called and I watched as people mobilized around the
room to help the situation and joined hands in prayer (he's
fine, by the way.)

It's no wonder this church is starting two services after
only a year. With over 30 new professions of faith, almost
1/4 of the congregation are new converts. Get a taste of
Seacoast at their website:

http://www.seacoastchurch.org/

4 comments:

Gary Lamb said...

Very cool

Josh Surratt said...

Great article Chris. You guys are doing an awesome job up there!

Josh Sargent said...

Great job! Keep it up. God is blessing.

Jason said...

Great Article...I can't wait to get back up there again!