When I first came to partner with Pat Ward and be a part of The Orchard here in Oxford, the church met at The Powerhouse. And actually the first and second time I ever visited there was a different quality about it. First visit was a mid summer visit. Low crowd. Honest Biblical teaching. Moving music. All simple but genuine. The second visit was over Christmas break. So Oxford was empty again. But we were celebrating Christmas. And there were some funky decorations from a dance the night before.
But for the next year and a half I was a part of The Orchard meeting at The Powerhouse. It’s a great place. And sometimes you never know what to expect when you get there early on a Sunday morning to set up for church. Especially if there was a huge wedding reception or a wine tasting or a ghetto booty dance contest there just a matter of hours before we got there.
But for all the great character and variables that came with The Powerhouse we needed a little more space. Specifically childrens space and parking space and a few more chairs would be nice as well. We’d been praying and keeping our eyes open for a while. And a property we’d inquired about before became available. And it was in a movie theater!
I have kept up with a few churches that have met in theaters, but never been to a service in a theater. Most noteable is National Community Church (who’s domain name is TheaterChurch.com interestingly enough). But now that we’ve been meeting at The Amp for a month, I think we’ve settled in. The children’s space is much better for our kids and teachers, people don’t have to park far away and cross busy roads to get to church, the lobby space is fantastic, and there’s not much risk of having to clean up stacks dinner plates or vomit or who knows what else on a Sunday morning.
So…we’re one of those theater churches now. It comes with it’s own challenges too, of course. And sometimes we miss a few things about The Powerhouse. And the people were good to us there. Fantastic peole.
But as we’ve grown from those small worship meetings we had at the beginning, we want to remain genuine and true to our calling to serve Oxford, to be a place where people can taste and see that the Lord is good, and to truly be a place of faith, hope, and love.