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Monday, March 23, 2009

Visiting the Tulsa LifeChurch.tv Campus

This past weekend, I took a visit to the Tulsa, OK area to visit one of my brothers.  It was a great trip, and we were able to play some card games and visit while my daughters spent some time with cousins they rarely see even though we live less than two hours apart.  After piling on sofas for our Saturday night slumber, we did what most Christian families do on Sunday mornings - argue with our kids about doing what needs to get done so we can get to church on time.  Oh, don't look so shocked.  It happens at your house too.  Anyway, one of the nice things about being a partner/member of LifeChurch.tv, is the ability to attend our "home" church in many cities around the country (or world using their Internet campus).  We decided yesterday to visit the mid-town Tulsa Campus located on 41st street.  Since we've only once visited a LC campus other than the Oklahoma City Campus that we call home.

Being a marketing minded guy, my mind always takes mental notes of my experience when walking into any business or organization that invites people in.  That is, after all, a key determining factor that determines whether or not people will enjoy their visit and do business/visit your organization again.  Following is a run down on my experience yesterday at the LifeChurch.tv, Tulsa OK Campus.

  • The drive up:  My wife and I are not familiar with the Tulsa area but found the campus easy to locate and, even better, the building appeared to be one of the best kept in the area.  The signage and even colors of the building were uniform with what we recognized in a different city.  These things made us feel good about pulling in.
  • Parking:  The parking lot was sort of cramped but I realized later that there was more parking available at the rear of the building.  Not a turn off or a turn on for me.  Getting out was simple and that was more important to me.
  • Kids area:  I really liked the layout of the kids area.  I'm sure that if we'd gotten assistance to check our kids in, we'd have been directed as to where to take them, however, we used our existing LifeKIDS check in number and assumed we'd easily find where to go.  Toon Town (the 6yr old thru 4th grade experience) was easy to find since it was near the check in area, but we initially weren't sure where to take our 4 yr old.  We saw there were some rooms upstairs so assumed we'd head that way.  Once rounding the corner to the second lift on the flight of stairs we saw a sign telling us to take a left to find our destination.  I didn't notice a sign at the bottom of the stairs telling us to go there to begin with.  If it was there, it wasn't as obvious as the sign at the top of the stairs.  Problem was that we couldn't see the one at the top of the stairs until we already committed to that direction anyway.
  • Main Lobby:  We headed to the main lobby which had a great buzz to it.  Unlike the Oklahoma City lobby where people seem to rush in and rush out, many not arriving until the worship music had begun or seeming annoyed by bumping into someone else on their way out as fast as possible, this place was full of people grouping in circles and sharing their week's experience.  It made one feel like you could make a friend and be in a "circle of friends" by next week.  It had a great feel and you could even get a smile rather than a glare if you made eye contact with someone you didn't know.
  • Into The Experience Room:  Upon walking into the main experience room, you got the feeling that something big was about to happen.  The lights were down.  Spot lights were slowly scanning the room through a hazy fog.  It was great.  Here I was, a long time LifeChurch member who knew the basis if the week's pre-recorded message (more on that later) and I still could feel my pulse increasing and myself getting anxious as the 10 minute countdown began and the crowd began to flow in to get their seat.  This was real nice because I was anticipating a worship experience where people were already in the room rather than being distracted by seat shuffling as people finally came in all though the worship experience.  I'm the kind of guy who is prone to close my eyes and focus on God during this time, but often get distracted by the late arrivers (I know that's a pretty selfish comment, but hey, that time is to focus on God, right?).  I just appreciated the anticipation that drew the crowd in early.  I was much less distracted even though the place was much more crowded.
  • Worship:  This is something I was really looking forward to.  I am a huge fan of Derrick Henslee (the worship pastor there).  Behind my friend Stephen Cole, he may be my favorite guy to lead me in worship.  These two seem to not try so hard to "lead worship" as much as they are the "lead worshipers".  That passion really softens me up.  I was terribly disappointed in this part of my visit.  Derrick "seemed" to do great, however, I could barely make out a word that he sang.  I'm a huge fan of pumping up the volume of the music.  I'm a horrible singer so I only want God himself to hear me singing along.  I don't even care to hear myself.  But, the level of volume I experienced yesterday made me miserable.  All of the instruments seemed to blend together as one big noise.  It was so loud that I thought my ears might bleed.  Unfortunately, after looking forward to worshiping with Mr. Henslee, I was praying for this segment of the experience to end as soon as possible.
  • Pastor's Welcome:  After the musical torture experience, we were welcomed from the stage by Dave Branham.  This was good.  He made me feel welcome and didn't come across as if he was racing through some over-rehearsed stage time influencing opportunity.  There were even times that he seemed to search for his next words.  It was nice,  normal, human, welcoming.
  • Message:  This was the second week of a three week teaching by guest Dave Ramsey.  I won't say much about it other than that it was AWESOME.  If you didn't experience this message, I'd suggest you click HERE and watch the last two weeks on line.  Then make plans to watch next weekend's message in person or on line if there's not a LifeChurch campus near you.
  • The Final Moments:  The close and exit of the experience all went smooth.  Back in the lobby, people were mingling and enjoying each other's company rather than rushing home.  
Overall, if this campus was closer to home, I'd definitely visit again.  However, I would hope that my ears were not assaulted again.

Let me know your thoughts and tell me about some places you've visited.  How was your experience and how will it effect future visits.

JC

1 comment:

carikelley.com said...

ah, the age old question at LifeChurch.tv...How loud is too loud? I would assume that point might be different for everyone.

I'm with you, though. When it's uncomfortable, I can't worship...it's too distracting.