Posted by: Rex Boyles | February 29, 2008

Feeling at Home at the Boom-Boom Cabaret Church

(On this blog you have read references to the OPEN church by those who comment here. I have resisted discussing our little group, because we do not advertise or compete with any other church. However, this weekend our fellowship of prodigals will celebrate our return home on the 3rd anniversary of our little church. To honor the Lord and those who were so helpful in beginning this work, I will do some blogging – for the next few days – about this church of Christ that wants to be a church like Christ. Featured today: an article written by James Kinnaird just weeks after the church began. Note: Our first meeting place was on “the Strip”, the place with all of the beer joints and strip clubs. Our meeting place was just down the road from the “Boom Boom Cabaret” – thus the nickname. With my thanks to James for permission to use his article and for so much more …)              

There’s an old song that talks about the “little brown church in the vale.” We were at the little “U-turn Boom-Boom Cabaret Church on the Strip.” There’s something about being in a worship service of a new Church-plant. There’s the clink-clink of stacking chairs…half the number of songbooks needed (by design—that way, you have to share)…there are the casual clothes…old folks…young folks…people who are new to the whole church thing…people who’ve done the churchy thing, but have given up their comfort zone for the sake of others. My favorite? Not one clock in the room…and no one seems to mind.            

I explained to the kids that there would be some things that are different…and some things that are familiar…and they were up for it! Spontaneous singing…almost sixty people when it looked like 50 or so were planned for in the small room…good, plain, real Bible teaching that will keep on helping you through the week…not a thirty minute therapy session that has become the trend in many places.            

We sat behind some awesome “senior saints” who are there to help the new plant; my kids were blessed by this good sister using her experience to help with the children’s studies. We sat catty-corner from a lady whose daughter is fighting a fierce emotional battle…and both mother and daughter have found acceptance here. We were across the room from some college kids, just discovering that there’s something bigger than themselves…its awkward trying to fit in at that age and not to mention that early in the morning…but they’re accepted here. Back behind us are some “Church-type” folks that look familiar…they’re here to lend a hand I guess, I really don’t know…but I know they’re accepted and appreciated here. Behind us are two women who have started new…either one could be the woman at the well talking to Jesus 2,000 years ago…they and their children are accepted here. All kinds of folks…all kinds of backgrounds…some there learning about grace…some there as a response to grace. As the minister finished his teaching about the real Jesus…the very real group responded by talking and discussing what it means to them…but if they didn’t want to, that was okay too. From there he talked about Jesus going to the cross…his burial…his resurrection…they were being shown the “why” behind what we were about to do…the communion. As I looked across a bunch of strangers…now family…the communion meant so much as I thought about what Jesus had done for me…for all of us.            

I read a lot of experts that spend a lot of time studying church and worship. You have to admit, though, that it’s sometimes more about presentation than participation. There are a ton of people who will tell you how to “do” church…but these good folks “were” church. I’m influenced by a religious heritage that seems to bend over backwards trying to imitate what its finds to be the elements of the New Testament Church…some times imitating externals which by necessity will demand an outside-in approach. These good folks were sharing lives—hurts and victories—along with time in the Word and praise much like a church you’d find in the first century…from the inside out. I thought about the courtyards, catacombs, caves, and upper rooms. For the first time in a long time…I felt as if I were in the first century! I could almost hear Peter addressing thousands…Paul taking on the political/religious establishment…or watch John worshipping by himself in exile.            

As a kid, I would play “church” with my Grandad…it was good entertainment for both of us! Sadly, I really think I’ve played Church as an adult. That one Sunday out of my routine did cause somewhat of a  “mountain top” feeling or experience…but more importantly, I came away challenged, emotionally exhausted yet refreshed, and—hopefully—changed…not to try “something new,” but to get back to something ancient: more appreciative of the Father who planned, the Son who paid for, and the Holy Spirit who guarantees a great gift…a simple, yet profound gift…something that is as old as eternity and new every—not just Sunday—morning. 

James & RaDonna Kinnaird own and operate Seagraves Dixie Dog as well as worship and work with the 12th Street Church of Christ


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