Round 2 kicked off yesterday with a return to Destiny. I’d enjoyed it the first time, although many aspects had been a little alien to me as a non-charismatic, and my flatmate and I had not received too much of a welcome. This time around, though, I made it to both Sunday services and loved it.
The morning service was attended by around 200 people – more or less filling the church, and in fact we were told by one of the speakers in the service that Destiny was working towards buying a new 2,000 seater venue. Which would make God more popular than many first division football teams. The evening service was perhaps around half that, and interestingly was being filmed – Destiny has a slot on a UCB channel on Sky on Monday nights, apparently. The services both began with praise, and I really enjoyed it because I knew most of the songs, and the ones I didn’t were very easy to pick up and had lovely lyrics. The band, the same in both services, were absolutely excellent – they were a six piece rock band and were very loud, but very talented and co-ordinated, and they sounded brilliant.
The sermons were both good. The forty minute address in the morning was by Andrew Owen, Destiny’s lead pastor, and a very useful, practical part of a series he was doing on the seven habits of highly effective Christians. In the evening it was another guy, who preached a animated and passionate sermon of a similar length on not underestimating God, not relying only on others’ testimonies as our basis of faith, and how we should ask for and expect remarkable things to happen in our own lives too. Both sermons were lively, humorous, scriptural, entertaining and brilliantly delivered. They both provided good notes on the screen, although I missed not having the Bible readings printed up there too.
The welcome was significantly better in both services today than it was a few weeks ago. We were welcomed at the door and directed to seats, and after the morning service we went and had a cup of coffee and got talking to a lot more people. Partly this was due to another guy we’d come in with who we’d bumped into getting off the train – our new friend John was just visiting Destiny although he knew a number of folk in church who we ended up talking to. But also it was due to the fact that one or two people did approach us and ask us if we were new, which was nice.
I ended up getting on well with John. He too was looking for a church to settle in, and we spent the afternoon together talking over lunch and then a coffee about Destiny, churches we knew about, and loads more. We’re probably going to go along to one of Destiny’s midweek homegroups (or “community groups” as they call them) on Wednesday, one which is specifically geared to students and young professionals. That should be an interesting way of finding out a little bit more about the life of Destiny. Or “Destroy”, as I reckon it looks at first glance on their logo.
So… I remain to be convinced it’s the church for me, but after two excellent experiences of the place yesterday, I’m more likely to want to be a part of it now than I am after the first visit.