We actually have visited this church three times so far. The first time I was 45 minutes late because the good folks at the Church of the Crossroads in Corinth MS were having some technical difficulties and I was helping troubleshoot over the phone. So really I’ve visited 2.33 times.

Hope Community Church is certainly one of our favorites thus far on our journey of finding a church.  The teaching is great. The church is vibrant.  The people are excited and energetic and our kids love the children’s ministry.

I actually got to meet the tech crew because their leader of all things geeky and techie found me on twitter. So thanks for the tour @markhhcc. They clearly do things with excellence and conviction.

What I would really like to tell you about is our experience we had visiting with Lori’s (my wife) parents and my parents.

It was the beginning of a new series called “Treasures” which was about money.

The teaching was really solid, conversational, and actionable.

We were getting seated late because we took too much time getting coffee, so we ended up in the middle-front, which is awesome for visitors.

Their stage layout was decorated for the message with giant pirate ship built into the middle and sails with projected images of flowing fabric on spandex.  I didn’t get a picture so you have to trust me it looked pretty cool.  (I did get a picture of a man with a tattoo on his head of a stick-figure mowing lawn, but my wife said I couldn’t post it my blog and I do what my wife says, but I may or may not have tweeted it which is not on my blog. So, I am still a good husband right?)

So anyways, when the part of the sermon came where you expected to give an offering the pastor Mike Lee (picture on right) asked everyone who was 18 and up to stand-up  and had the ushers pass out white-envelopes stuffed with cash.  This is not a joke.  The church gave us money.  All of us.  Lots of it.

They are doing something they call the Mina Project (my-na) which is based on the parable that Jesus told about the business owner who gave his servants different amounts of money and told them to put it to work and he would be back to check on his investment. In the parable the master gave the servants a small amount of money to see how they would handle it to find out if they could be trusted with more. Two servants did well, invest, built and multiplied. The other just buried his money for fear of losing it. Luke 19:11-27

They passed out something like $64,000 in the envelopes. I found myself kind of hoping I didn’t get a bunch of money.  We all got $20s.  The rules were this:

  • don’t just give it back to us and
  • don’t spend it on yourself.

H.C.C. is going to take the profits from the project and reinvest in other ministries.  For more info read their blog about it by clicking on the banner.

What a cool idea! (although original credit must go to Jesus, bonus points to Hope for execution)

I also went to a Saturday class for new members to learn about the church history and philosophy and I am a big fan. I haven’t got to meet the pastor yet, but come on… it’s a big church, I am looking forward to it though.  I had a chance to meet him after the Saturday class but I was shot-blocked by a sweet old lady telling the extended version of a “I-know-somebody-you-know-too” story and I didn’t want to interrupt.

CHURCH SHOPPING COMMENTARY:

I think we have it narrowed down to two churches that we like equally.  I have been pleasantly surprised that we have been finding a lot of great churches in our area.  Each one having its own flavor.  We still have a couple more we want to visit (once we choose our church that is the end of shopping so we want to be sure) before we make our decision.