|163: Pujon Presbyterian, Pusan, South Korea|
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Mystery Worshipper: The Ingrown Toenail in the Body of Christ.
The church: Pujon Presbyterian, Pusan, South Korea.
The building: Tall, grand sanctuary with a high steeple that could be seen from the space shuttle.
The neighbourhood: Pujon Presbyterian is near the main shopping district of Somyon, tucked back in by a bunch of shops and stores. The church has its own underground parking garage with some sort of gate guard.
The cast: Rick VanManen.
What was the name of the service?
Crossroads English Fellowship.
How full was the building?
Not very full at all. There were 150 or so people, but the sanctuary was enormous.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
We were greeted by another foreigner who saw us sticking out like sore thumbs. He informed us that the English service was on the 4th floor. There were several huge sanctuaries on the site.
Was your pew comfortable?
No, not at all. They were too close together, so we moved them back to get a bit more leg room. It was more bearable after that.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
We came in a minute or so late. Four flights of stairs was quite an ordeal!
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to Crossroads. We are glad you have joined us."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
New International Version Bibles, overheads with songs and Westminister Confession readings.
What musical instruments were played?
Piano, guitar, drums, tambourine and cello.
Did anything distract you?
The gigantic ball room chandelier in the front. I kept thinking how much it cost and how I could have used it to buy...
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
They sang songs that I personally liked with a good mix of modern praise and some older hymns. However, they had no life. The building was too big and it seemed as though no one was singing. The group I was with sang the loudest.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
5. He chose a good, deep topic, but his delivery was dry.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
God is sovereign over all and we can't understand all his ways but should strive to please him anyway. The preacher talked about desiring to know God because of who he is, not because of what he will do for us.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Worshiping in another culture with many nationalities. It is a joy to see God's work in other parts of the world.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The lack of excitement in the singing. Maybe it was that the place was too big, but it didn't seem as though they wanted to prepare their hearts in worship.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Because we were visiting as 13 foreigners on a basketball team, people came up to talk our ears off. We had instant invites to all other church activities. The members were quite friendly, though the questions were a bit overwhelming. I even got asked if I was reformed!
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
We were invited to go across the street to the church-owned coffee house. We were tempted, but we had a practice session scheduled soon after. We also were not too keen on the possibility of discussing the five points of Calvinism.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
4. Good solid preaching. From the bulletin, the church seems to have a good number of community ministries and outreaches. However, it was too stuffy for me.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, our service was small but there were other Korean services that were packed. Seeing thousands of Korean Christians was a neat experience.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
How cold it was on the walk back to the hotel and having to explain what "reformed" means to some of my players.