|667: Mayfield Baptist, Mayfield, New South Wales, Australia|
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Mystery Worshipper: Bapo Boy.
The church: Mayfield Baptist, Mayfield, New South Wales, Australia.
Denomination: Baptist Churches of NSW.
The building: Built in the early 1970s, the church complex takes up an entire block, including sanctuary, hall, preschool, hostel, nursing home and minister's manse. The sanctuary building is two storeys tall, and then entry foyer has a creche/cry room off to the right. An upstairs gallery seats approximately 80, and houses the sound/multimedia desk. A baptistry is positioned six feet above the communion table at the front of the building.
The church: It seems to attract people of all ages. Their were seniors and families at the evening service I attended, but also a large group of young adults to which the service is targeted.
The neighbourhood: There are many stately homes in the immediate vicinity. Mayfield has a very aged population, with many needy people.
The cast: Minister/preacher was Rev. John Bint. The worship leader was Mr Andrew Hacker although one of the backing vocal singers looked like she wanted to lead!
What was the name of the service?
Sunday night live.
How full was the building?
The building was half full, with oldies seated towards the front and youth towards the back and upstairs.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed with a smile at the door by a lady who handed me a copy of the church bulletin. The bulletin is rather flash, with a well-designed logo and details on the outside pages.
Was your pew comfortable?
A long wooden pew reaches from the central aisle to the side aisles. The youth tend to make themselves comfortable by putting their feet up on the hymn book shelf of the pew in front.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
People were talking loudly and the worship leader needed to speak loudly into his microphone to get their attention. It wasn't until about 7.20pm that most of the congregation were seated.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
What books did the congregation use during the service?
No books were used. The songs (mainly Hillsongs no hymns) were displayed on the front wall via a data projector. The sermon notes were also projected.
What musical instruments were played?
Grand piano, two electric guitars, oboe, and drums. There were four backing vocals and the worship leader.
Did anything distract you?
There was a older gentleman who continually called out "Hallelujah!" or "Praise God!" which was very distracting.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
A mix: the upfront singers had their eyes closed and hands raised. The worship leader even fell to his knees. Probably 10 per cent of the congregation had their hands in the air. There was no pressure to do the same.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
6 The preacher laughed at his own jokes before the congregation understood them.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Colossians 4: "look further than yourself", stay connected to the power source by prayer. Pray to God about you. Pray to God for others. Be sensitive towards people. Be sensible about sharing your faith.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Communion was done differently than in other Baptist churches: two lines down the centre aisle with the person in the front of the line serving the person behind them the grape juice and bread. It was a lovely example of "serving others before yourself".
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The tug-of-war between the worship leader and the backing vocals. One girl was putting on a show for everyone, distracting our attention from the leader and projector screen. Don't know whether she was speaking in tongues or just mouthing the words to a prayer, but between verses she wasn't singing any song we were. Something about it just didn't seem sincere to me.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
The pastor who preached came and talked with me for a few minutes. He later came back with a young guy, but by that stage he'd forgotten my name. Needless to say, everyone seemed very friendly.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
The after-church supper was a bit "thrown together". A table was brought in after the service had finished and then packets of corn chips and potato crisps were placed on the table. Bottles of soft drink and plastic cups were also placed on the table. There was no tea or coffee.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
6 I'd have no problem making this my regular church if they would tone down the theatrics up the front and make the worship more real. It seemed like the girl backup vocalist practices her moves in front of the mirror at home.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, it's obvious that this church has a heart for the lost.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The way the offering was collected in milkshake cups. Yes really, milkshake cups.