I try to avoid reviewing the churches we visit because reviews generally end up putting the focus on the wrong place. But there are times when pleasant little surprises pop that need to be mentioned.
We dropped in on one such church this morning. Actually, my expectations were somewhat low because I'd heard that they'd gone through a rough spot. And indeed New Hope Covenant Church in Peoria isn't very large -- maybe 50 people this morning (although August Sundays in Arizona are usually pretty low attendance days). But it was a delight to worship with these people.
It was a great mix of children, young adults, and senior adults. Some of the older folks were long-time Covenant people but many of the others seemed to be new from the immediate community.
The music, led by Matt Beem, was really well done -- as well as you might find in a megachurch which has the resouces to do a lot. It was unpretentious and unshowy. The flow of the service was thought-out and engaging.
And then the sermon by Jason Powell, who serves as the half-time pastor (working at a community college and attending Fuller Seminary the other half) was an engaging exposition from John 1:19-34. Again, really really well done -- and like the music, unpretentious and down-to-earth. Jason is also a musician and supported the congregational singing from the keyboard.
The church's building is somewhat small, and off the beaten path. On the surface this is the kind of church that many people would drive by and never see -- and I'm not just talking about the building. But it's evident that God is at work there. And I'm hoping that perhaps the search engines will pick up this post when people type in Peoria and church. If they can get past the front doors I think they'll be pleasantly surprised, too.