Monday, December 28, 2009

Church Experiment #52: Old St. Mary's Church

Wow. This is it. Almost one year ago, I walked into Solid Rock Church to begin this journey. Today, I write my final reflection about Old St. Mary’s Church (www.oldstmarys.org).

I put a lot of pressure on myself to end the Church Experiment with a bang. The finale always has to be bigger and better than the opening act, right?

The weekend of my final visit, I decided that mentality was silly. In an effort to purposefully create an anti-climatic experience, I chose a simple, gorgeous Catholic church in downtown Cincinnati (more specifically, Over-the-Rhine).

I love old churches in big downtowns. There’s something about knowing that people worshipped God in those same pews hundreds of years ago that is awe-inspiring. I can’t imagine what it must be like to attend church in European cities. So much history. Residents in Cincinnati are lucky to have many amazing churches in our city. I recommend checking them out.

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.

22 comments:

Christina said...

I know you are ready for this to end, but I get online each Monday morning to read about your experiences. I'm going to miss your posts, but thank you for sharing your journey with anyone who would just click on your site.

Best wishes for 2010!

Rohmeo said...

Steve,

What a journey brother. It's been great seeing who you are through these weeks and to some extent who we are in reaction to who you are. In some ways it's like iron sharpening iron...internet style.

Congrats on your engagement. Remember to keep Liz as your first ministry!

Keep me (us) up to date with Dressler's new church plant? Is it going to be an Acts 29 affiliate? And did Dressler work at The Journey with Darren Patrick in St. Louis recently? I like Patrick and listen to him from time to time and could swear I remember an Adam Dressler filling in speaking there.

Looking forward to the book dude,
Rohmeo

Ruby Red Slippers said...

I have enjoyed following your journey...and I can identify with you as you say you see this year as a year of growth as you are searching and finding God. That is what life is all about for me as well...
God bless you in all your future projects!

Cyndi said...

Win! :)

(congrats!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve for your public genuflection. Your irreverence and humor have stimulated my thinking. It is rare to find someone willing to poke fun at evangelical foibles and embrace the reality of faith as a paradox and mystery.
May fresh wind catch your sails in 2010.

DanThoms said...

It's times like this when I wish that I would have posted some interesting/informative comments.

Jen - Mom of 4 said...

Steve,

Congratulations on your engagement! I know that you will have a wonderful marriage.

Thank you for a wonderful journey. I have looked forward to your experiment each week and look forward to your new journey also.

Another thank you for expanding my thinking and knowledge of other churches.

Have a wonderful rest and I look forward to reading your new journey in a couple of weeks!

Mimi said...

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage - Many Years to you and Liz!

bshawise said...

Tons of people have great ideas. Very few have the tenacity to make them a reality. Kudos, my friend.

Steve Fuller said...

Dan,

I have been wishing that for months. :-)

Rohmeo,

Yes, Adam was at The Journey with Darren. Do you know Darren? I have a couple friends who know him pretty well, but he and I have never met. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated with Adam's church. I'm not sure if it will be affiliated with Acts 29, but I do know Dressler has been influenced by guys like Piper and Keller (and to a lesser extent by Chandler and Driscoll).

And thank you, Christina, Ruby Red, Cyndi, nice anonymous person, Jen, Mimi, and Bradley.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories! Best wishes on you coming marriage! It's been a long and interesting trip this year...and I'm only talking about reading this blog. I can't imagine what it was like for you to take the spiritual journey you did. Good luck but not I hope goodbye, and May The Force* Be With You!

*Whatever you conceive The Force to be.

--Christian

Rohmeo said...

Steve,

I don't know Darren Patrick personally but he's one of the pastors I have listened to and felt in sync with over the last 5 years when it comes to ministry style and doctrine etc. other than the most important fact that he flat out loves Jesus...bottom line.

I really like what I see out of the Acts 29 Network church planting which I believe Darren is one of the founding directors.

I'd love to see where Dressler's church is going to be located, meet him...and maybe run into you too...c'mon you gotta help your friend church plant! Could going back to the Vineyard be a comfort thing?...Hey I'm just challenging you as a brother to a brother. After your draining first church plant experience that seemed to pull you further away than you anticipated, maybe God can use that for this next opportunity. I ain't saying - I'm just saying....

Let's keep in touch.
Rohmeo

Michael Thorsby said...

I've been following this project for all 52 weeks and I was engaged, challenged and intrigued all at the same time!

I have done similar experiments around the country, in other countries and in my local surrounding communities in the past few years and have discovered many similarites to your journey..... memories! I've easily visited 100+ churches/ministries while still serving in my own.

I learned to not judge people based on their denominations (even though they may be associated with a name...they are not all the same), I learned to not judge based on dogma (just because their way of doing things didn't reach me doesn't mean it's not effective for others...doctrine is a little more important) and I learned that it's not about me but what God can do through me (although if it doesn't catch your interest, your passion to pass it on will be lacking)!

I look forward to buying the book. My prayer is that I can walk into the doors of any "church" and feel the presence of God even if it's not my place of preference and for all of those churches that are "dead" to either experience internal revival or close the doors...the season might be over (Ecc 3:1)!

I pray blessings on your new project(s)!

Thorsby

ylmurph said...

I just wanted to be the last comment so I'll make the book.

(I get a cut, right?)

ylmurph said...

how great would it be if those were the last two comments in the book?

Sarah said...

I'm going to miss your posts as well, Steve. :) Congrats on your engagement! I look forward to the book coming out, and to your new adventures in 2010. God bless you!!!! :)
sarah

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks Steve for being so open about your journey. It helps me to work through my own critical-of-others nature to keep being hit over the head with the realisation that everyone is trying their best in their own way, and that instead of focusing on the splinter in my brother's eye, I ought to worry about the beam in my own. How often I seem to need reminding... Can't wait to follow your new series!

wendymhall said...

What a blessing it has been to follow along this past year. I look foward to the next project! Congrats to you and Liz!

tami said...

Steve,
Thank you so much for sharing your year online. It was interesting, informative and many times very thought provoking.

Let me know where I can buy the book!

Congratulations on your engagement, so happy for both of you.

God bless you in 2010-
tami

Pamarama said...

Somehow I stumbled across your Experiment, at a time of spiritual crisis in my life. I've spent many late hours recently reading the entire 52 weeks' worth of posts, and found myself laughing (sometimes guffawing), crying, raging, and then, smiling through tears. Never...ever..underestimate how your honesty in this experiment has affected some of us out here who are drowning spiritually. I feel there is hope. Yes. Hope. And somehow I don't feel quite so alone in this struggle anymore. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
I found out about your Church Experiment blog through the Reverb blogsite about a month ago. I just finished reading the last post, week 52, this week Feb 7. As a fellow Christian, I have struggled and continue to struggle with many of the questions and thoughts that you wrote about. Your writings have led me to new insights and new discoveries. Like, here I am in my mid 50s reading blogs by young Christians, the age of my two children, and learning so much about my ongoing journey. Thank you for taking the time to journey and chronicle your thoughts with the world. A book I discovered about fifteen years ago, The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence (a 17th century monk). If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Thank you for the journey. Now if I can just get my husband to read it!

Kat's Prime Time said...

Very interesting blog, Steve. I found it because I had googled Vineyard Westside, since my sister is going there and I wanted to read about it. I'm a member of St. Max Catholic church and I found your descriptions of the Catholic churches you visited very accurate. One thing I've learned is that no church is perfect. So you find one you like and go to it. I've been a Catholic my whole life and am most comfortable there. Plus St. Max has become my second home; they are my church family and I have many friends there. But, I also have a private personal relationship with Jesus through my daily prayer. This is important.
Thanks for writing such a wonderful, interesting, and informative blog. God be with you on your faith-filled journey.