September 28, 2009

Church Experiment #39: Zion Temple Pentecostal

I knew Zion Temple First Pentecostal Church ( was going to be outside of my comfort zone (most weeks of this experiment have been), but I have been concerned that my visits are actually fanning the flames of bitterness and resentment I feel toward other Christians. That was not one of my original goals. I figured a Pentecostal church is about as far away from my personal ideology as I can get, so this Sunday was sort of a test. Am I really maturing through this process? Is God really softening my heart? Or am I just full of hot air?

I knew Zion Temple was a predominantly black church before I arrived, but I didn’t realize I would literally be the only white person in attendance (I estimated there were about two hundred people total). That didn’t bother me, but I definitely stood out, which made me feel like everyone was watching me, which made it a little awkward. I encourage all church leaders reading this book to visit a church way outside of your comfort zone at least once a year to remind yourself how newcomers feel when they walk into your building.

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


Jon said...

Laundry Mats? White Castles? Public restrooms?

Ruby Red Slippers said...

This church sounds very interesting-I might have felt uucomfortable during the message, but the worship sounds great.

And congrats on the Bengals win over the Steelers...Here in MI, we were celebrating our LIONS first win since 12-23-07...We play the Steelers soon-your Bengals gave us hope!

The Reverend said...

You've already taken everything from me. What else is there? Are you secretly my older brother, so therefore have birthrights in my family? Do you own the mortgage to my house?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you felt the need to comment about the woman breastfeeding. You just lost respect points from me. Breastfeeding is perfectly natural and why not feel comfortable doing it in a place surrounded by your christian family? Give me a break.

Steve Fuller said...


Sex and pooping are perfectly natural too, but I don't want to watch people do them in church either.

And how many respect points does that leave me within the world of anonymous commenting? I'm not keeping track at home. Hopefully I still have enough to pass.

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

So are you saying, Steve, that small babies ought not to be welcome in Church? Or that their mothers ought not to be welcome, either, in case the baby needs to be fed?

I rather think our Lord Christ would disagree with you on that one!

By the way, I quoted your wonderful words from last week at my sermon on Sunday, and they went down very well indeed! You can read the context, if you have not already done so, here.

Steve Fuller said...

I didn't say women shouldn't be allowed to breastfeed in church. It is her church home, so she can do whatever she wants.

I'm not familiar with the law, but I assume women have the freedom to breastfeed in public places. So be it.

I also have the freedom to communicate that I prefer not to see it. Not sure why that would lose me respect points.

DanThoms said...

Your quite the controversial character. It seems that no matter how good the review you will inevitable say something to offend someone.

Ps. I was raised Pentecostal so I have a love hate relationship with Pentecostal churches in general.

Christopher Day said...

Duh Steve. Don't you know you're obviously not allowed to have any type of opinion on your own blog. Heaven forbid you actually dislike something and write about it.

Dear Anonymous,
If, by some chance, you had ANY respect points built up for me please subtract them now. I'm not interested in the type of respect you offer.

DanThoms said...

Chris, can I have your's and Steves respect points? I can't find mine. Thanks.

wendymhall said...

"Church on crack"...too funny!

Christopher Day said...

Gladly, Dan. But you should already have mad respect points just for the hat changes! Just don't let Anonymous see it. I'm guessing it would go something like:

What do you have against only wearing one hat? This constant need for changing your hats leads me to believe you are unstable. And why a hat anyway?? Isn't the human head good enough for you? It's natural and God created it hatless. No respect points for you!

Lydia said...

Thanks for all the comments -- you are all hilarious!

Steve, I am a member of a Pentecostal church, and I'm so glad that you were able to attend and enjoy the service.

I live in the middle of the midwest, so I'm afraid that although our services are considered lively by the locals, our level of energy is being measured by a bunch of very stoic Germans and Scandinavians. We are what I would call "dry white toast" out here, not alot of flavor, but we love God and are glad to call Jesus Lord.

bshawise said...

so you do a post about church hats and then Rondell does too? hmmmmmmm.....

Steve Fuller said...


What a weird coincidence.

Jonathan said...

I'm one of those lurkers of your blog. You know, the ones who read and never comment . . . Yeah, I have a blog and that really bugs me that my lurkers don't comment. But hey, you gotta love them, right?

I am enjoying your posts. You would probably make a good humorist, story teller.

Hey, I figured I'd recommend a place I think you might enjoy attending. Passage Church in West Chester.


Anonymous said...

I am a breastfeeding mom and while I do understand where you are coming from with the whole public thing, it also makes me sad that you find it distasteful. First of all, I hope she was decently covered up (although some babies won't take that) and I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to nurse in church. However, as a mom, breastfeeding can be very isolating and challenging. I am a firm believer that breastfeeding is best, if medically possible. I'm glad she felt comfortable to do be in the worship with other Christians.

Allison said...

Breastfeeding is AWKWARD even among friends in a relaxed atmosphere. It's personal and something that is special and should be treated as such. It's not like it takes hours to feed the baby. How hard is it to step out, feed the kid, and then come back decent? And what about pumping the breast milk for when you will be in public?