grew up going to church on and off, from Baptist to Catholic churches. My father, raised as a Baptist, and my mother, raised as a Catholic, spent many years debating what church would land in the middle. That is how my family started attending St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn. One of the reasons I enjoyed attending Catholic-Episcopalian churches is the regal atmosphere that commands your spiritual attention with stained glass windows and organ music. However, I found myself relating more to the modern, albeit a little flashy, nondenominational churches of this generation. I’m not a fan of mega-churches because I enjoy the intimacy and quiet moods of a community church.
Yet, Andy Stanley, pastor for Buckhead Church , has a clear, precise message every Sunday that magically addresses an issue on my mind. It is most likely the fish-eye effect, wherein a person finds themselves relating to an issue or statement because they only have their one perspective to listen and receive the message. However, he seems to be able to detangle the Biblical vernacular into modern jargon for the hundreds (if not thousands) in his congregation. I’ve encountered a variety of preaching styles through my years of church-hunting, but Andy’s style stands out.
In part, I’m at the age in my life where my actions and thoughts become more memorable than my early youth, where I only vaguely recall the orange tree in my grandfather’s backyard in Florida that my sisters and I would climb. I can remember my mother teaching us how to do cartwheels in the grass but only in a hazy, old picture type of way. The memories of my early twenties have a stronger hold and a more vibrant echo for me than my adolescent years. I’m sure I related to the sermons from my youth, but Andy’s sermons have arrived in a point in my life that I can make a more conscious effort to follow their guidance.
In his latest sermons, he has done a series of Sundays talking about “The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating,” helping singles and married people find answers and a new way to think about these touchy topics.
Although the church is too far away for me to drive out every Sunday to catch the service, I’ve started watching the online podcasts. This is a very innovative and creative way to touch more lives! I highly recommend singles to listen to these series of sermons. You don’t have to follow his rules, but it’s a great way to reflect on your previous actions and to take time to make a concerted effort to adjust, if necessary, your future.