Scripture is focus at First Christian



May 9, 2011 - 12:00 AM

The Rev. Dave McGullion sees himself as a conduit for Scripture.
He asks congregants to open their Bibles and follow along with him as he delivers his Sunday sermons at First Christian Church, 1608 Oregon Rd.
“They get more out of the message from reading God’s word than from looking at me,” said McGullion, 54. “I purposely don’t use PowerPoint. I want people to know how to use their Bibles.”
God’s word is “what people are seeking,” he added. “The Lord is here. That’s why they come.”
Sermon outlines also are provided, and “hopefully they take notes” for future reference, he said.
The church’s mission is contained in the words “lead, feed and tend.” Congregants are led to worship services centered on Jesus Christ and they are fed God’s word, McGullion said.
“That’s important,” he said. “We want them to know how to feed themselves” outside the church setting.
Prayer tends to peoples’ needs, McGullion added.
“There’s so much in the world today,” he said. “People don’t want to be entertained” in church. “They want hope. Service time is to leave the distractions of the world outside.
“When you come to God’s house, He will guide and provide.”

“FOCUS ON the future, building on the past,” is printed on brochures given to visitors at First Christian. The church is in a new, spacious building open less than a year. In the old building, church attendance averaged 70 each Sunday. Now it often reaches 120 or more.
With attendance increasing, it would be easy to take a line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” and assume “build it and they will come.” Some people may be coming because of the new building, but McGullion prefers to think that most of them show up for spiritual reasons.
“If you make healthy sheep, they will bring more sheep,” he said.
First Christian Church for decades was located at East and Buckeye streets, crowded into less than a quarter of block. The sanctuary held 280, if a good portion climbed stairs to balcony seating, and about a third as many could stuff themselves into the fellowship hall.
A few years ago the church embarked on a campaign to build a new church, with emphasis from some sizable contributions. Land was selected at Kentucky Street and Oregon Road.
The new church’s sanctuary comfortably seats 300 and the fellowship hall can accommodate just as many. Rooms for Sunday school classes and meetings are large, as are offices. The foyer, where McGullion’s wife, Renee, greets visitors, is inviting.
“The nursery is big enough to get lost in,” she quipped. When mothers drop off children they’re given pagers.
The first service was July 4 of last year, five months after McGullion took the pulpit.
The congregation is not age-challenged.
“We have people of all ages, including lots of young people,” McGullion said. “We have no dress code. Some wear a coat and tie and others come in jeans. Some wear shorts.”

ALTHOUGH McGullion eschews screening Scripture during his sermons, he occasionally uses videos and “Internet stuff” to enhance messages.
The church’s sound system is state of the art.
A choir sets the mood for services. It is supported by a piano and occasionally stringed instruments. A requirement is for the music to tie into Christ-centered worship and “focus on glorifying God, not those who are doing it,” McGullion said.
The choir performed an Easter cantata and special music for Christmas.

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