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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Thinking outside the box with 'The Rock'

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Brazil First Baptist Church, 413 S. Walnut St., will begin "The Rock: A New Worship Service," Thursday, Sept. 17, from 7-8 p.m. Times Staff File Photo.
A local church is using outside the box worship methods in an attempt to reach an expanded religious demographic.

Beginning Sept. 17, Brazil's First Baptist Church will be conducting an hour-long Thursday worship service entitled "The Rock: A New Worship Service." Pastor Mark Thompson said the intent of the service is to "reach a niche" of worshippers who generally may not feel comfortable in a traditional church setting.

"Our main goal here is to reach the unreached," Thompson said. "We're trying to reach people by thinking outside the box."

Some of the non-traditional methods Thompson is using include a fairly stout casual dress rule with no singing of traditional hymnal songs. He declined to discuss some of the more specific breaks from traditional church service saying it could create conflicts within certain community factions.

He did, however, say with great confidence that certain aspects of the service would hold great community interest.

Another big selling point Thompson used for the service was its ability to reach out to a more youthful audience.

"Most younger people don't want to get up on Sundays before 10 o'clock," Thompson said. "This way they are already up, and they don't have to worry about the hassle of getting dressed up."

More than anything, Thompson wanted to stress "The Rock" was not simply a second service performed by First Baptist.

The pastor seemed to envision the service as a sort of theological melting pot, whose goal was to reach anyone of any particular faith who was willing to embrace the methods of the service.

"(The Rock) is intended as an entry point for people who don't know about church," Thompson said. "We want to create a comfortable environment for people who may not normally feel comfortable inside a church. Our goal is to really try and bring a unique worship service to Brazil."

The first service of "The Rock" will take place Thursday, Sept. 17, from 7-8 p.m., at the First Baptist Church, 413 S. Walnut St. For more information, call the church at 448-8112, or email Thompson at revmarkthompson@verizon.net.

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