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2784: Mountain View Nazarene, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Mountain View Nazarene, Tucson, AZ
Mystery Worshipper: FiveSolas.
The church: Mountain View Nazarene, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Denomination: Church of the Nazarene, Arizona District.
The building: I wouldn't say it has any particularly outstanding features; in fact, it looks somewhat like a school or a warehouse from the outside. The signboard is easy to see while driving by, but the entrance to the sanctuary requires signage to find. We weren't sure after entering the building if we were in the right place or not. After opening a door from inside the foyer, we saw the brick fronted sanctuary with a large cross draped with a cream colored cloth. In addition to the two obligatory screens for showing song lyrics (enhanced by artwork and photo backgrounds) and video announcements, there are acoustical tiles framed in wood to match the interior décor line. Navy upholstered chairs with metallic legs are arranged in rows. Interesting to notice that an assortment of plaid blankets and hand-crocheted afghans were folded over the backs of selected chairs. At the rear of the sanctuary there are stairs up to an unused choir loft for additional seating. The sound and lighting crew had a work area at the base of the stairs.
The church: It struck me how, in spite of the small size of the congregation, there seemed to be a lot going on in the way of ministries. There are active ministries for children, youth and women. The youth group was involved in project that helped build a house in Mexico. The church supports missionaries through the Nazarene denomination.
The neighborhood: The church is off a busy five lane street of flat single-story homes, circa 1960s, of a similar brick, stucco and wood siding as the church. The asphalt paved parking lot is large and surrounded by trees. The back of the two story building behind the sanctuary looks suspiciously like an apartment building or motel.
The cast: The leader of the worship team was Linda Canterbury. David Conrad led the service itself. He is a local chaplain who fills in from time to time, as they are between pastors.
The date & time: October 19, 2014, 10.40am. [Editor's note: This report was filed November 22, 2014.]

What was the name of the service?
Worship Service.

How full was the building?
The sanctuary was about half full.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was greeted personally by several people before the service began. It was a very friendly atmosphere, with various parishioners introducing themselves. This included David Conrad, who was teaching that day. He was very curious as to how and why I came to visit the church, and kept coming back to that in our brief conversation. I tried my best to keep the "mystery" in "Mystery Worshipper."

Was your pew comfortable?
The padded chairs were quite comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
It was friendly, with people greeting each other and chatting.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Hello! One quick announcement."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The congregation used their own Bibles during the service. The lyrics to the worship songs were projected on a screen.

What musical instruments were played?
Digital keyboard and piano. Interesting to note no guitars or drums. The worship leaders were four singers: a man singing bass and three women. Each held their own microphone. Two had a stool to sit on and each had a music stand in front of them. After the service, one grandmotherly congregant introduced me to a middle schooler, adding that he played tuba and perhaps some day would be joining the worship group.

Did anything distract you?
I felt a little concerned that I had come at the wrong time, because it seemed that hardly anyone was there until the very last moments before the service started. Perhaps the Sunday school hour ran a bit over!

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The worship was warm and vibrant. I’d say that almost everyone was participating in the singing. The songs were praise choruses in the Jesus-rock folk-style made popular by the Maranatha movement of the 1970s.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
31 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – David Conrad had a warm and engaging style that kept my interest.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The sermon was based on verses from the book of James, principally James 3:1-12 (taming the tongue, from which can come both blessings and curses). The purpose of this book is strongly to admonish believers; it is not an evangelistic book. From this he segued into James 4 (submit to God; do not speak evil of each other; do not worry about tomorrow). His words were an exhortation to humility. This substitute pastor works as a hospice chaplain, and shared a few of his experiences ministering to people at the end of their lives, which were very moving.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
I enjoyed the part of the service where the pastor asked if anyone had a "word from the Lord." A woman shared about some of her struggles, and testified to God's presence with her and faithfulness through it all.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
There was a slide show about helping to build a church building. I thought this was a bit lengthy.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Many smiled at me, and one struck up a conversation. It seemed like more of the people were in a rush, compared to the time before the service began. People seemed to be conversing more during that time.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I didn't notice anything served after the service.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 – This church seemed to have a nice spread of people from various age groups. I would imagine the small size of the congregation would make it very easy to make new friends quickly!

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes! It's always wonderful just to be able to walk into a fellowship and feel that kinship with other members of the Body of Christ, even if they are from a different denomination.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
I will remember the friendliness of the people and the enthusiastic singing.
 
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