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3069: McKinney Church, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
McKinney Church, Fort Worth, TX (Exterior)
Mystery Worshipper: Jubilate.
The church: McKinney Church, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.
Denomination: Independent.
The building: Formerly called McKinney Memorial Bible Church, this is an attractive, contemporary style building dating from 2003, with renovations done in 2014-15. The design theme is carried throughout the entire complex. The auditorium is huge, with exposed metal beams and trusses in the ceiling to which are attached reflective panels to enhance the acoustics.
The church: They have two primary worship services (9.00am and 10.30am) and they are identical. Their website had some helpful information about the various ministry opportunities for the church. Each month the pastor and his wife invite members to a luncheon where various aspects of the church are covered. Their "Servolution" program sends volunteers out into the community to do a variety of odd jobs. Through the "Love Where You Live" ministry, they encourage members to be good neighbors in their community as they witness to Christ. They also support a number of missions in the community as well as in the Canary Islands, Greece, and Guatemala,
The neighborhood: Fort Worth is a city in north-central Texas slightly to the west of Dallas; the two cities, along with Arlington, make up the Dallas-Forth Worth-Arlington Metroplex. In the 19th century the Chisholm Trail, over which cattle were driven from Texas ranches to Kansas railheads for shipment, passed through Fort Worth, making it a popular stopover for cowboys and leading to the birth of the district known as Hell's Half Acre, reputed to be home to more saloons, dance halls and bawdy houses than any other place outside of Kansas. But those are long gone, and today Fort Worth is home to art museums, botanical gardens and zoos, colleges and universities, as well as automobile racing, rodeos and sporting events. The church is located in the southwest portion of the city, in an excellent location with easy access. It is close to Interstate 20, not very far from Texas Christian University and a large shopping mall. Also close by are a United Methodist church and a Jewish synagogue.
The cast: Chris Freeland, lead pastor, conducted the prayer time for parent/baby dedication. Nate Gustafson, student pastor, gave the sermon. Andrew Cagle, worship director, was in charge of the music.
The date & time: September 4, 2016, 10.30am.

What was the name of the service?
Worship Service.

How full was the building?
I'm not sure about the seating capacity of this large, single level room but I would guess around 800–1000 seats. I attended with my wife and we were the only people on our row. I would say half to three-quarters of the seats were occupied.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
This is a very friendly and cordial church. We were greeted with smiles in the parking lot, by greeters at the main doors, by people at the two guest kiosks, by greeters at the sanctuary doors. They all shook our hands and looked us in the eye. You are not going to get into this church without a friendly smile and feeling welcomed.

Was your pew comfortable?
This church has wide, individual cushioned seats that are quite comfortable. They fold up out of the way when you stand, which is nice. I also appreciated that they offer plenty of leg room so you are not banging your knees into the row in front of you. The only down side is that there are no arm rests.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Casual and relaxed. Lots of healthy conversation going on and the recorded pre-service music wasn't so loud that you had to raise your voice to be heard. I also saw people sitting quietly with heads bowed and eyes closed as they prepared for corporate worship.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning, McKinney Church. How are ya'll today?"

What books did the congregation use during the service?
None. There were copies of The Holy Bible, New International Version, placed on about every third or fourth seat. There are no racks for Bibles or hymnals on the seat backs.

What musical instruments were played?
Typical instrumentation for contemporary worship: piano, synthesizer keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, electric bass, and drums. One interesting addition was a single violin player who was in tucked the back of the stage. I could see her playing but could not hear her at all.

Did anything distract you?
A few things were distracting to me. First, when the musicians came out, smoke machines on both sides of the stage started up to create a slight haze. For me, this did not contribute to the experience. Second, the moving light patterns projected on the wall and video screen show the latest in technology but I felt were unnecessary. Sometimes less is more. Third, the operator for the multimedia was consistently late in transitioning the text for the music and scripture. Fourth, the music portion of the worship service did not seem – how can I put this – real. The stage personnel were clearly into the experience with all of the typical physical worship movements. Eyes closed, hands raised, big smiles – but not necessarily a reflection of the congregation.

McKinney Church, Fort Worth, TX (Interior)

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Typical contemporary worship style: music, announcements, sermon, dismissal. There was a parent/baby dedication where family and friends surrounded the new parents as the pastor prayed for them.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
40 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
5 – I'm sure the student minister was probably a little nervous, but he was locked into the notes on his iPad and did not explore the space on the rather large stage.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
This was the Sunday before Labor Day and so the theme was finding joy and meaning in work. How we represent God in the secular workplace.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
I thought the prayer time during the parent/baby dedication was wonderful. Also, whoever is working with the greeters needs to be commended. The greeters were our first impression of the church and we were hardly out of our car before we were met with a warm handshake and a friendly smile.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Someone needs to work with the operator of the multimedia. The slide transitions were much too slow, especially when the song is unfamiliar. I even heard a person behind me say, "Any day now" as we waited for the correct words for the song to be projected.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were thanked for attending and many people talked to us.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There wasn't an after-service activity but there are two guest kiosks in the foyer manned by greeters along with a coffee bar.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
3 – Based upon this single experience this would not be a church in which my wife and I feel we could connect. I would like to visit another time and hear the senior pastor preach.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
It did to the extent that we were able to engage other believers. A very friendly church.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The friendliness.
 
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