This past Sunday, August 12, I had the opportunity to attend Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Seacoast is a multi-campus Evangelical Church, affiliated with the Association of Related Churches [ARC]. They are generally "non-denominational," though ARC looks more and more like a denomination if you read their literature. One can say, however, that ARC is making an impact -- a nice change compared to the vast majority of churches these days.
I didn't know it, but Greg Surratt, founder of Seacoast Church some 20 years ago, and still the presiding "Pastor" of the multiple campuses in three states (SC, NC, GA) was speaking that morning. He preached a very good message in "Noah's Ark," from the first verses of Genesis 6.
I was pleasantly surprised by his direct teaching of the Scripture as truth, and his willingness to explore different interpretations of the text while upholding its inspiration and accuracy. With the so-called "generous orthodoxy" of our days in the "emerging church," and the compromise from many quarters in what still passes for "evangelicalism," Surratt's dedication to orthodoxy was refreshing and reassuring.
I went to the 8 AM service, which was well attended -- over 200 maybe? I'm not a good judge of crowd size... There were two more services - one at 9:30 and another at 11 AM. The early service was contemporary, but stripped down, held in the chapel, acoustic music. At the end of the message, there was a time of "invitation" or dedication, followed by a somewhat "casual" observance of Communion. I didn't get to ask questions, but I wonder if they observe Communion after every service...? NOT that there's anything wrong with that!
When I got back to my vacation condo and was reading the Sunday paper, lo and behold, an article about Seacoast Church. Last week, it was named among the top 10 most effective/influential churches in America. From my visit to their service, and the message of Greg Surratt, I can see why.
My prayer is that they stay founded on the truth and focused of the mission. I wish them blessings and success.