I’m Going on a Field Trip: A Preliminary Report

My sister-in-law, Rachel, and I want to make it a family activity, really - going to ChangePoint church - just for fun, of course. It’s the biggest and fastest growing church in Alaska. I was first exposed to ChangePoint by an article Rachel’s brother sent along.

It’s always good to research a place before you visit so you can get the most out of your time there! I read the article and went to their website to learn what I could:

  • Their Vision: A personal witness to the transforming power of Jesus Christ for every Alaskan, and life skills for every new follower.
  • Their Purpose: People transformed by God and enjoying Him fully as we…
    • Worship God alone
      Follow Jesus Christ
      Partner with followers
      Invest in people
      Introduce others to life in Christ
  • They are energized and excited a lot.
  • I can invest online through their site!
  • I could get a life coach!
  • One of them has the title: Pastor: Information Technologies, and he is the only one whose bio mentions that he knows a biblical language.
  • In fact, there was no mention of specific pastoral education at all (lots of vision, but no education) on the website, but the article said Pr. Clauson attended Multnoman Bible College.
  • While their Core Beliefs describe reception of salvation as opposed to acceptance, the reflection of the teachings in testimonies on their website show a very different picture.
  • Sermon titles include:

      Choosing Jesus as your Best Friend
      But We Shall See Jesus!: A Vision for Personal Victory
      Grace in the Hood
      Life Coaching at ChangePoint
      Choosing Freedom

It always strikes me as odd that churches like this will go on and on about how baptism doesn’t save because it is a work, yet somehow choosing God and inviting Him into your life and heart isn’t a work. Go figure.

Ethical question of the day: Would it be wrong to strategically replace their pamphlets on baptism with Lutheran ones? I’m sure it’s wrong somehow, but certainly worth a daydream or two.

It should make a fun family outting, though. I like to attend new churches with the mindset of “If I didn’t know who Christ is and what He did when I came in, would I have known those things going out?” Even if the services are geared for the membership, as they should be, the law and the gospel should still be there, plain as day. It might be awhile before we get around to going because this guy wants to go, too, which would make it more fun anyway - but I’ll blog about it when we do!

12 Responses to “I’m Going on a Field Trip: A Preliminary Report”

  1. Dan at Necessary Roughness Says:

    Take pen and lots of paper, and don’t rely on memory. :)

  2. jeff Says:

    The Lutheran Church, minus the ELCA, is the “standard church” in comparison to other churches that are out there.

  3. Theresa K. Says:

    I really should read posts more carefully. I read your first few lines, clicked on the link and my heart sank. “She can’t be serious.” “Does Daniel know?” all raced through my mind.

    Replacing their pamphlets would never be understood. You either understand the Lutheran orthodox approach or you don’t.

    Glad you highlighted this church. We all need to be aware of the churches that draw our friends, sisters, parents and our children away from the Lord.

  4. Elle Says:

    Theresa, your comment gave me a good laugh. It’s churches like this that push me closer and closer to confessional Lutheran orthodoxy.

  5. Jack Kilcrease Says:

    I actually ran into a street preacher in downtown Milwaukee the other day who made the same argument to me about baptism being a work. He first yelled at me “are you saved?” To which I responded “Yes, I believe in the promise of my baptism.” He mocked me and said that I was trusting in water. I pointed out to him that I was not trusting in water, but in the promise of Christ. He then gave me a pamplet which explained that Luther, Trent and Calvin believe in the sacraments, so they necessarily believe in a “pay as you go view of salvation.” John Calvin and Martin Luther believe in a “pay as you go” view of salvation? Then we got into it about the Lord’s supper. I gave him Biblical passages which clearly speak about the real presence and he laughed at me, mocked me and made no real arguments. He just kept on repenting the words “It’s a memorial, it’s a memorial” just like that. Then he told me again that if I believe in the real presence and in baptism I would go to hell. Also, if didn’t stop going to Marquette, I would go to hell. He conversation ended there.

  6. Paul W Says:

    Elle,

    Take a tape recorder and provide a transcript! You and I think alike…Your idea of a family trip is right up my alley, right after Civil War parks and geology trips for my wife. My wife, though, would be mortified at the prospect of going just to be appalled. Heck…I nearly attended a Rod Parsley “Miracle Praise Service” once…just so I could laugh and wait for him to whip us into a frenzy and watch him roll on the floor.

    I wonder if the sermons will be better than the ones at my church though. :-/

  7. Maria Says:

    “Invest in people?” What’s that mean?

    I say go for it with the pamphlets. =P

  8. Rachel's Brother Says:

    Interesting the response generated from little ole me sending an article to my sister.

    I would encourage you to look at the positive things we can learn from Pastor Clauson and ChangePoint. I’ve posted a few of them on my blog, http://todaysbigidea.blogspot.com/

  9. Troy Says:

    Hello! I stumbled across this website doing a google search. Very interesting stuff. I would like to add my two cents. I have been in and out of churches for years and years in Anchorage, at one time or another I have probably visited most of them. I always knew that there was more to life but I never knew what that “more” was and I certainly never found it in any of the churches I visited. I fell into drug use and the whole lifestyle that goes along with that some time ago. Last spring a friend of mine invited me to ChangePoint. It was amazing. That was the first church I had ever attended that told me that not only did God want to save me from hell (which is all I had heard up to that point), but that he had an awesome life for me here! Through ChangePoint’s Celebrate Recovery program I am clean, now for 5 months! This church and the leaders put a “Y” in my road every week, they always challenge me to be more christlike and to be passionate about following Him. Myself and hundreds of others have radically experienced Christ’s transformational power in our lives through what God is doing through ministries at ChangePoint. Rather than speak negative comments about other churches, Why not celebrate each others victories. It just seems that when the world see’s the church cutting down itself it just reaffirms to them the negative view that most have of “the church.” I certainly dont mean to offend. Just my oppinion. I do pray that whatever churches you are affiliated with would be greatly blessed with the presence of God. And I hope that everyone on here would remember that it was Christ’s prayer that urged us to be one, as He and the Father are one. Blessings to you all!!!!

  10. Elle Says:

    Troy, thank you for your very kind and well thought out comment. I am thrilled that God has worked in your life as He has!

    As to the question of unity - if Paul had chosen a form of unity that ignored errors, the New Testament would be a lot thinner. God the Father would not have been OK with Christ erring (which of course is a bit of a silly example because that wouldn’t happen) and neither should Christians be OK with other Christian churches erring. I have trouble (as should any Christian who takes God’s word seriously) overlooking churches that take God’s precious truth and teach it in error. Some people say doctrine divides. That’s not true. The teachings laid out in God’s word unite those who believe it and the error persisted by those who don’t is what divides.

    Where there is error, there is no unity and I can’t pretend there is. When the world sees the church “cutting itself down,” it might also see that Christians care about God’s word and hold His truth to be more important than pretending there is unity where there isn’t.

    That’s not to say I believe those who differ with me on baptism are going to hell. Please don’t think that is what I’m saying. I am saying that I take God’s word seriously enough that the difference on baptism makes it clear to me that until that difference is resolved biblically, the idea of unity is unrealistic. I don’t believe Christ intended that we toss out His truth in an effort to feign unity.

    I hope this explanation helps answer your question.

  11. loofrin Says:

    I have a question for you. Is your pastor Rev. PJ Goeke? I knew him when I lived in Texas.

  12. Elle Says:

    Nope!

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