Ever held church in a night club before? I’m sure many have prayed for a great night, a smooth dancing partner and a way out of a hangover…but praise and worship mixed in with a sermon? Well, wait no more because you can take a 3 hour plane ride from Kentucky to Anaheim CA to the City Church of Anaheim.
Celebrating its first year of unorthodox, nontraditional rock and roll services in a local night-club, the 200 member congregation led by 26 year old Pastor Kyle Steven Bonenberger had bbq, cole slaw…and tattoos in honor of their one year church birthday.
With KFC buckets as their offering baskets and a dance floor as their sanctuary, the church holds worship amongst the signs advertising the weekly bands such as ‘Jabba The Slut’. Being in a night club atmosphere with a Jesus message is nothing new, considering there are churches throughout the U.S. that have outreach programs in strip clubs, casinos and even at brothels…but this homegrown, scratch from the living room church has its sights set on being a mission-minded church that goes the extra mile to be distinctly different.
As a challenge to the church, Bonenberger proclaimed, along with several other members, that if they got attendance and membership up to a certain point within the first year, they would each get a tattoo of the church logo inked on an arm.
Benenberger believes in the mission of the church, stating that God has “tattooed your name on his heart”, using that statement as a pedestal to promote the inking of members with their logo. As lead Pastor, Bonenberger led by example, offering up his arm for the heart shaped church logo as they surpassed their attendance challenge this past Sunday.
Expressing himself to the Orange County Register this past week, Pastor Bonenberger stated that “We (the church)hit the number….I love the tattoo. I love these people. I’m stoked. They’re in my heart.” According to the City Church website and Youtube video, their mission is to “give back to the community in a tangible way by spreading love and hope.” (see video below)
Vying to be different in a world of churches that look frighteningly similar and cookie-cutter can have its advantages but it can also be a slippery slope. Being pulled in by the hype and the longing to be different can so easily become a god you worship rather than God Himself…
Recognizing that they made a splash with their tattoo challenge, City Church put a special place on their website explaining about the tattoos and directing the message in a positive light, using it as an outreach tool. With a comment about how “God can use anything for His glory”, readers are invited to attend church and introduced to the new sermon series starting this Sunday.
Prayers go out for churches such as the City Church…that what they continue to love most are not the people, the tattoos and the different atmosphere, but Jesus Christ. As they use anything they can in their arsenal to go in and move people towards God, let us pray they keep their eyes and hearts on the truth rather than the hype. And be thankful for Pastors and congregations willing to stand in the nightclubs, strip clubs and casinos and not judge but show God’s love to all people…
Care to follow the City Church? Click into the Pastor’s blog here:
Kyle Bonenberger Blogspot.com
Lovehopecity.com (City Church website)