By Mike Jones
At this time, I am not practice my own faith. However, I do believe in God and pray at my own time. One of my good friends asked me to attend her church for a Sunday service. I felt honored to be invited to her church. What do I have to lose? I don’t know anything about the Pentecostal religion and I’m curious on what goes on.
Before I attending a church service at Pentecostals of Apopka (POA), I decided to learn more about the religion, customs, traditions, and much more. I could not find any information on their church’s website that explains their religion in it’s entirety. This is when I started to conduct my own online research. There are many articles with opinions and experiences about a Pentecostal Worship Service online.
What is the Pentecostal religion? Wikipedia states, [Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a Protestant Christian movement that emphasizes direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as describe in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.] For more information on this religion please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism
She told me that this church is Judeo-Christian. They worship from both Old and New Testaments. Plus, they are pro-Israel because of the birth and final resting place of Jesus Christ. Everyone is welcome to attend a Pentecostal service.
One question everyone asks is what do I wear to this church’s service? Times have changes on years on what to wear. She told me to dress in business casual with men wearing long pants with a nice button down shirt or a business suit. All women and girls wear a dress from the knee and below. For many women they do not wear a lot of makeup and or jewelry. Everyone is advised to dress conservatively when attending this service. No one should be flashy because it is not a fashion contest.
It is always recommend reading up on the church’s social media reviews before attending any place of worship. This will gauge on how the church members like their church. The comments on this church were very positive with five stars, which is the highest rating on Facebook. Here is a link p.facebook.com/POAfamily/
For first time visitors at this church, there are guest parking spaces closest to the building. If you can’t find one, then park in any open spaces. Most church members would arrive fifteen minutes before the service start by gathering inside the sanctuary.
Upon walking up to the building enter through the main entrance. A church member holds the door and welcomes each and every person attending this service. All seating is open expect for the “Do not sit area” on certain rows for social distancing.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has currently change the way churches operate. The clergy has asked their parishioners to stay home if they are sick, wear a facemask in common areas, and do social distancing. During the church service in the sanctuary facemask are not required. Very few people will ware a facemask during this service.
This church is very open to any guests to take in and experience on what this church has to offer. POA states, [The Worship Community of POA is led by an ever-growing group of talented musicians and singers. Weekly, the goal of this team is to usher our congregation into His presence by leading us in and creating an atmosphere of – worship.]
When the church service starts one will hear and see churchgoers on stage singing three Christian songs, which is then joined in with everyone else. I considered this part of the “Christian karaoke.” The lyrics to the songs to follow along are projected on the top wall of the stage. Everyone is free to sing along. The three songs they played were “Raise A Hallelujah,” “Miracles Do Happen”, and “I search the World…” There are different songs played each week.
After the three songs, Pastor Williams did present his sermon to the congregation. Williams had some prepared notes at the lectern. He was very outspoken. Even at times he was very animated. His voice was well projected and echoed in the sanctuary. Attendees focus and listened to what he had to say.
During the service don’t be surprised if the Pastor asks the audience if there are any guests here today. It is customary to stand up when asked. No one wants to make you uncomfortable. During the service I attended, no one pointed out any new or potential members at this service.
One thing that Pastor Williams advised his congregation is to refrain from saying negative things on social media about our church. For example, if someone was not able to attend a church service they didn’t want anyone else to attend either. To me this is selfishness and should not happen.
Then Pastor Williams recited from the Bible. Some key points to take away were “Church is where you want to be,” “Power of God healing,” and “Encountering an Angel.” He spoke from the heart and it showed.
Another point in the sermon was about a female non-member who was paralyzed attended a service at this church. Another church member picked her up from a wheel chair and dragged her down the aisle. Before she got to the church stage, she was healed and regained a normal life again. This was a true miracle that happened. Even I was taken back from this story. Plus, had tears in my eyes too.
One may see parishioners’ sing, dance, and possibility fall on the floor. I did not see anyone fall on the floor at the service I attended. Everyone was welcoming. However, because of the pandemic churchgoers did not socialize right after the service.
The Pentecostals believe in a variety of contents. They are Salvation, Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Divine healing, Eschatology, Spiritual gifts, Oneness and Trinitarianism, and much more.
Many people are wondering do they have a collection plate that is passed around during the service? The answer is no. However, at the end of the service when everyone one walks out the sanctuary into the lobby, there is a churchgoer standing collecting donations. Every one is welcome to give any amount they would like.
If you can’t make this church’s service in person than their service is streamed live on their website. Just click on the “Broadcast” section on the top. Some viewers may find that that the live feed is not available because it displays “Broadcast is currently offline.” This broadcast is only available on every Sunday at 10:30am and every Wednesday at 7:30pm. For the link please visit www.thepentecostals.com/watch-live .
Overall, I enjoyed this service. I had a moving experience that I have not felt in a long time. Yes, I would like to visit this church again with a friend. I did not get a chance to meet Pastor Michael Williams after the service. I wish I would have met him and explain my wonderful experience that I had. For more information on this church please visit www.thepentecostals.com . If you have any question please feel free to reach out to this church.
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