Sunday, December 20, 2009

Drummer Boy

Today we went to Grace Church to see a friend's son, who was one of the drummers performing in their Christmas extravaganza, Drummer Boy 09.

Grace Church is one of the largest non-denominational churches in the area. We were told to arrive quite early, and I'm glad we took the advice. About a block from the complex, traffic stopped. It was stop and go until we reached the entrance to the parking lot, where there were people dressed in orange jumpsuits directing cars. After we parked, we followed the crowd towards the building.

The first thing we saw when we entered was people. A lot of people milling around. Standing in line at the coffee bar. Sitting at small tables eating, drinking, and chatting with their friends. It was hard for me to realize I was in a church. Again following the stream of people, we headed towards the auditorium, which had two levels-the main room and a second floor balcony which wrapped around three sides of the huge room. The area was so big that not everyone could see the stage, but there were jumbotron screens on either side of it to show the action.

Although we arrived 45 minutes before the start of the program, the room was almost filled up. We grabbed a place in the second pew from the rear on the right side. Soon we heard an announcement that there was no more room in the auditorium, but "overflow seating" was available in an alternate area. Ten minutes before the hour, there was another announcement that anyone who was saving seats should release them for people who were already here. At showtime, the place was packed.

We had been to a version of the show two years ago, so we knew what to expect. Right after the house lights went down, the spectacle began. The program was a little Stomp, a little Blue Man Group, and a little Trans-Siberian Orchestra with an African and Brazilian flavor. I didn't recognize a couple of the songs (but they conveniently put the words up on the screen), and they put a unique contemporary spin on the "classic" carols. The big production had dozens of percussionists, and a few singers and dancers (including two awesome tap dancers). The sound system really showcased the music, and the light show rivaled anything I've seen at a concert-there were even some lasers flashing around the darkened auditorium.

Halfway through, the pastor got up and said a few words, the ushers passed the basket, and then the lights were lowered again for the second half. When the stage was crowded with performers and huge drums were lowered from the ceiling of the auditorium, I figured we were coming up on the culmination of the program. I was right. The pastor came out for a few more words, then an on-stage duo led the congregation in a short sing-along before everyone started heading back to their cars.

Here's a video of last year's program that gives a taste of the spectacle:


  1. It's hard for me to get used to the concept of those huge mega churches. Give me a lovely little stone church with stained glass windows any day.

    Sounds like a great concert!

  2. I am in a Mega Church right now. We have 3 campuses, the 3rd campus opened in late 2007 and is now at overflow capacity. They have a 4th going up this year and #5 is supposed to be going up in 2011.

  3. Willow, my church seats about 1,000 but it feels manageable. Maybe it's just what I'm used to.

    Jackie, Wow! I don't think there's anything that big around here.

  4. I went yesterday, too!!

    I had never been in a mega church and was amazed by just how large that place was. Did you get to see the atrium and the concessions that were there? It was like a mall food court or something.

    We had to park at Pattonville High School and walk up. I didn't realize it would be so crowded. I thought it was going to be a cheesy play and was pleasantly surprised by the musical performances.

  5. A. Eye-yes, the atrium DID look like a food court! I hadn't made the connection till you pointed it out. It would have been quite a walk from Pattonville in yesterday's chilly weather.

  6. As the mom of the kid you came to see in Drummer Boy I just want to say great description of the show. It is a spectacle but then I think heaven will be even more spectacular. It's hard for me as a member to think of Grace as a Mega church (especially after visiting Willow Creek in Chicago). After taking part in their small groups, sending my kids to children's ministry and serving where ever and when ever I can...Grace just feels like home to me! Glad you could visit and so happy the service was a blessing to you and so many others. It is awesome to be part of a church that supports and gives opportunities to artists to worship God in such a unique way. Eve you are right no cheesy play only our best for the Creator of the Universe!

  7. Anonymous-Tony obviously forwarded my post to you. Thanks for stopping by! I've heard you speak highly of all Grace offers.