For the past two weeks I’ve had the privilege of attending Grace Community Church, which is about 20 minutes from UCLA up the 405N. Perhaps you don’t know what church that is (I didn’t know), but you may recognize the name of the pastor: John MacArthur. 

So what is it like being at his church (some may probably think of it as the dream church, haha)? Here are some first impressions I have received from these past two weeks.

– Grace Community Church is just like any other church, from the outside. When I passed by the church while looking for parking, the church looked just like any other church I have visited. Even the sign outside is one of those manually spelled ones (where you line up the letters to give announcements, like “prayer has power”). A slight difference may be the overfillling parking lots and people streaming into church right before morning service, which is at an incredible 8:30am! 

– The people are very welcoming there – As soon as I walk in the doors, ushers welcome you into the congregation, also showing you possible places to sit. That is helpful, because every morning perhaps thousands flock to this church.

– Before service begins there are instrumentalists playing songs on stage, in the morning usually stringed instruments are playing. Also for morning and evening service, most of the songs come from their hymn books, haven’t seen anything contemporary yet (songs you would find on popular Christian radio stations). For the worship, it is large choir singing and sometimes have a solo or duet vocal in the front. The music is beautiful and uplifting!

– John MacArthur preaches 3 times on Sunday, twice in the morning with the same message, and once in the evening at 6:00pm with another message. His preaching is solid, using scripture to back up scripture (almost like seeing a cross reference live). His style may bore some, but he isn’t trying to put on an entertainment show, just “all good preaching is a good argument that goes with evidence to an unmistakable conclusion.” His message and wealth of Bible wisdom had me going back for the evening service also.

Notes from GCC

The notes for the sermon (the format is theirs)

– It was interesting that offering is something you give on your way out, there was no passing of offering bags aside from collecting registration cards of new comers. 

Crossroads, the college fellowship after at 10:30am

– Austin Duncan is the pastor for the college ministry. Upon walking into the room noticed how contemporary everything was, yet simple. There is much humor to be found in the annoucements: as they were annoucing the upcoming WOW week (a welcome week for students), the pianist was playing sad music in the background… hilarious. 

– The worship for the college ministry is filled with contemporary, truth-filled songs. For worship there is a pianist leading with a vocalist, but no guitar! I imagined an Enfield or super band would be leading at a church like this.

– The message by Austin Duncan (today was by Steve Lawson) is much more colorful and filled with metaphors. He spoke on 1 Corinthians 15 on the resurrection of the dead, and gave the metaphor of a child falling asleep on the car then awaking in their bed later, and tying it to the experience Christians will have upon dying on earth and finding ourselves in heaven, our home. This sermon definitely is geared towards young adults, and one could say is more “fun” than the morning service. (Both are filled with truth and spoken by men with great conviction!)

– Many of the students at the college fellowship are also from UCLA, looking forward to getting to know them more!