Skip to main content

Jacob's Well

Photo courtesy of the Jacob's Well website.

I've been itching to visit Jacob's Well church in Kansas City since I first heard about it a couple of years ago. It's often linked with the "emerging church" movement, and according to this article the pastor and founder is considered one of the "founding members" of this movement. It's connection to it is one of the reasons I wanted to go - the chance to see a church that defines itself as one in action. But I also heard the words "lovely and creative worship" from someone or somewhere (I can't recall). And I'm always looking for something inspiring and creative to incorporate into our worship time.

I got something cool: a surprise.

It's a funny thing to visit a church when you are so used to being at your own. When you're a staff member of a church it's hard to get away on weekends, so when the opportunity arises to get away I try to visit a church I can learn and be inspired by. I usually walk away with good and bad things in my head, and I rarely have the desire to go back, partially because I know I can't, but also because it was nothing special.

This was not the case with Jacob's Well.

I felt completely at home at Jacob's Well. I felt comfortable without feeling complacent. I felt inspired missionally without feeling guilty. I worshiped without noticing everything else around me.

After reading the articled I linked to above, I was shocked to find out they have 1,000 members. We attended the 9am service and the sanctuary was nearly full, but I would guess with less than 200 people. Everything about the feel and mood of the service was modern, but it never felt like they were shunning the past. This is partially due to the building where they meet - built in 1930 it still has several beautiful stained glass windows, a vaulted ceiling, wood pews, and the like. On the surface, a cynical Christian (ahem... like me.) might walk into this church and worry (read: judge) the pretentiousness of an "I'm too cool for an evangelical church" appearance. But that is not what I felt at Jacob's Well at all. As a church attender since birth - with lots of crazy and wild church experiences in college - I've seen a lot of interesting stuff happen at church services. So it's takes a lot to surprise me. But Jacob's Well did that.

Can I even put my finger on it? Not really. I think that's why I'm so surprised... and having a hard time writing this post.

The light were dimmed and the cloudiness of the day added to the dark feel in the sanctuary. Candles covered the alter, which remained in the center of the platform up front. The band was spread out to the side and around the alter. A carving into wood of the Lord's Prayer just behind the alter was highlighted with a small light .

Large projections screen were on either side of the sanctuary, the worship music was loud (maybe a little too) with a light-grunge style (is that a style?), but truly authentic and not "concert-like". The first song was in completely in the wrong key because, not to brag, but if I can't sing it a normal person couldn't either. And that is just not the way worship should be led. But the rest of the worship music was good and sound theological stuff (no "Jesus is my best friend or lover" sugar-coated crap that I can't swallow) and in the right key. The song Psalm 145 - which I'm guessing was written just for the sermon - was spot-on and really powerful.

The preaching was sound, engaging, interactive, enjoyable and all-around awesome stuff. The service ended with communion, more music and a benediction where we crossed the isle, all held hands and prayed a blessing song over the community. (Which I really dug.) 95% of the people there were my age and younger. It's in mid-town KC, away from suburbia, with people of many culturally-diverse backgrounds. Suzie, my friend who came with me, told me she could absolutely see herself going there while she lives in Kansas City. I could also see myself calling Jacob's Well my home church... if I lived in there. Maybe when I make my trips home to Nebraska after my move to St. Louis in the fall I will have the chance to go back. It will certainly be worth the detour.


Kansas Bob said…
So weird reading about a KC church from a cornhusker :)

I almost got to JW this fall when I was on medical leave for a month.. you know how hard it is for people who work at a church to "visit" other churches - especially on Sunday.

Next time you are in KC feel free to try us - we are somewhere in between charismatic and emerging.. and we are looking for a worship pastor.
stephanie said…
Was that a job offer?

Kansas Bob said…
Not my job to offer but I'd glad to pass your info on to our elders.

All kidding aside fel free to email me if you know of anyone that is looking.

Popular posts from this blog

friendship and INFJs

INFJs don’t form a lot of close friendships in their lifetime… we are very selective. This isn’t about conceit, but really about knowing ourselves. We only have so much emotional energy we can give to another without great harm to our soul, so we make sure we give it to those we truly connect with, those we deem “worth it.” What I mean by “worth it” is those who come close to understanding us. Those who push us beyond our preconceived notions. Those who challenge us and make us think. Those who aren’t afraid of not understanding us, but are willing to go along with us for the ride. Those who try, need to know they will never fully plumb the depth of our complications (we don’t understand our own complications, so we certainly don’t expect others to understand them either.) Those to whom we give our emotional energy have penetrated our surface, which we keep pretty impenetrable. Because we want those who’ve worked for it, because honestly?We would do the same for them. The thing about …

on feeling marginalized

mar·gin·al·ize: treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.
Most of my life I’ve felt like a social pariah.  In high school, I was never pretty enough or athletic enough to be accepted. (I wish I’d known then the importance of music and that it would one day become a career for me, so that I would have felt less horrible about it. None of the popular kids in school use their athletic ability or good looks in their career, which makes me sound petty and small, but let’s face it, all us social pariahs think this way. … if we’re being honest.)
And I really thought the social pariah status would go away at some point in my life. But then this happened.  And two big emotions caught me as a result: in the moment, complete relief. As my post says, I actually felt a weight lift from my shoulders when I was told that there was a reason no one understood me and it wasn’t my entire fault. In the years since, though, I’ve also settled into a rather unsettling emotion: inse…

the "INFJ Door Slam"

One thing that INFJs tend to do is read a lot about their personality type. Because we are rare, that also means we are difficult to figure out. So reading to try and understand ourselves simply goes with the territory.  Today I was reading about the “INFJ Door Slam”. Here is part of what I read:

There’s this thing called the “INFJ Door Slam.”  People talk about it.  Other personality types trash it, but few people try to explain it in simple terms.  It’s different for everyone, no doubt, but in simple terms… The INFJ door slam is what happens when we are burned out by unresolved emotions, so we resolve the issue by deciding that the relationship is over. INFJs are deeply emotional creatures.  We don’t feel as much as it looks like we do (that’s mirroring, which is a whole other topic), but when we feel…we feel deeply and fully.  That means that we burn out.  If we are emotionally toyed with, abused, or overloaded, and there is no end to the emotional assault in sight, we have to do some…