Eugene Christian Fellowship
I attended Eugene Christian Fellowship many, many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it then. Recently on a visit to Eugene, I attended their Third Service (at 11:30am) they have since gone back to 2 services...
The worship was heartfelt and refreshing. The worship was led by two 20-something girls. Most churches that I have visited have the worship leader(s) pulling double duty... say an acoustic guitar AND the lead vocals - but not at ECF - the worship leaders were freed up to simply sing and worship. This was different and good. The two girls led in tandem. They took turns leading and both had different styles of vocalizing the songs and that was pretty neat. The worship was definitely "pentecostal/charismatic" and was very freeing.
After worship the pastor invited a missionary from Africa to come to the stage and share about things in Africa. Unfortunately this was the most drawn out part of the service. It was 11 1/2 minutes or so of slow, rambling, hard to understand speech. With a large church such as ECF - this could have been edited from a pre-recorded statement for a more appropriate length of time - it simply took away from my enjoyment of the service. The pastor then asked the missionary to pray over the offering in his native tongue. Which was VERY COOL.
After the missionary spoke, Pastor Gary shared for the third part of his sermon series "What Did Jesus Really Say?" He preached for about 40 minutes. His text was Matthew 5:3.
Whether he means to or not, Pastor Gary comes across with a "This is the way it is" attitude in his preaching and teaching. I much prefer a teacher who doesn't say "this is what I want you to get out of the passage" but one who guides me down a trail and allows me to pick up nuggets of truth along the way. I think that this type of preaching is more difficult and takes more planning and preparation to accomplish.
Pastor Gary is great for some people. My brother LOVES his preaching. Each week, my brother comes away with 3 or 4 "do this plus this plus this and God will be happy with you" points. But that's not the way I like to learn.