Fun In The NeighborhoodTravel

My Crazy Story… How I Found A Church

Lynnette seated up front at church -- holding a 'Crazy Campaign' brochure.

Q: What is it a story about?
A: How you can be a Christian, and be “real”, and live your life like a Christian, and have FUN — all at the same time.

Q: Why is it “crazy”?
A: Because it was written in response to our church’s callout for “personal stories about how this crazy church has changed your life for the better”.

Hold onto your hats, folks. You’re about to be taken on one wild and crazy ride! I usually don’t talk much about religion…


Here’s My Crazy Story…

I’ve been telling people about Bellevue Community Church (now known as Hopepark Church) ever since my very first visit there over 2 years ago.

In fact, it only took 2 visits before Jim and I both knew that we wanted to be regular members! (And we don’t even fit the mold. We have no kids. This is a church that caters to families with kids. I sure do wish my parents took me to a church like this when I was growing up!)

How We Found BCC

Jim and I had heard about “a church over in Bellevue that was really fun to go to.” But, we live in Franklin… so we are rarely on that end of town, and we kept forgetting to try it out.

Finally, one Saturday afternoon we spotted a BCC billboard along I-40. We both looked at each other and said, “Let’s go tomorrow!”

From there, we started going every Sunday. Mostly because we found it to be such an energizing and refreshing way to start off the week! We had never heard such real-life messages and such great music — both in the same church — before.

You see, Pastor Dave always talks about everyday things — like the things that are weighing you down in life, or ways to make the most of your work week, or how to overcome challenges, or how to live your life with passion. Then he backs up those things up with scripture.

Instead of one hour of pure “Bible-speak”… at BCC you get 30 minutes of fun music and 30 minutes of an uplifting message that you can apply to your everyday life! In fact, that’s their mission: “To bring real hope… to real people… in the real world.”

Truth is, you can’t help but want to come back the next Sunday! (I’ve often found myself wishing that BCC had Sunday night services, because the messages are so empowering… they leave you wanting more.)

Soon after we started attending BCC, we heard about a “New Members Class”. We attended. And we signed up on the spot to become regular, dues-paying members of Bellevue Community Church. We haven’t looked back since.

We usually sit up front (what we’ve affectionately termed the “spit zone”) because we don’t want to miss a thing that Dr. David Foster says or does each Sunday.


For Me, It All Came Down To This: Church -vs- Religion

I, like most people, had been to my share of churches through the years. And, like all of my friends’ families growing up, we considered ourselves “Christians”, but not necessarily “religious” (…and from what I could tell, the Christian part pretty much only applied on Sundays).

I can’t think of many examples where the people I knew were being “real” AND being “Christian” — at the same time. (Not that they weren’t good people. Just that I never put the two together.)

As a result… I didn’t place much weight on church OR religion throughout high school and college. In fact, I began feeling farther from God than ever before. And I lacked that peace in my heart that told me I was doing the right thing. I was tired of CALLING myself a Christian, yet having nothing to back it up with.

When we stumbled upon BCC, it was like a breath of fresh air!


Why We Tell Everyone About BCC

Yeah, I’ll admit it. I think some of our family members initially thought that we had joined a “cult” or something… 🙂

For two people who were typically non-expressive about their religion, about God, and about church to suddenly be EXCITED about going to church again and start talking about BCC all the time… it was quite a switch for us!

That, and the fact that some people think the music’s too loud. Or too much like rock & roll. It’s true, the music is one of the most powerful aspects of this church — with practically every instrument you can imagine being played at some point. And they’re not afraid to turn it up loud.

But Christian music in general has become so mainstream these days, that so much of what you hear at BCC are actual songs you hear on the radio anyway. Besides, we’re in Music City USA …where there are high-caliber musicians, singers and songwriters everywhere you turn, so what would you expect?!

Plus, some think that Pastor Dave is more of a “motivational speaker” than a “true preacher”. Well, maybe that format works for some… If its his “religious schooling” and biblicly-sound foundation that you’re wondering about, he’s got it. And if he is able — in his unique way — to reach people that might not otherwise WANT to be reached, what could be wrong with that? I can vouch for the fact that his unique style of preaching is exactly what has brought a number of people BACK to church — after years of rebellion, denial or isolation. Pastor Dave sums it up as “those who have lost HOPE.” In fact, his style of preaching is VERY much like Rick Warren’s style in The Purpose-Driven Life. It’s a best-seller. I’d highly recommend it.


There’s Something For Everyone

“Religion” and “church” are different things to different people. There is no one religion or one type of church service that works for everyone out there. Some need the structure that traditional church services bring, others need the freedom to think and act for themselves.

In the end, we’re all going to the same Heaven. We just get their via our own path. For me, BCC is one of those forks in the road along the way that I have chosen to take on my journey…


Are You Ready To “Get Real”?

We have come to appreciate BCC’s forward-thinking, modern-day approach when it comes to reaching out to people and talking about religion in a language that everyone can understand. It’s all about being “real” 24/7. There are no walls, no fasades. What you see is what you get.

And that includes the church members! At a typical Sunday service you’ll find the Harley riders chatting with the senior citizens (sometimes the Harley riders ARE the senior citizens!), the tattoo artist sitting next to the president of the PTA, and people like you and me dispersed everywhere in between. NO ONE sticks out like a sore thumb at this church.

BCC is definitely on the cutting edge when it comes to churches. If you want to know how to build a church from scratch, and grow it over the course of 15 years to become “the best place to worship in Nashville” where people WANT to attend (by choice!)… then you need to check out BCC.

But, once you go, you’ll be hooked.

… don’t say I didn’t warn you!


For Those Who Hung With Me Til The End…

Believe it or not there is even more that I could say about this great church. Here’s more about our search for a church, including the projects we are currently involved with at Bellevue Community Church.

As you can tell… I’m BCC’s #1 fan!

The leaders at BCC often refer to this church (in jest) as “the crazy church” (because it has earned a reputation for being on the cutting edge and unique in their way of thinking — for a church anyways.

And for years, whenever you’d bring up something about BCC, someone would usually say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard about that crazy church.” So, at BCC they’re redefining “crazy” and everyone is proud to be referred to as such, because it means that BCC thinks outside the box.

They are currently in the middle of a fundraising campaign to add more buildings — mostly new innovative programming and space for the kids. It will be so nice once it’s all done.

For more about BCC’s “Crazy Campaign” (and why it’s so craaazzzyy), check out the website that Jim and I (with the help of designer Karen Hayes) created for Bellevue Community Church to get the word out about the campaign.