The majestic and imposing church, built beginning in 1949 in Iloilo City, loomed large before me.
My stomach churned.
I have spoken in many churches before, but not in one as huge as this. My slides were not for a gymnasium-sized venue and I was now anxious they could not be read. I did not dwell on my worries too long, though; the ushers welcomed me warmly and ushered me inside the church.
It was, as expected, commodious indoors. The ceiling reached the heavens and although there were several projectors for every area, the endless rows of pews were overwhelming.
Contemplative yet contemporary would be how I’d describe the service—similar to my home church’s. The choir's angelic voices, together with the praise and worship team's edgy vocals (combining organ and modern band instruments) felt like I was in the music section of heaven—and the Lord's presence was in and with me.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" Psalm 139:7 (NLT)
Behind the pulpit, I clicked on my first slide, "What it takes to be a winner." Then my next slides seemed so miniscule, unreadable from the speaker's monitor. I winged it all the way and prayed that the audience would follow me through.
They must have. After the service, many thanked me for sharing my journey as a writer on God's grace.
Over lunch with the senior pastor, he said, "For the next service this PM, try to increase your font size to a minimum of 60, so you won't have a hard time reading the monitor." He noticed!
Back in the hotel, I rushed to revise my slides. And for the next service, I was faithful to my script, finishing on time to enjoy the music of Dr. Aaron Alfred Lee, world-famous keyboardist/pianist/composer.
As a teacher in communications, I always remind my students to do a venue check before finalizing their presentation slides. I broke my own rule, taking for granted I knew all about church sizes.
Baptist Center Church, according its website, is probably one of the biggest places of worship (protestant) in the Philippines—and the oldest, too. It was a blessing for me to have stepped inside it and speak behind its pulpit.
Photo credit: BCC facade