It's a nice theater, capable of seating about 400 people. I assume the 10:00 am and noon services at the same location are better attended, but for the 8:00 am worship, the room was only about a quarter filled. Announcements flashed on the screen and a chiefly youngish crowd of mixed ethnicities leisurely filed in.
The Rock is one church meeting at four locations (plus "micro-sites," which we forgot to ask about) throughout San Diego County. Combining the campuses, Rock Church is one of the largest churches in the country, with a weekly attendance of over 15,000 people in 18 weekly services. The church began in the year 2000, meeting on the campus of San Diego State University (my alma mater). The San Ysidro campus is the newest, begun in September of last year, and the church plans to begin services at yet another site in a few months.
Right at 8:00 am, we were welcomed (on the screen) by a youth pastor from another of the campuses. A little later, the "Campus Pastor" gave some announcements, live. He encouraged people to join small groups called "Life Groups," which meet in various homes throughout the week. He said "It's important to connect, so you'll be connected and stay connected." So, I've got to agree, thumbs up to connection.
A live worship band of three singers and four musicians didn't always follow their assigned time on the back screen, occasionally going a minute or two over. We found it interesting that there were no women in the band, and no women on stage or screen all morning (though women made up a fair percentage of the ushers and counseling team).
The congregation joined in enthusiastically with the worship, and it certainly wasn't a morning where the singing and performance of the worship band was the focus. We sang one verse of "Amazing Grace" in Spanish as part of the "Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone" medley. (During the second two services of the morning, Spanish translation was available, but not for our 8:00 am service. During the sermon, the pastor mentioned he was working to learn Spanish.
There was an altar call at the end of the sermon for a commitment to Christ or a recommitment, and seven people came forward. This was introduced by McPherson on the screen, but the campus pastor prayed and instructed those who came forward, shaking their hands and facilitating their meeting with members of a team wearing "Altar Call" t-shirts.
After a closing song, there was an announcement about giving. Plates weren't passed, but we were encouraged to give in one of three ways: drop off money in a box in the lobby, give online or give via text message.
A missionary friend of mine once said, "If you can't plant a church in Southern California, you can't plant a church anywhere." Whether this statement is fair or not, it looks like this four month old plant is off to a good start.
Service Length: 1 hour 17 minutes
Sermon Length: 36 minutes (counting introductory prayer)
Visitor Treatment: We were greeted warmly by a number of volunteers, but no special attention to visitors. There was a form in the bulletin for updating information, but no mention of what to do with it.
Our Rough Count: 106
Actual! Ushers' Count: 112 (we overheard one usher telling another)
Snacks: We saw a room with coffee and (we think) snacks, but it seemed to be for the volunteers. With the rainy weather, a variety of things like the bookstore had been moved inside, so possibly coffee was normally available outside.
Songs: "Our Father"
"You are Faithful"
"Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone"
"We Glorify Your Name"
Miles to place: 566
Total California Miles in 2015: 1,756