The Bay Christian Family Church My Life 04 OCT 2008

Allan BaggWell it has been more than just a few months now since I’ve moved to Gordon’s Bay and believe it or not, we STILL haven’t managed to locate a church that we feel comfortable enough with in order to call it our new spiritual home.

Back when we were still based in Bellville, we used to attend the Christ Church Blaauwberg (CCB) in Parklands under Pastor Gary Rohm, seeing as this had been Chantelle’s church family of choice for some time already. I too immediately fell under this particular church’s charm and to be honest, both of us were pretty sad when we finally had to bid it farewell.

And therein lays the problem. Finding a replacement spiritual home is turning out to be pretty tough, because we can’t quite seem to find anything that strikes the perfect balance between the demography we would like to be part of and the actual church itself. So we’ve been hopping around from church to church, ‘sampling the wares’ so to speak, and a couple of weeks ago it was the turn of The Bay Christian Family Church, situated right next to the Virgin Active gym out here in the Strand.

Well, we had been warned off them a little by Karl and Pat way back in May already, so at least we went in a little prepared, but to be honest, we were no where near prepared enough for what was to come next.

Walking into the church was like walking into a well organised rock concert. An usher led us down the aisles to our seats on entry, while in front, a full scale band plus choir was belting out contemporary gospel song after gospel song, with the lead singer looking as if he was on the main stage at Oppikoppi, clearly loving the sound of his own voice and revelling in every moment up front. There was a giant electronic red ticker board flashing the lyrics at us and the deafening noise threatened to rip the roof right off the building. All of which is fine…

…if you were at a rock concert.

Next up was the reader for the day’s scriptures and in a loud, booming (fake?) accent he proclaimed the word, opened the prayer and made the announcements. Except, when I say made the announcements, I mean he pointed us to the big wall next to the stage where a video projector launched into a pre-recorded video segment, complete with polished CG graphics and two ‘hip’ presenters who launched into their little ‘television show’ with gusto. The ‘announcements’ segment over, the main part of the show got underway, with Minister Allan Bagg taking to the stage.

Now Allan Bagg is a televangelist and you can see it from the get go. Everything is polished, everything is loud and pronounced, and everything feels like a script.

And that is exactly the problem. From start to finish, we felt as if we were a part of one big show. People wave their hands and sway around, move to the front and jump around for others to see, the message gets reinforced by polished video presentations and everything from the props to the people have that polished, made for TV feel.

By the end of the service, Chantelle and I walked out, frustrated to say the least. This isn’t a church family. This isn’t the message of the Lord. No, this is a message from ‘Allan Bagg Ministries’ (the banner under which all his productions, media and other paraphernalia gets sold) and that is all one can say about it. Perhaps we are judging this church just a little too harshly based on only attending one service, but I’m sorry, the Bay Christian Family Church is simply not for us… and we would be very hard pressed to recommend it to anyone else.

Unless of course you like the idea of appearing on TV.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • Jaco

    Thanks for your description of The Bay Christian Family Church. Met someone from that church today and was invited to attend. Now I don’t have to wonder about whether I should have gone or not. Certainly not for me. Thanks again.

  • Well, to be fair, I may be a little too harsh on them because after all, I only visited with them once, but from where I stand, my way of worshipping is certainly far more subdued than their approach. Obviously it works for a lot of people, but it certainly isn’t for me.

    • aaron

      I’d like you to go to the bible and see how they praised God…

      • Sigh, I know I know. I get a lot of flack for this post which as I’ve pointed out before, was a little bit unfair from my side as I really only did attend one service and that service didn’t appeal to either Chantelle or myself. I’m not saying that the Bay Church is bad, simply that it isn’t for me or Chantelle.

        We do like singing and praising our Lord loudly, but we prefer to hear ourselves singing rather than have our voices drowned out by singers on microphones and guitarists and drummers who feel that they are playing at a packed out rock concert.

        That’s all I’m saying. We didn’t like it – doesn’t mean that no one else does! :)

        • aaron

          Have you found a good church to attend yet? Sorry I didn’t get time to browse through your blog. The only reason I found your comment is because I googled “Allan Bag”…

          Anyway… Let me know if you’ve found a good church as yet…

    • Italio

      “My sheep know my voice and strangers do not follow “John 10:27,”No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” John 6:44 . Reading your initial post, you should o where you “feel” most uncomfortable. That is where the challenge lays, and I hear to much about you and none of God. “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us”-Rom8:26. If we don’t know what to pray for , how would we know where to place our self. Its not what you like nor where you “feel” comfortable but where God needs you. Go in peace and serve the Lord

  • Titus

    Every Ministry has certain functions and God has called and appointed leaders to fulfill a specific function. Therefore I can’t judge another Pastor’s ministry based on my personal experience or opinions. I wasn’t there when God gave that Pastor the vision and calling to plant that church.

    We may not agree with everything and everyone’s style, but we can pray for them that they seek God’s Kingdom and preach the whole Gospel.

    Bottem line is, we all will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and give account of what we did on earth. Our focus therefore should be to find the place (local church ) where we can grow spiritually and use our giftings/ability for His glory.

    My prayer is that you find that “place”.
    God Bless you

  • Kez

    Craig, sorry that you and Chantal didn’t enjoy the service at The Bay. I have been at The Bay for 15 years and really view the congregation as my family and I agree that you need to find the place that God has called you to. I pray that you and Chantal find a church where you feel more at home

  • Have you watched Marc Lottering’s dvd/show “Hallelujah”? He pokes fun of churches the likes of which you’ve just described by calling them “Karaoke” clubs and Minister-brands.
    The same applies to mosques… one has certain “Home” mosques that one likes to and tries to attend. And then you get others that make you wanna run away – but then some people actually like being loud and heard.
    It’s a combination of the community and the leader that makes the experience… a good sum combination is hard to find.

    • Agreed munaf. It’s all about finding that good combination of community and leader that works best for one’s self.

    • Janine Elliott

      Its funny how people need to poke fun at people who preach the uncompromising Word of God, but have they ever looked at themselves…..probably not!!!

  • Samantha Meyer

    Well obviously you have judged the bay for yourself, but let me tell you, I was not a re born christian and last year Nov I got saved, not knowing what the Bay Church was all about, just ended up going there, then early this year I joined there spiritual seminar to find out more, recently was baptised, and let me tell you in todays life who has not got faults but if you listen to the WORD that Allan Bagg preaches and ignore the stuff that not suited for you, well you cant go wrong, and for me in my time of troubles, being in the pit, I have been shown the way of life to the maximum being spiritually fed by The Bay Christian Family Church,so why not give it another try, dont judge on on service, try a couple and then pass comments and make up your mind. But may God send you on your way to find your spiritual home and may you be blessed with it as well. GOD BLESS

  • Kirsten

    Hi Craig,

    I can only say one thing, : You will go back!
    Sometimes, the truth can be very invasive, but put aside those “feelings” and listen to what God has to say for you-focus on the Word. – You have just fallen for Satan”s schemes…it happens to all of us. I dare you to try again-let me know when-i will even sit next to you!
    Kind regards

  • Pieters Liza

    Hi Craig,

    I read your post and find it very interesting that you would have such a strong opinion about our congregation after only one visit and then have the courage to publish it on the internet.

    My husband and I have been members of The Bay Christian Family Church since 1995 and have seen it grow from a handful of people to a congregation of people that love God with a passion.  I’m not saying it is the one and only way, there are many congregations of people that love the Lord!

    The simple fact is that we all form one body and we all have different functions in the Body of Christ.

    Let me tell you (and all others that wonder whether to visit The Bay) that if you are passionate about your walk with God, if you love people and care about where they will be spending ETERNITY, if you care about doing things for God with excellence (not just any sloppy way), if you care that people are hurting, have lack, are sick, struggling ….. the list continues, then come and visit The Bay Christian Family Church.

    At The Bay you will:

    – Hear the Word of God taught in an uncompromised way, The Word of God is alive and brings life to those who understand it. Pastor Allan Bagg is an excellent teacher.

    – You will have opportunity to study The Word in depth for yourself at either The Shepherd School of Ministry or CFCI Bible School and obtain a certificate, diploma or degree in Theology.

    – Your children will be well cared for at our Children’s Church when you visit, where we teach our children the Word of God and not simply entertain them with Bible stories. 

    – If you are talented in music, you can develop your gift in the Music Team.  You will most certainly be challenged to be committed because all those people you saw on stage, practice, practice, practice! They give many hours of their time to be part of a vibrant worship team. They take budding musicians into their fold and help them develop into confident artists. Not only have some of our Worship Team members won great awards with their talents, they have been exposed to well known artists who help them grow and develop.

    – Be trained to be of service to the Lord and the congregation.  My husband and I were the Head Ushers for many years and we trained many ordinary people into becoming ushers, who not only welcome the visitors to our congregation, but they help maintain order during the service, and many “behind the scenes” duties which makes a visit to The Bay pleasant.  People who serve as ushers are confident, neat, on duty an hour before everyone else and stay till everyone has left.  They give their time as a service unto the Lord.

    – The Allan Bagg Ministry Media Team are dedicated and qualified people who give of their time to produce an excellent product, to be beamed across the airwaves, to reach people who perhaps will never be able to visit a congregation to hear the Word of God taught to them.  Many people”s lives have changed radically because they heard Pastor Allan teach God’s Word to them on television.

    – Small Groups – we call them cell groups, passion groups or interest groups, you will find the gatherings at people’s houses relaxed and family orientated.  This is the gathering where you get to understand, experience for yourself, learn and make mistakes, to be lovingly corrected and guided in the correct application of God’s Word in your life by people who take an interest in your life.

    My husband and I are currently being trained to run the Parenting Group, Engaged Couples Groups and hopefully soon also a Marriage Group, where you tackle every day issues, study what God’s Word is on that issue and how to apply the truth of God’s Word in your life. 

    – Soul Winning Saturdays, Mission trips to many countries, Women of Worth, Prayer and Intercessor Groups, Volunteers who are involved in old age homes, orphanages, HIV/Aids awareness, Youth Groups, Leadership Courses ….. the list goes on. 

    The point I am making is this: You cannot base an opinion on one visit.  We as a congregation are living our lives as “Love in Action” touching people’s lives in every sphere of life – and if we’re not there yet – we’re getting there!

    I would like to extend an invitation to you and your wife (and everyone else who are interested) to come again – with an open mind – and come and experience a gathering of people who are passionate about God, who come together to praise and worship God (loud enough so you won’t feel embarassed if you hit a wrong note!), to bring our tithes and offerings before God, to experience the Word of God being taught (many pastors across the globe have brought a broad understanding) and to be informed of all the activities that take place during the week on our big screen (which makes it easier for all the congregation to see), to be welcomed by our friendly ushers, our children to be taught the Word (age appropriate) and to come and experience a live and vibrant Church!  And if it sounds like a rock concert … so be it. Heaven is going to be a lot louder.

    To close, be sure to find out from the Lord where He wants you to lock in, become planted, rooted and able to bear much fruit because ulitmately, we live our lives not for ourselves – but in service of our God who loved us so much that He gave His only Son, to die a terrible death, to take our punishment on Himself, so we can be free to live life as He purposed for us. Life abundantly.

    Life with a purpose – and a plan on how to get there, that’s what you get when you visit The Bay Christian Family Church.

    I look forward to seeing you there.
    Liza Pieters

  • Cidav14

    Hi Craig
    My experience too! But am now happily fellowshipping at Hillsong Church Somerset West. Come by and see if this may be the placle for you.

  • Krishna Govender

    Hi Craig

    We are all entitled to our own opinions however when we make public statements about things we have little or no knowledge about we end up confussing people who are also just seeking God. (Mathew 6:33 NKJV)

    As an ex member of a very conservative church myself, I know where you coming from.

    We need to know what God wants and what The Bible says.

    God is not moved by emotion but by Faith. Today everybody is looking for a way to serve God that fits into their lifestyle or schedule and this exactly what is not pleaseing to God.

    Search The Word of God and find out what the Bible says about Praise & Worship and the manner which pleases Him(God) when it comes to this area of a Saved Believers(Rom 10:9) life. Check out Rev 4:8-11

    My entire view and opinion has changed since then and as with the adulteres that was brought to Jesus to pass judgment on her being caught in the act, his response was and i direct this to you as well…He who has no sin, cast the first stone…Go and Sin no more.

    (SIN- when you MISS the mark)

    Have a blessed day

    Krishna Govender
    Believer, Soulwinner & Discipler for Our Lord Jesus Christ