In between spending time with our relatives and the sightseeing these two weeks, our family spent two Sundays worshipping God with His people in Friendship Church Taipei.
They are a Reformed Presbyterian, PCA-supported church located in the heart of Taipei's University district that exist “for the glory of God and the good of Taipei”. Currently, Dennis Brown is the lead pastor and Jason Truell is the Associate Pastor. The congregation is very culturally diverse with South Americans, Asians, Africans, Europeans – in fact we seemed like the anomalies, culturally speaking (“Oh New Zealand? That's like Australia isn't it?”) We certainly got a bigger vision of God's Kingdom!
Both Sundays we were blessed with good preaching, warm fellowship and were convicted by the gospel to shape our parenting and the nature of our relationships. Some things I noticed and appreciated from the service leading point of view:
- The service leader (seemed like an elder each time) was clear and concise in explaining what to do next. The use of responsive readings were done well and placed in a sensible flow (I think they use the Praise, Renewal and Commitment Cycle described by Tim Keller).
- Musicians led a balance of older hymns/refrains and contemporary songs. As a visitor from across the world, it was easier to participate during the hymn singing (though most of the contemporary songs had good lyrics). Instrumentation was simple (guitar, vocals, some hand percussion) yet effective.
- They take up the offering after the sermon (as part of the church's response to the preached Word, committing to the work of the gospel). That seems to have the advantage of communicating that our giving is worship in response to what God has done through Christ.
Other random thoughts:
- Great website (seems like it was redone at the start of 2013). We discounted a few other churches that had hard-to-find or no information on their website. For most people, their first impression of a church comes from their website. You might as well not have a witnessing presence if no one can find you online.
- We love our family here, but it is a real refreshment to be able to step into a church in a foreign country, and immediately know and celebrate a common love of Jesus with saints from all over the world. “Surely God is among you!”
- Taipei needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I'm so thankful that there is a solid, Christ-proclaiming church here.
If you're looking for an English speaking church in Taipei that's evangelical and gospel centered, I would highly recommend Friendship Taipei.