ASSISTANT TO THE SENIOR SERVANT: Dr. Jesse L. Wood

CONGREGATION SIZE: roughly 5,000

SERVICE LENGTH: 121 minutes

Number of choirs: 12

BONGO PLAYERS: 1

WORST WORSHIPPER DRESS : a New York Giants starter cap, oversized gray T-shirt, jeans, and Timberlands

CRYING TODDLERS: 3

CONGREGATIONAL FERVOR

During Wood’s sermon, one parishioner stood up and endorsed the pastor’s sentiments by repeating key words—a common outburst in Metropolitan’s sanctuary. The “phantom hug” from Christ is also popular among select congregants. Physical displays of devotion notwithstanding, the church’s Sunday pamphlet requests that congregants cool it during the invitation for discipleship. “This is a holy moment when people are making a decision that will affect their eternity. Please respect those making a decision for the Lord by limiting your movement during the invitation.”

4.5 stars

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Wood elaborated on Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Preaches Wood: “When I think of the plight and condition of humankind, the poverty that abounds in our world, I say to myself, ‘Is this verse really true? Do all things really work together for good?’” Ultimately, Wood tackled his doubts: “Some way, somehow, if you love God, he works it out.”

4 stars

FOOD FOR THE BODY

No beverages or snacks were on hand.

0 stars

OVERALL WORSHIPPOWER RATING

Credit Metropolitan Baptist for its MCI Center approach to churchgoing. A Jumbotron-like screen rests above the altar. And those who don’t want to sit in the pews can soak in the action on the building’s six other TV monitors.

3.5 stars

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery.