Saturday, April 18, 2015

Church hunting

I grew up in church.  Every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night.  I married a man who went to another denomination but he was just as actively involved.  Our kids have been raised going to church every week, too.  My relationship with Christ is very important to me.  I thrive in good worship, good teaching, sweet friendships and opportunities to serve in ministry.

Eight months ago our family began searching for a new church home.  We hated to leave our old church, but our season there had come to an end.

We first visited a Methodist church that was great but it was the very first place we visited, so we hated to make a snap decision based on one visit.  Our son wasn't 'sold' on it either, so we just kept moving on.

Then we visited a very packed large Baptist church.  It was too big, too crowded....and my husband wasn't sold on the atmosphere of it.  So we kept looking.

We visited a charismatic non-denominational church that was a nice size, but that was about the only good thing we could say for it.  No one was rude or mean or was just way too much...everything...for us.

We visited a lovely, sweet little congregation at a community church (non-denominational) which endeared themselves to us really quickly, but after 2-3 weeks of visits, we knew it wasn't a good fit for us long-term.  There were maybe 10 kids total (birth through 18) and the vast majority of the 65 people who were there were over 60.  It just didn't seem like the right place for a family who has kids that need a youth group.

We visited a local Church of Christ that didn't suit us as well.  We're not really connected to the traditions involved at a Church of Christ, so it really wasn't a good fit for us.  But I must say, there were a thousand super-sweet white haired men & ladies who were very friendly.  I think we talked to each one of them individually for 15 minutes before we left the building at 3:00 PM.  The service was over at 11.  (big grin--just kidding!)

We visited a non-denominational church about 15 minutes from home for several months and fell in love.  We thought we'd finally found our home, but then discovered that our daughter, who very much needs relationships & activity & the social side of a youth group was not really getting that at this church.  The only youth involvement she had was on Sunday morning (because the Wed night group freaked her out & was not a good fit for her) and it just wasn't cutting it.  Our son refused to go to any of the youth stuff because there were no boys his age & it felt very uncomfortable to him.  So after about four months of feeling 'at home' in every other way, we left with our tails between our legs.  We had already fallen in love with the pastor, the worship time, the small-town country feel....but it just wasn't the right place.  {I'm positive that if we didn't have kids that we needed to find a place for, Larry & I would've joined & stayed forever.}

After leaving, we went back to the Methodist church we had visited first just to have a place to go for a couple weeks while we decided what to do next.  I am thankful for so many connections around town so it is simple to slip in the doors of so many churches & sit in on a service.  We live in a the smallest big town I know of.  Lots of connections at dozens of churches, so there are plenty of places we could visit.  Samuel's feelings had not changed about this church, so we knew we weren't staying but it was a good place to fill the gap for a couple weeks.

We visited a satellite campus of a very large Baptist church next.  It was very, well...Baptist.  Don't worry.  It's okay.  I can say that.  I grew up in a southern Baptist church.  It didn't fit us at all.  Between the attack-greeters with stick on name tags at the door when  you walk in and the off-beat hokey music and the simulcast preaching from the bigger campus in just didn't feel right.

We then visited a local Assembly of God church for 2 or 3 weeks & while I loved it, I think that's mostly because I know almost the entire church already and it just felt very comfortable for me.  My son, however, said he couldn't put into words exactly how he felt....just that this was not a place he'd ever get comfortable.  He has since given us a list of things he wants to see in a church & pretty much none of those things are fulfilled at this AG church, so we're journeying on.

Tomorrow morning, we're visiting another Baptist church.  I've watched some of their services online.  It looks good & I think it might be a good fit.  We have a number of friends who go there.  But I'm long past being able to predict what the rest of the family will think.  I'm just crossing my fingers & praying.

Honestly, as long as they teach the four basic beliefs of Christianity, I don't care what the sign out front says.  Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentacostal Holy Ghost-filled, Conservative Lutheran, non-denominational, Assembly of God, Church of Christ.........whatever.  I'll sign up & get my free toaster with any church if we can just find a place to get involved that everyone is happy.  {By the way, those 4 things are the virgin birth, Christ's atoning death, the resurrection & the 2nd coming.  Everything else is just fluff.}

I'm tired. 
I'm ready to be done hunting. 
I'm ready to settle in, get connected, get involved in serving & ministering. 
I'm weary of the search. 
I miss those close relationships & connection. 
I miss having a church to call my own. 
None of us are made for this lone ranger Christian thing. 
I need community & fellowship & accountability & solid teaching on a regular basis.

Pray for us?

No comments: