Interesting Pages You should look at

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Church - home?

My family has called the church home for fifteen years.  About two years ago I felt that we were being called to leave.  No way.  I didn’t think I would ever leave my church home.  I had rolled with the changes, met hundreds of new people, accepted new staff, and served in many capacities.  I prayed.  I prayed hard.  Then about eighteen months ago I knew without a doubt that it was time to leave.  It was a sad choice, and devastating to my children.  They have been members of this church since before they were conceived.  They did not take the news lightly.  After explaining what God had laid on my heart, they understood, but still did not like it.  My oldest daughter despises change.  My son really didn’t like the decision and tried to talk me out of it.  Baby girl just took my arguments and made them her own.

In November of 2012 we started searching.  We tried a few churches near us.  We tried a few that aren’t too close.  My number one criterion was that they had an Awana program.  We tried every church within 25 miles of the house that had an Awana program – and spoke English.  Turns out that I had to add a second criteria – it must be in English.

We tried both on Sundays and also on Wednesdays.  Most were tried only once before we realized that it was not a good fit for us. 

What does the church believe in? 
Do they believe that the Bible is the inspired, inherent, infallible word of God?  John 17:17
Do they believe your salvation can be lost?  John 10:29
Do they believe that your salvation is works based?  Eph 2:9
Do they have a strong children's/students ministry?  We are in enough groups, I want a ministry for my children.  Do they believe that scripture memory is important?  Why?  Psalm 119:11
How do the students behave in Sunday school and worship?  Are they on their phones and chit chatting or worshipping and learning?  1 Sam 15:23
How do the pastors wife and children behave during service?  Are they bored and fiddling, or participating?  Do his children act up or are they good examples?  Proverbs 20:11  What about his wife? 1 Tim 2:9

December of 2012 we tried my neighbor’s church.  It was ok.  I don’t particularly like trying a church on a ‘weird’ Sunday.  You don’t really get a good feel for how things really are and what they believe in.  In the spring we went back 2 more times.  Then we tried one of the other campuses.  Not for us.  All of my children’s lives we have served, gone to Sunday school and then service (change the order sometimes).  This church does not have Sunday school.  They do small groups at different people’s homes.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with this but how am I supposed to get to know the leaders/home owner if I am not seeing them around church?  The way it would work for me is:  Go to church in the morning, banjo in the afternoon.  After banjo practice  I would need to run my son to group, take my older daughter to group, then have 20 minutes before having to pick them both up.  Well, someone would always be late or way early and Baby Girl would not have a group to go to.  I’m sure she could sit in with sister, but she is getting really tired of doing that all the time.  On top of all of that, I am getting no group time for myself.  I could never host either.  Maybe it sounds selfish, but I like grown up study time.  This would only work for us in Sunday school.  Then I found out that we didn’t believe all the same stuff. 

Another one bites the dust.

Back to the drawing board.  Now we have 3 Awana programs and I don’t care if our new church home has Awana or not.  I am just ready to settle down.  We tried a few more, with no luck.   Halloween 2013, I was talking to a friend who was doing the same thing.  She was attending a church I was avoiding.  The only reason I had not gone to this particular church is because everyone who was leaving our old home church was going there.  I didn’t want to go somewhere and just be comfortable.  God does not call us to just be comfortable – Matt 7:21, James 1:22 et al.  I told my friend I would think about it and let her know.  A few weeks later I caved.  I was nearly out of options.  We decided to go on a week when my change hatter was out of town.  Both my son and Baby Girl loved it and wanted to go back.  We returned the following week.  When my big girl got back she joined us – apprehensively.  We have not moved out membership, but after attending 4, maybe 6, times now, it is the only other option.  Other than returning to our original church. 
Today confirmed to me that this is a good option for us.  After Sunday school this morning, I met all three of my children down in ‘big church.’  I always sit front and center.  I am too easily distracted, so I always sit as close to the front as possible.  Typically the front row of any church is open, so I made that my home.  I happen to sit in the ‘teen group’ by doing this.  I love that they all congregate front and center. 

First song of the new year – O happy day.  I love that song.  I have heard it a million times in children's church.  There are even motions that goto it.  It did my heart good to stand there singing an uplifting song and seeing a bunch of teens doing these silly motions – boys and girls!  I was smiling so much on the inside that my eyes started to sweat.  It gave me such a feeling of ‘home’ that I think I am ready to switch my membership. 

I still had a few questions for the pastor.  I was thinking about approaching him after the service to ask him a few.  Maybe set up a meeting instead.  I didn’t quite know which and I surely didn’t want to come across as rude pushy.  God knew my heart.  If you keep the lines of communication open with Him, He will give you the desires of your heart Psalm 37:4.  Well, I don’t think that there is a need to meet with him anymore.  During the service he answered more than half of my questions – just in the sermon. 

I love those Sundays when you know that you are in the right service.  God is right there speaking to you from the pulpit.  Today was one of those days.  I miss those sermons, although I look forward to hearing many more of those.

No comments:

Post a Comment