Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I've never had to "hunt" for a church. Granted, I've been a voice in the decision before, but the final decision has never rested mostly on my shoulders. When I was younger, I went where my parents went. When Jason and I were newly married, the transition from my parents church to his was natural. For nine years, we were happy, content, challenged, blessed, stretched, and HOME at The Bridge.
Enter: "the move." Honestly, I think leaving The Bridge, the amazing friends we had there and our superb pastors (Tom and Nadine) was one of the hardest things we had to do. But, we knew God was calling us, wooing us, moving us. It was clear.
So, we left our home and ventured to the great state of South Carolina. Thus began the hunting journey. We tried a couple different churches. Big and small; crazy and not-so-crazy! They all had different, unique "feels." None were "bad," but neither did they feel like "home."
We were given a word from a woman I admire and respect deeply before we left. "You are being given a new set of tools to use in SC. Don't look for the familiar, don't depend on the familiar." Hmmmm....what could this mean. How would it apply to churches. Were we to find ourselves in a huge, traditional, conservative church? Were we to not look for the "home" feeling? How would we know...when would we know?
A few months were spent at a big (Really, really big) church. It was annointed, it was moving with the Spirit, both Jason and I were ministered to, but for some reason we never felt it was right. This led me to think - what is important in "church." What is essential; what should or should not effect the decision; what are is just a matter of preference? Can you, should you, allow your kids comfort at church to be a factor, and how big of one? Do you look for a place where you can be ministered too, or is it more improtant to find a place where you can serve? Can there be a healthy balance of both? Can you compromise on some things - or on nothing? I'd be interested to hear other's feedback on these questions...?!
We have found a place - we feel like God is moving there, like the pastor has God's attention, and that God is excited about where He is taking this church. It is somewhat familiar - it looks like The Bridge, but in so many ways is so very different. The kids (even Caleb) enjoy going - they love Sunday school and are quickly making friends. I am being challenged in the concept of an organized, official denomination again...who would have thought!? We know this is where God has landed us for now, there is peace and great anticipation...that's gotta be good, right?
I still miss the Bridge - a lot! But, for everything, there is a season....and God designs each one to be beautiful and fruitful...
Until next time....