Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Huntin' We Will Go....





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....

D-

11 comments:

JT said...

good post... I'm interested in the feedback as well :)

JT said...

oh that was jenn Danni... I changed to just my initials... hehehe

you know what else is funny... the word verification below is "out men" hehehe :)

Nadine said...

I'm glad you found a new home you all like. It's good to be connected.

Just so you know you are dearly missed. I love you guys.

Nikki said...

Great post Danni. Your questions are ones that I don't believe have easy answers but should be wrestled through by every believer. We too easily take a wonderful church body for granted when really it's such a blessing.
In response to one of your questions, I think I am learning that to choose to be in a body where you can serve first will lead to being ministered to. It is through service that I have learned so much about my own flawed character and the character of God.
I'm glad you guys have found a place. Love you!~Nikki

a woman who is said...

I just took a peek at your new church home...coffee tables...yay that looks like a very good start. I would like to take a stab at some of your questions. I have found church shopping a complicated matter myself. I have asked all those questions and more. I really don't think there is any one question that should be asked, but I do think this. There are seasons in our lives as we all know. A time for everything...right. So the real question is what season are we in, and what is right for this season. I think the kid season is a big factor in where you are at. At your stage in life, I wouldn't worry so much about the high end serving factor. Seriously a mom of four children, her middle name is "servant of all." Go for what works for you and your family for this season. And as your seasons change...ie middle school and high school years, don't be afraid to let the kids needs be of top priority then. Of coarse the most important factor of all is relationships. That after all is what the body of Christ needs to be most dependent on. Not how much we can give or get, but how we can all learn to get along and serve together in unity. It makes a powerful statement to the world and to our children as they observe the church at work. As you know when our kids were teens, we just gave and gave of all that we had. God provided the energy and the desire because it was His plan at that time. You and Jason will know what that is for your family in each season as it comes. Your pictures by the way on your side bar are so beautiful...so much light coming physically and spiritually from all of you. You are greatly missed, but I can see you are blooming where God is planting you for now!

Madison Richards said...

Well, The Bridge misses you too... but we are excited FOR you on your new adventure!

Keep hunting for all things GOD!!

Shadraq said...

I agree with what "A Woman Who Is" said..

I think that allowing your kids to be comfortable and excited about going to church is important. Kids have better filters than adults, often. They see more. They will usually let you know what is good and what is unhealthy.

When it comes to serving or being ministered to, Im' a big fan of seasons. What season is it? If you just came out of a long serving season, chances are that Father wants to send you into a season of just being poured into. You can only give so much before you run out...

I kind of look at it like when someone offers to pay for the tab. I usually let them. I'm not going to fight over it. If they want to bless me, why should I toss it back in their face? It's the same with Father, if he wants to bless me and minister to me, why should I toss it back in his face and say, "No God, I'm here to serve you." Sometimes he just wants to wash our feet for a while.

Well those are my thoughts, such as they are

Demara said...

hmm...ya we haven't "really" been planted per say at a "home" church yet as a couple.

Jeff's church is gone, "fell apart" and mine is too "big".

So we wait for God to bring people to us, that will invite us to their church.

You had a lot of questions there. All I know is that I want church to be a place of worship, value, and love.

I don't want to feel pressured or judged if I miss a Sunday or a few Sundays. I like there to be activities to do outside the church. I hate that the "church" is so stuck to a "building". I wish there was a "hiking" outdoors church we could attend. So that we could worship God out in his "garden" of creation. Like the "Garden of Eden" where Adam and Eve stood naked before God and eachother. Not that I would want to attend a nudist church by any means, just that figuratively we could stand naked with our sin on a plate, saying here God, here brothers and sisters, these are my issues can you still love me?

I think that would be the perfect "church".

I'm glad you found one, that you think you may like. :)

emily johns said...

I am glad you found a church that you like, and that your children enjoy. I agree with all the comments above. I think you really have to focus on what is best for your family. You are setting such a wonderful example to your kids of what your priorities are by allowing your faith to be the most central part of your lives. You are such a good example to me as well!

Our situation is a little different in that we always have our specific church to go to, but then our struggle is trying to figure out how to "fit in" so that it works for us. I think we've finally figured it out here in WI :) Wow I miss talking to you! You guys look like you are doing great, your kids are beautiful. Hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

Danni,

I just realized you had posted a link to our site when you were talking about church shopping.

Sounds like you have a lot of friends with various bits-n-pieces of loving advice!:)

I didn't know that your church back in Oregon was The Bridge! Is that the one you were at - the one in Portland?

We met them at a few "ooze" gatherings. God was really at working reaching out into the the streets through their ministry.

Anyway - just wanted to drop in and say that we are thankful that God has led you, Jason, and your beautiful family to share life with us. It is a gift and a joy to gather, worship, serve, and love with you.

And tell Kylee (sp?) thank you again for singing happy b'day to me yesterday. Todd

jenn said...

i love your blog, friend! :-) and i'm so very glad we met you at The Well. You and everyone in your family are such a blessing to us. Much love!!