My husband had been attending the same church for five years and when we met, I joined him there. This church was everything I had ever imagined church could be.
The people were friendly, warm, encouraging, spiritually seeking, followers of Christ, and most of all....our friends.
Then the pastor decided the church needed to disband. The church had not grown as he had hoped and he needed to move on, he said.
It was a shock but not necessarily a surprise.
While I understood the pastor's need to move on with his life and find what he was seeking, I have to tell you, I was at a complete loss about what this all meant for me and my family. Now what? Where do we begin? How do we begin?
There we were, beginning a journey that none of us were thrilled about....looking for a new church community.
Looking for a church that would feed our spirits, a church that met up or came close to our values, and most importantly where we would feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I am here to tell you, looking for a church is a very difficult and emotionally draining job. I akin it to becoming an island in a sea of people. That's it....we were an island.
While we had visited several churches, none of them made the island feel like it could rest easy in the sea of spirituality.
Many churches today begin their service with worship. While that is important, I am fearful things have gone too far.
The worship times we experienced felt more like a concert and very little like worship. They were loud and showy, in my opinion. I kept asking myself...."are these people here to worship God and get to know Him or to be entertained?"
It felt like entertainment to me. Apparently, this form of worship was not for me.
We needed a plan!
After much deliberation, these are the things we decided we needed to be using during our search.
1. Pray Together
It allowed us to feel connected to one another, and to God, as we realized we were all feeling many of the same things.
2. Talk Together
We had many discussions about what was most important to us in a church.
3. Make a List
Knowing what you are looking for is half the battle. .
Go in with an open, mindful mind. Just experience the moments....you can process and critique afterwards.
5. Process Together
Listening to one another is essential! Remember, your feelings and experience don't have to match but they will help in the process of figuring what you desire in a church.
We had been looking for a little over two months and I was getting exhausted.
Just the thought of getting up and visiting another church left me wanting to pull the covers back over my head and stay in bed (I did exactly THAT a time or two).
I am so grateful that the Lord urged me and my family to get up and visit the next church and the next church, and the next.
We got up one more time and made our way to the next visit.
We had been praying for direction and on the way to the visit, we prayed yet again.
We parked in the parking lot, walked up to the doors and were immediately greeted by several people who said good morning.
The church was a buzz with talking people. The energy could be felt...almost tangible. We took our seats and did the typical look around. So many different types of people!
We enjoyed the worship (still a bit too concert-y feeling for me but hey, sometimes you just have to compromise) Could this be 'the one'? The pastor's talk was like sitting down with him and having a conversation over a cup of coffee...or tea since I am not a coffee drinker. I'm listening God....I think I hear You wooing me to this family of believers.
After the service, talked with several other members of the church. This feels good!!
Contemporary, friendly, spirit led churches DO exist.
I know this because I believe we have found that church.
That church where we can be fed and led, where we can grow spiritually, relationally and emotionally.
Where we can form friendships that will last a life time!
I think the search is over and the sea has wrapped its loving arms around the island, embracing it and ,once again, it belongs and is not alone.
I believe prayer is powerful and answered.
I am thankful!