Thursday, July 14, 2011

To Tell the Truth . . . .

You may remember This Post - the one about church envy.  I thought I would share some recent experiences we've had visiting some churches.  See, after I posted that, I did more digging and we decided to visit a couple of local churches.  I mentioned the long drive we have currently and we happened to come across two churches that are much closer that we figured we would check out.  Summer is a great time for this, for us at least, because we are busy so many weekends that we end up with only 2-3 Sundays where we are available.  My husband plays in a Christian group and they have concerts 1-2 Sundays a month plus we've been other places than home! 

So, most recently (I will leave out all names!) we visited a church that was 16 minutes away.  I kinda pushed for this one because I checked out the website and was so excited with how wonderful the church sounded.  They said they had a mix of worship and traditional music, lots of activities, etc.  I mean, they made it sound perfect.  So, here's rule number one, Church, don't make your church something it isn't by playing it up on the website (to tell the truth . .. )  :-(  It is all traditional . . very traditional, actually.  I kinda have the "Three strikes your out" kind of idea when it comes to trying out churches . . .strike 1) 90% of the church folks were in their . . 80's.  Seriously!!  2) That Fellowship time - you know what I'm talking about, where everyone walks around and shakes hands.  I know you shouldn't say you hate anything about church so I'll just say that I de-test it!!  I don't know who thought it was a good idea, but it is not.  Well, this one lasted for a good 5 minutes, for real.  Even my husband, who is ok with the concept, made a comment about how long this went on.  3) The message - I won't get into it but have you ever sat through a sermon and were actually thinking that you aren't good enough to go to that church? Yep.  Not good!  It's pretty sad when you feel like you wasted an hour of your day . . ..

Prior to that we had attended a church that was 9 minutes away.  It was a church we had looked at years ago but they were without a pastor at the time.  We would have never thought about it except my Ultrasound tech (who became a friend) attends there and invited us to come by for a visit.  I had no real strikes for this church (except for the lady in front of me with dread locks - I keep waiting for the little cartoon worm/bugs to poke their heads out at me - yes, I'm odd like that).  The message was fantastic - I didn't even day dream :-)  The music was pretty good - there was traditional and than a great worship section.  They are just introducing this concept - but it was still a great part of the service.  The people were friendly and there were a lot of young couples.  One thing that is different is that all of the kids (babies too!) stay in the church until the (ready . . wait for it . . ) the fellowship time (ha!)  Than, you take your kids to the nursery.  At first, I was taken aback but than realized, I had just finished reading "Parenting in the Pew" - what better way to start this than by keeping the kids in for like 10 minutes of the service??  I'm really not sure how my 18 month old will do - he is an energizer bunny - but if nothing else, I wouldn't have to sit through the fellowship time!!

So, right now, it will be mid-August before we end up back in a local church - between concerts, a family reunion, and some other special plans.  I'm thinking we may check out the first church again and than we'll decide what we want to do - keep driving the long distance, or maybe aim for something closer - something easier to be involved in and have our kids involved in . . .sometimes change is hard, but sometimes change is needed.  


The Carters said...

It's so hard finding a new church. When we moved to MN it was really hard because we grew up Southern Baptist and they're aren't really any of those up here!! We finally found one that is pretty close to what we're used to but it still isn't quite the same.
Good luck!

Jenn said...

I'm sorta in the same boat. I moved 3k miles from home and really need to set out to find something that feels like 'home'.

Glad I'm not the only one who has a difficult time trying out churches.

everything.beautiful said...

Finding a new church is just not fun. We changed churches 3 years ago. 3 years at a different church and it still never felt like home. We ended up back at our original church. I guess I'm learning this. No church is perfect because they are made of imperfect people - including, and especially - me. You have to give on some things unless you want to do the alternative - become a Pastor :) Which - yeah - the way people act? No thanks! Anyway - just keep trying and praying and remembering that no place is going to be exactly what you would like. Good luck!