Thursday, August 11, 2011

Churchy church

After much searching, we think that we've found a church that we will stay at for a while.  Though, we've thought this before...but you have to save a little room for hope.  I hope we've found a church that we will stay at for awhile.

This is a church in our neighborhood...but not our church.

The past few years of searching has been an interesting ride.  We've gone to several different churches for several months at a time, worshiped in styles different than what we were used to (we're not just talking about music here people), and met many people that we still know (or, at least, on social media).  We've learned a lot.  Ultimately, positive things aside, we are looking for a church to call home.

But what are the essentials of finding a church?  What are merely details?  There is a fine line, for some.
Here are some things that people might look for in a church (which would you say are essential?):
  • A pastor/priest/vicar/etc that preaches/teaches the Gospel.  From the Bible.
  • Good fellowship.
  • Theological agree-ability (like, do you think infants should be baptized, dedicated, or left in the nursery? how uncomfortable will it make you if you attend a church that does things differently than you would?)
  • Having a pastor
  • Having a pastor that recognizes that (s)he hasn't met you yet (or, is it a deal breaker if there is the "(s)"?)
  • Ways to get involved in the church community (missions, Bible studies, outreach, Sunday School etc)
  • Style agree-ability (liturgical, or not? contemporary or traditional? dress or jeans?)
  • Friendly people
  • Variety in generations/age groups/stages of life (will it bother you if there are no families in the church? or if there are no single people? etc)
  • close to home ( long does it take you to get to church?  can you walk?)
  • Age of the church (would you rather go to a church plant or one that's been around for 100+ years?)
  • Size of the church (not the building per se, though that might be important too...but the number of people)
  • Is it a thriving church?  Or one that can use some work?
  • Does it provide opportunities to be mentored?  To mentor others?
  • What time does church start?  How many services are offered?
We've thought through some of these more than others.  Sometimes you can have a list of essentials, or what you think are essentials, but then just have a feeling about a place.  Sometimes the feeling is wrong.

Sorry for such generalities, but I honestly don't know who reads this blog.  I don't want to incriminate any of the churches that we no longer attend (over the past 5 years we've regularly attended an E-free church, a Southern Baptist church, a Mennonite leaning church (well, it didn't really have a pastor/denomination, but a lot of the folks who attended came from that flavor, so that was the style), and an Anglican church).  Make whatever judgements you want, though most of our reasons for no longer attending these churches have little to do with the denomination (well, for the most part).  Having grown up Conservative Baptist (Steve) and Evangelical Covenant (me), you can see that each one of these would have something different than what we were used to.   

Over the summer, we have been attending this church.  So far, we really like it!  They preach from the Bible, there are many generations of people that attend, the style is sort of middle of the road (not too this, not too that), the people are friendly, the pastor is friendly, there seem to be many ways to be involved (more so when the school year starts), they are involved in missions, they are thriving, etc etc etc!

I guess it really comes down to is, why do we go to church in the first place?  How does this drive our expectations?   Is it ok to be picky about a church, or should we just suck it up and attend one...and get involved so that we can create the culture we're looking for?  Or a mix of both?

Alright.  This is long-winded. I really just wanted to announce that we've found a church that we like.

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