We are in prayer about what to do about yesterday's sermon. It is very disheartening. We have been at our present church home for about 1 1/2 years. A few months ago, we suspected that they were moving in a direction that we didn't care to go (been there done that, thank you very much and definately don't care to do it again– maybe a future blog?).
Since the age-integrated church (AIC) closed it's doors 3 years ago we feel like we have been church hopping. It has been unsettling for us and especially the for the children. We haven't been doing this on purpose. We were at the AIC from the time we moved back to Missouri about 10 years ago. (long story, but Shane stepped in to preach after some significant attacks from Satan–the remaining group was never able to get past those things). For several months during the transition time from the AIC, the children and I (and Shane as he was able) attended a very loving church, which we needed because we had been beaten down They loved us so very much and they were significant in our road to healing, but for several reasons, we knew it would not be our permenant church home. Then, we attended a great congregation, Biblical preaching, and wonderful people, but our house sold and we decided it would be too far to drive from the country. (45 minutes or so doesn't look so far now).
So began the search again. We found a little country church about 20 minutes down the road and began attending. The were in between preachers and Shane stepped in to help out. One man had been doing this for about a year, so Shane took every other week and gave the other fellow a reprieve. There were several things wrong at this church, but Shane did not feel like we could leave until they hired a permenant preacher. We were there for right at a year. Looking back, that was probably 11 months longer than we should have been there. But life is a learning process, isn't it?
We had some friends (that had previously been a part of AIC before we moved back to MO) that had been telling us of thier church for some time. Finally, we were free to go. 30 minutes drive time away for us, but well worth the trip after the last experience. The preaching wasn't very thought provoking, but there wasn't anything wrong with it and we felt we could live with it. The songs were a mix of thought provoking hymns and praise choruses, (no crazy repeating over and over). The people were very loving and we finally felt like we belonged somewhere. We placed membership. When we did so, we talked with the elders about bringing our children into the adult SS class when they were a little older–no problem for them and away we went.
Then God started convicting us on backstepping some of our previous convictions. And at the first of the year we started backing out of SS and Wed. night Bible class, and some of the other things we had been doing. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think we have been treated differently since that time. It's also very hard to feel connected when you attend one time a week for worship service.
For a few months, the sermons have been getting closer to the edge. Powerpoint has seemed to take precidence over preaching (cute little “Jesus” cartoon characters) and near panic if PP wasn't working right. And several other smaller issues that you really only find out once you become a part of a congregation.
And then yesterday. . . we got out so fast that our rears were hardly cooled off by the time we sat down in the van. By the end of the sermon, there was smoke coming out of my ears and hubby was quietly steaming. He can “fake it” but he knows me well –he knows I don't hide my feelings very well, and that he would possibly have a mess to clean up if we didn't move quickly. He is the patient, “think about what we need to do” one in the family. Oh, I know we need to pray and consider our options before He speaks, my mouth just has a hard time agreeing with the rest of me (but I am learning).
So now what? Believe it or not, we are not looking for the “perfect” church. We know that can never be–no perfect people, no perfect church. However, there are some issues that are uncompromisable (is that a word?) to us. Then there are things that would be nice, but not necessary. We made a list when we began looking after AIC closed, but it's harder to find a church home when you live in a small town, and there are limited choices.
Fortunately, this time we are not left totally in the cold. We have been attending a study on Wednesday nights, at an almost AIC Reformed Baptist church, going through Pilgrim's Progress. Reformed doctrine is VERY new to us, but if it's time to leave our present church home, we do have somewhere to go for the time being; however for several reasons, we don't believe at this point it could be our church home. For one, it is outside the denomination that Shane has a 4 generation heritage with (his grandparents would be devestated). God has grown us so much over the last 2 years– that we really don't fit in any denomination, if we ever did. I'm not even sure I could describe our beliefs.
We don't feel that we can home church by ourselves, and if we have other join us, we feel that we need Biblically qualified leadership, for the same reason, we don't feel lead to begin a church either.
Father God, please give Shane wisdom and direction in this situation. Show him what do do. Give the children and I peace. Continue to lead us and guide us down the path you have ordained for us. In Jesus holy and blessed name. Amen