I think I mentioned a while back that we were looking for a church home, again– uggggh!
Since we moved from the city, 5 years ago we are looking for church number 4. Generally, we are not church hoppers. Before this, we had been a part of 3 different congregations and each time there was a new church, it was, for the most part, because we moved.
1, We should have NEVER been a part of this church. They were unloving, unkind and ungracious for the most part. This is the church we were attending when LB came home from NJ. They were absolutely unsupportive and unloving where that was concerned as well. But even through that, I believe we were there for a reason… if nothing else, we helped put the new preacher and his family in an apt. for several weeks so he would not have to commute up weekly from Oklahoma (or Arkansas, can’t remember which one right now). Yep. This church would not even pay for or offer housing for the preacher they had just hired because the house they were building wasn’t done on schedule. We thought that stunk, so we did something about it, and we also recruited others that were not a part of the congregation to help.
2. The second church… we loved being there. But, it doctrinal differences came into play this time. And the final straw was God very clearly showing us that it was time to leave. "We are inherently good" was preached from the pulpit the last Sunday we were there. We are born sinful and only by the grace of God are we saved and as much as we wanted to, we could not stay after that happened.
3. The third church… we put down roots very quickly. We probably should have waited several more weeks, or months to place membership. As the year progressed, we found that the church was not what we thought it was. Actually, we saw some changes being made in their teaching that we did not feel was right. As we understand it, there were others that saw this too and some of those people have left as well.
So now here we are. We are visiting other churches. We have decided that somethings we thought were important, just aren’t that important. We have visited several different congregations, some in the city and some local. We have been in the country for 5 years and still don’t know many people in the community. So we thought it would be nice to overlook some things in an effort to find a church in the community.
We have visited everything from 30 member country churches, to a church that has 3 services on Sunday and felt more like a rock concert than worship.
The smaller churches are by far more friendly. One church we visited, nearly all the members came over during the greeting time and made us feel very welcomed. As opposed to the larger churches where the only people that spoke to use were the greeters. One was a home church that we really enjoyed, but it is very small.
One church we’ve now visited 4 times is about 15 minutes down the road. We went to the Christmas Eve service and enjoyed it and have been back every Sunday since then. We enjoy the worship very much and the sermons are doctrinally sound. There are probably 300-350 in attendance on Sunday morning which is the size of the church we attended when we were first married.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road though.
We walk in, the greeter greets us, hands Shane and I a bulletin, we find a place to sit down (we’ve sat in a different place every time). The first week, we saw our neighbors and had a nice visit and also visited with another family that I had met a few years ago, but other than that, no one has asked who we are or introduced themselves at all. Everyone talks and visits around us but NO ONE has spoken to us.
Basically, we have been invisible.
Today was a little different, several people commented about SC’s on the way out, but still no one seemed to care to know who we were or why we were there…
We are probably going to try one more week. They have had some tradgey in the last week. The Pastor’s daughter was in a terrible accident last weekend and died sometime this week. So he hasn’t even been there while we’ve visited. We understand this is a difficult time for the church, but wouldn’t you think someone would be curious about who we are?
There is one church on the KS side that we have both wanted to visit. It is a Sovereign Grace church. It is also about 1 1/4 hours away. And neither Shane nor I have been felt led to visit there yet.
The story continues….