Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Church


From the very beginning, we've felt that God would call us to a new church once we moved. On one hand, we loved the idea of worshiping in our community. On the other hand, we'd been at our church for most of our married life. It was our home. We were connected and loved, we respected our pastors and felt excited about the direction of the church.

We tried to tell ourselves that maybe we needed to let church be the same for a while; maybe our kids would benefit from something staying certain. The drive wasn't that far.

But it was clear to us - this was a package deal. It didn't make sense to us to live in one place and worship in another. We want to serve our community alongside a church family. We want "people" - close-by people. We have done it before, but it's harder for us to live connected, in close community, when there are too many miles between us.

I dreaded the thought of church shopping. It didn't help that there are about eighteen thousand churches in Goshen. We aren't particularly committed to a particular denomination.  We don't really have friends living over here to make recommendations.

We started to think hard about what means the most to us in a church. Aside from sound, Biblical teaching, what do we value most? Are we looking for a large church with plenty of opportunities to get involved? Do we want a vibrant kids' program? Top-notch communicators? A certain style of worship? Lots of young families with kids?

From the start, we knew it was likely that we would be happiest in a smaller church with some traditional elements.

That's pretty much all we had.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, we visited the church just two blocks down. The building is old, but not old enough to be cool. The congregation was a sea of white curls. Worship was a keyboard and two ladies with microphones; one of the songs we sang was one I hadn't heard in over twenty years. The pastor was soft-spoken, unassuming, not hip at all; yet he shared truth with conviction and wisdom. He spoke about sharing the Good News with the neighborhood - our neighborhood.

I relaxed into the hard-backed pew, wishing I could read Cory's mind, trying to decode his thoughts through the pressure of his hand around mine.

Through the hymn, through the Lord's prayer, my heart beat steady - Little is Much. This humble church with its retirees and potluck suppers, it might be just what we need. It might need us back.

It didn't make sense on paper, but not much of our life does anymore.

So this is where we've landed.

(We've never felt younger.)

How did you know that you'd found your church home? Is there a particular thing that tops your list? I'm way intrigued.