|That Bible is turned to my favorite verse. 1 Peter 3:15|
It happens every time we move... church hunting.
I grew up in the Assemblies of God. So did my mom. Her dad was a member. In fact I learned that my great-grandmother was one of the early AG attenders on the west coast. I am the 4th generation, my kids are the 5th. There is a heritage to be proud of. So when it is time to PCS and find a new church we start looking at the Assembly of God churches.
We are dedicated church attenders. We get plugged in. We find places to volunteer. We tithe. We get connected. We build our support system. We learn and worship and fellowship. I believe a personal relationship with Christ is what makes a difference in a person, but the fellowship and guidance of a church is important to the growth of a Christian life. So... we need a church!
In the interim of leaving our home church at our previous base until we find a new church home that fits, we feel lost. There's no safe place. The whole time we are trying out new churches I don't feel the ability to relax.
I'm wondering what their children's ministries are like and are my kids enjoying themselves? Are they learning or just playing?
I find myself critical of the worship services: how do they sing, how good is the music, how well is the sound mixed (too loud? unbalanced?), do they sing current songs or old school or a variety? Is it dragging on or too repetitive? Can we get into the worship?
How are the people here? Are they welcoming? Would we be able to blend in this congregation? Are there Sunday School classes or small groups to help us grow? Is this a large church with many ministries and plenty of people involved? Is this a rather small church where people are pulling double and triple duty? Is it just a medium size where we can easily get involved?
What's the pastor like? How is his preaching? Is he old school Pentecostal with the yelling and pulpit pounding and the jumping around? Is he more laid back and presents more like a lecture? Is it interesting or boring? Am I actually learning anything?
Can the spirit of God be felt? Is this church actively seeking the Lord? What is their view on missions?
Lots of questions. A lot to take in.
We have been trying to find a church close by (within about 20 minutes drive with reasonable traffic). We decided that if we couldn't find an AG church to settle on we would start looking at Foursquare churches. Then probably Church of Christ. From there I'm not sure what we would be searching out.
At times I wish we could pick and choose the best parts from former church homes. The close-knit feeling of our Japan church, the growth and ministry opportunities of our New Mexico church, the preaching and teaching of our Ohio church.
It's just hard. We are never going to find the perfect church. It seems that with each assignment it takes us longer to find where we belong. In Japan it was the first church besides the base chapel we tried out. In New Mexico it was the 2nd church we tried out. In Ohio it was the 3rd or 4th church we tried out. Now here we are in Texas and we've checked out probably 6 different churches.
But I think we finally settled. There is one church we've gone to about 3 times inter-mixed with the other churches we've gone to. We were finally able to experience a "normal" service with the senior pastor speaking and actually enjoyed it.
After picking up the kids from their classes when service was over, William made some comments to me. He said, "I wanna keep coming to this church everyday," and then "no more going to other churches."
He got to me. This is important for him too, and Alanna. The church seems to have a strong children's ministry and my kids like it there. Ryan and I were pleased with the preaching style and presentation and life application the pastor brought forth. Some things are to be desired, but there is no perfect church. We were being spiritually fed, our kids were being spiritually fed. There are ways to get connected... so I think we finally found our new church home.