Its More Than a Building

Sunday, April 01, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

ChurchI don’t know who Ashley is but I want to give her a high-five.

Today marked the first Sunday in our journey of finding a new church home.  I’d mentioned that we were leaving in last week’s post, and being the transparent, open person that I am, I decided that I need to write about this process.  Even for no other reason than to chronicle this time in our life.  I can’t wait to look back at this some day and see what has transpired.

Because today was eye-opening, to say the least.

As Jon and I prayed about this decision and felt the clear go-ahead, we started writing our list of churches we wanted to try.  Our list sits at four churches, one of which is a Baptist church.  (Color me surprised! I’ve never considered myself Baptist material before.)  Our goal is to visit each church for a month, enough time to get a really good feel for the church, for the people, for the pastors, for all of it.  In our minds, one Sunday is not enough, simply because there could be a guest pastor or a special presentation.

So that’s our plan.

I can’t begin to express the roller coaster of emotions that we’re feeling.  From the sadness of leaving our home church, to the excitement of what lies ahead.  From feeling confident and secure in the people we’ve gone to church with for years, to insecurity and unfamiliarity as we become the “visitors”.  From moments of doubt and fear, to feelings of knowing that we’re being stretched.  Even this morning, Jon turned to me and said, “This feels weird.  I feel like a real grown-up now.”  And I laughed nervously because I knew exactly what he meant.

We’ve gone to church with my parents, sisters, their families, and Jon’s dad for years now.  Its been hard to pick up and leave a place where we’ve been known as my parents’ daughter or Dave’s son or even as one of the sisters.   Its was comfortable.  And security.  But on our  drive to church this morning, a new revelation came over me. 

I turned to Jon, “I didn’t realize this during our discussions and prayers about leaving, it wasn’t even on my radar.  But now that we’ve left, I’m suddenly realizing how important its going to be for us to have our own identity as a family.  Its going to be just us six.  And I think that’s a good thing.”  He squeezed my hand across the console and said, “I’ve just been thinking the same thing.” (We’re in sync, he and I.)

And so there we sat.  In a new sanctuary.  New people.  New ways of doing things.  Some of the changes were easier to take than others.  Walking up front to receive communion was harder for Jon than myself.  We took harder and longer looks at their belief, mission, and vision statements.  Things that we’d rarely paid attention to in the past, were suddenly of utmost importance.  We gauged how the Littles felt about their classes. 

I have no idea where we’ll end up.  I just know that we want a church that is firmly planted in the Word, in the Truth.  A place that will feed us, that will encourage us in our relationships with God.  A place that isn’t concerned about making you comfortable, but telling you the things that you need to hear the most.  A place that realizes that a church is not about a building or something you “do” on Sundays.  A place where we can plant ourselves and be of service, to be examples of Christ to each other, to our neighbors, to our community.  A place where our Littles will take steps towards their own mature faith in God.  Its no small thing to move from one body of Christ to another, and we want to be 100% confident that we’ll land where God wanted us.

I think we’re off to a good start.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

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Angie
AUTHOR
3:32 PM delete

I will be praying for you & your family Jenn, on this new and utmost important journey to find a new church. I absolutely LOVE our church, and it was not the church I grew up in. Joshua and I started going after we were engaged and I know my faith and walk with Jesus has grown immensely because of that decision. I have no reservations or hesitations bringing/dropping Kal off, and I truly look forward to all our time there.
I hope you can find this and all your yearning for as well!
I love that drawing - I would definitely give Ashly a high five ;)

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Elle
AUTHOR
11:45 PM delete

Prayers for your family! I was born and raised Catholic so I'm not really aware of the transition process. If you don't mind me asking, what denomination was your church before? Is there a special process for becoming Baptist or any of the other churches you have on your "list?" I'm sure He will provide for your family and guide you in the right direction. Best of luck! :)

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Amanda
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10:24 AM delete

I love this post. I LOVE that you are looking for a church that will tell you what we all NEED to hear not just the warm, fuzzy stuff.

I also understand your need to just be yourself in a church. We have been attending the same church my husband grew up in and his dad still attends and my parents & siblings attend. The identity of our small family seems lost to me. Sadly though we visited the other churches in our area and at that time nothing else felt right either. I know a few of them are undergoing some staff changes so maybe again one day we will try again.

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