My family has changed churches twice in the last two and half years. We didn’t move to another town or change for any obvious reason. Over time small moments added up turning into a feeling like where we were attending wasn’t home any more.
We were members of one church for ten years. We were sad to leave, but we definitely felt like it was the right choice. When we joined the next church we thought we would be there for another ten years, so it was a surprise to us when we found ourselves leaving after two.
Choosing a church
Living in a large town in the bible belt means we have a buffet of choices when it comes to a place of worship. I can walk out my door on Sunday morning and within a few minutes attend a church service at one of a dozen churches. I am grateful for the privilege of having the freedom of moving to a new church.
I’ve listened to teaching telling me I should choose a church based on where my family can serve instead of what that church can offer us. I’ve also heard I need to pray and feel called to a church. In practice we would attend a service then and ask ourselves, “Did we enjoy the service? Did we get anything out of the sermon? Can we do this every week?” Perhaps our questions are shallow, but discussing the church experience helped Daniel and I debrief and process our thoughts.
The kids get a vote
Our kids are older and they get to cast a vote on where we attend. I attended a children’s church training and the instructor talked about what parents say when they pick their kids up from class on Sunday. He said parents usually ask their kids, “Did you have fun?”, but instead they should ask, “What did you learn about our God today?” I understand his sentiment, but I disagree with it.
At this time I would rather my kids have fun on Sunday mornings than be involved in an intense scripture study. I homeschool and teach the Bible at home. I want my kids to be excited about church.
Attending a megachurch
This past spring we were skipping Sunday mornings and watching church through a live feed at home. We jokingly called it “Couch Church” or “Waffles & Worship”. For months we struggled to be engaged in any of the sermons and our interest in attending church was dangerously low. We realized this wasn’t a healthy attitude.
Then I remembered that we enjoy attending church because we visit churches while traveling. It’s fun to us to experience the Body of Christ around the world. Those memories reminded me that church can be enjoyable.
I suggested to Daniel that we visit the Saturday service at the megachurch around the corner. I hoped the 5:00 p.m. Saturday service would be a way to solve our attendance problem. I also assumed the messages preached would be oversimplified for multitudes to understand and maybe we would like simple sermons better. Turns out we love the 5:00 p.m. Saturday service and the short three minute drive to the church’s parking lot. Thankfully I was completely wrong about the sermons, because they have been speaking loud and clear to our present situations. The sermons are one my favorite parts of our new church.
There’s a saying at this new church: “It’s okay to not be okay.” That’s a message we really need to hear right now. There isn’t anything wrong in our lives and we aren’t in any sort of crisis mode. But it’s a message of grace that allows us to be ourselves and take time to figure things out.
I don’t know if we’ll stay at this church for ten years. I don’t know when or how we will get involved. I don’t know what the future holds.
I do know our kids love going to church. I do know we love going on Saturday evenings. I do know we love leaving church encouraged and challenged.
Right now it feels like home.