Here’s what my family and I have been going through recently.
We moved two years ago. Two months after settling in, we decided to begin looking for a church to call home. We didn’t have any plan other than two churches that had been recommended and three which we Googled.
It was almost like the story of the three bears.
1st Church — Too big. Felt overwhelmed.
2nd Church — Too small. Too far away. Not many children. (we have three kids and at that time they were ages 3, 8 and 11)
3rd Church — Just right… Well, just right for my husband. As we walked out, he began saying, “I don’t know about you but this is where I am going from now on.”
And for what may have been the first time in our marriage…I didn’t object. Although, I felt the decision was rushed to call this church our home.
I’m a true believer that God uses every experience in our life and God used this church to begin work in my husband. For the first time, my husband attended a men’s Bible group, without me nagging him to do so. And I got to witness him taking his next step in his walk as he gave his life to Christ through baptism.
So how could I not try to make this place my home? I kept reminding myself that so much greatness was taking place in him. But what about me?
My heart and my mind were still battling the loss of moving from a place I called home. I continually thought back to my experience of our old church and would compare.
In a sense I was spoiled with that experience. After all, it was where I fell in love with Jesus. It was a place where the pastor made sure that after I gave my life to Christ that it didn’t end just there. Where the pastor’s wife extended her hand and invited me for coffee to encourage scripture reading. Where I was prayed for and encourage to begin attending a women’s group and upon attending that women’s group I was welcomed with open arms. And if I was missing… they noticed. Even with me being as quiet as I was. The people in this church brought out the best in me because I experienced the love of God not just on Sundays or during group time but well into the rest of the week.
I had more than just Facebook connection or text connection.
I had support.
I had encouragement.
I had guidance in my spiritual walk.
I had a family that not just I, but my entire family did life with. And this family that God placed in my life molded me and shaped me into the woman that wanted to go out and share the same love I was given to those outside the walls of the church.
Ephesians 4:11-13 reads:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelist, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Some people, could care less about connection with others or don’t want to dig deep into a study. But not this girl. Not me. I need connection. I need Bible studies to dig deeper. I need to feel spiritually fed. I need a tribe of women to rally around me and for me to rally around. I need to see not just my husband growing but my children too.
And although I did met a few wonderful people at this church. My heart stilled longed for and missed what we as a family had had. So much that I needed to break free and find where I belonged so that I would not lose sight of God or that woman I am.
Thankfully, my husband saw the hurt in me and a decision was made to start searching for a church to call home at the start of the new year.
This time around we are communicating as a family to ensure our growth as a whole.
Here are a few things we discovered through our experience:
– Communication is crucial among each family member.
– Have a list of needs and wants. (ex: youth groups, Bible studies, outreach)
– Have an open mind. Not every church is going to have exactly what you need but you should have a list of non-negotiables.
– Do not rush. Really take the time to understand the vision of the church. Meet with the pastor/leadership team. Talk with other people within the church. Sit in on many different services or groups offered. Ask questions.
– Patience. (Oh yes, I said patience.) Most likely, it will take time to find a church that is right for you and your family. It’s okay to let people know you are searching.
– Talk to family or friends about their experience in searching for a church. They have already been through it and can provide support and encouragement through the process.
– And, of course, last… but really should be first: Lots and lots of prayer! And don’t forget to ask for prayers from others in your search.
I am not entirely sure where we will be led. But I am certain God will let us know when we have found home. And in the meantime I am thankful for what this experience has shown us.
So, if you could please join me in prayer over my family and any other person or family that is searching for a church to call home, I’d greatly appreciate it. Searching can be such an enduring process for all involved and other times it can be so easy to know you just belong there. If you are searching. I hope our family’s experience keeps you encouraged that you will find a church to call home.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask for wisdom and direction for all of us that are searching for a church to call home. Help us to find a place where we can flourish and produce a harvest. Somewhere that we can find connection among others who love you Lord with all their hearts. People whom are willing to step out in faith to provide support and encouragement not only to our family but to others around them. Most importantly a place that will satisfy our hearts for a deep connection with you
Lord. We thank you God for what you will do in us and through us as we take these next steps and search. Thank you, Lord, for all this.
In Jesus name I pray.
Lindsey is a stay at home wife, mother and follower of Christ. The desire has been placed in her to share her experiences of her growing relationship with God and to let others know that His love is unconditional. You can email her @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you looking for a church to call home? Here is a local reference to use: https://www.churchfinder.com/churches/pa/waynesboro