"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

19 October 2012

Looking for a New Church Home: Part 1

One of our top priorities when preparing for our move was looking for a new church home in Texas. I visited many, many church websites, scouring their belief statements, various in-church ministries, the level of dedication to missions, the curriculum they offered for children, the connectedness of their congregation to one another, and so forth.

I narrowed it down to a handful and emailed the churches.

Only three responded.

I immediately eliminated one because the person who responded stated that we would be "hard-pressed" to find a "better" church than his own. I didn't like that kind of mentality from a church leader.

Of the remaining two, one of the pastors was just so terrific about being incredibly helpful, checking in with us, letting us know that he was praying for us, and encouraging us in our move.

We visited Woodcreek Church last Sunday, and we really, really liked it. There were several little "nudges" from God that this just might be our new church home:

*Their vision statement goes, in part, like this: "...to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ," which is pretty much word-for-word, exactly the same as our church home (PKA) in New York. 
*Last Sunday was a baptism Sunday. The previous week, we had attended our last service at PKA. That was also a baptism Sunday. It just felt right to bookend our move with celebrating new life in Christ this way.
*The sermon came from Galatians, a book that was a significant part of the Bible study I recently completed in NY. It was nice to be on familiar ground on our first visit to a new church.
*Expository preaching style: This was one of the items on our "would like to have" list for a new church. We wanted to have teaching that was Bible-centered more than thematic.
*The pastor referenced Brennan Manning during his sermon.
*There is this eccentric man at PKA who is rather fond of Nich and would always talk and talk and talk to him. Among his many quirks was his habit of pronouncing an enthusiastic "Amen!" during the sermons on Sundays. At one point at Woodcreek, a man in the back of the sanctuary called out a hearty "Amen!" Nich and I glanced at each other and had to stifle laughter, because he sounded exactly like our fellow church member in NY. The Lord sure has a sense of humor!
*And last, but definitely not least, Little B did so well in the toddler class. He did cry for a bit when we dropped him off, but when we returned to pick him up, he was happily playing with a few other kids. He didn't even notice us standing at the door until we called out to him!

We'll be visiting a different church this coming Sunday. We are currently staying with some friends of friends while we house-hunt and they have invited us to their church. It is a mega-church; I even found a "campus map" on their website! It will certainly be an unfamiliar experience for both of us. Although I visited some mega-churches during my brief stint in NYC, neither of us have regularly attended one. It will be neat to see how our friends "do life" in such a large church.

Being a part of a godly, loving community is very important to us, and as we continue to search for the church that is the right "fit" for our family, we pray for clarity and discernment. We would love it if you would pray with us!

1 & 2: Pine Knolls Alliance, taken by Post Star
3 & 4: Woodcreek Church, woodcreekchurch.com
5 & 6: First Baptist Dallas, firstdallas.org

1 comment:

  1. i never considered how important this whole process was until you wrote this. but its true that there is a lot to consider when finding the right church home. praying for you guys!