Caleb and I started going to a new church a couple of months ago.
We had been talking about finding a church closer to home since we got married. We became a little more serious after we had Rachel. And by the end of this past summer, we (especially I) couldn’t not change. It’s not that our old church was bad, in fact, it’s a good church. It may have even been good for us, but good does not mean best – especially in God’s economy.
There were several reasons for the change…the main two were obedience and community.
Obedience. We knew we needed to change. As time went by, this got harder. We were used to what we had. We had grown closer to the people we were with. We had responsibilities we didn’t want to dump. Excuses, excuses. We had some new and exciting opportunities – so we thought maybe we had been wrong, maybe this is where we are supposed to be. Then we realized just how unfruitful our efforts were – because they were our’s and God had something different.
Community. Church is primarily about glorifying God. And, by nature of being a body of believers, being in community is a large part of that. Caleb wanted community, I was all but desperate for it. Ironically, this is one of the areas we feel our old church was strong – but it wasn’t our community. We were likely taking up someone else’s space and defintely neglecting our own by continuing to go there.
Where to go? We started with the closest church that was an active member of the NC Baptist Convention. Most churches out here, even if they are technically part of the convention, operate all but independently. It’s not that we are hardcore Baptists – but a church should not be above being accountable to a good organization like this. There are also a lot of things the Convention does that allow your church to do so much more than it could on it’s own.
A few highlights of the change:
Rachel’s “classes.” One highlight of this is that she absolutely loves them – she literally runs to class talking about how excited she is. Another highlight is that there are other children her age (something we were a bit worried about). They may not always be there – one night she was on her own – but usually she has friends. Most of her classes are taught by grandmas. These women absolutely love teaching children about Jesus – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it. This also means I get to go to adult activities. I love working with kids, and probably will before too long – but not every service!
The church is small. The Sunday School enrollment is 132. The church I grew up in averaged over 600 in Sunday School. Big change, I love it!
The church is active! This church loves the community. There are always things going on, and the community is always welcome. Time out for a soap box. You can be too active. Here, though – so far – all of the activities still have passion behind them. They are still inspired. People are happy to do for others. It has not become drudgery or just something to do. How refreshing in our world of obligation.
I’m sure there is much more, but my first draft of this was almost a month ago – so I’m going to go ahead and post with good intentions of a follow-up post later. Don’t hold your breath.