Sunday, October 19, 2008

Church hunting

We had a rather humorous church hunting day today!
Looking for a new church home is probably what I like the least about moving. The end result is worth the effort, of course, its just the process I don't much enjoy. For one thing, I don't care for the idea of church "shopping" as it were - it just seems weird. Necessary, but weird.
If you know us, you know we've been involved in several church plants. By accident at first and then on purpose! We are conservative Christians, both raised Methodist, but now preferring seeker-sensitive Evangelical churches with contemporary praise & worship and sound Biblical teaching, preferably non-denominational. We aren't into traditions, legalism and the like. For whatever reason, God has really given us a heart for church plants.
I fought against another church plant when we moved to Iowa - and I'm sure it gave God a good chuckle. After visiting every established church in Des Moines, we landed in yet another plant! It was a huge blessing and we loved it. A newly formed church offers nothing if not the opportunity to serve! The bonus for us is that they tend to be easy places to plug into since everyone is new!
Anyway, all that to say that we've been visiting churches here. We went to one a couple times that we like, but its a little far from our new house.
Today was all about checking out a church near the new house. We did an online search and landed on one that met in a middle school. Sounds good so far, right? It turned out to be close to this lease house, so we arrived really early. We took the extra time to drive to the nearby movie theater and elementary school to see about the churches meeting in those locations. The elementary school had a service at the same time as the one we were originally planning to attend. I'm not sure how it became a good idea to give it a try, but we did. It was clear to both of us in the first 20 seconds that this was not the one for us. First, there was a bowl of baptismal water on a stand in the aisle, an alter at the front and a lady chirping about having communion every week in this Lutheran church. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone or any religion. Its just that we believe in baptism by immersion and I personally feel like you lose the effect of what communion is intended to be when its done every week. To top it all off, they did not offer classes for children. I know some think its important for families to worship together. In theory, I think that would be ideal. However, in practice, I have a host of issues - not the least of which being that kids don't get much out of an adult teaching time. There's also the issue that as adults, we don't get as much out of it either if we're having to tend to our (bored) children. But, this was not why there were no classes for kids. They actually took the kids OUTSIDE during the sermon!
That said, I do really like churches where the kids are in the main service for praise and worship, then dismissed to their classes.
But, I'm digressing. Back to this morning's experience. Like I said, we knew immediately that this was not the church for us and I was thinking we were about to completely waste this Sunday for "church shopping." Oh, how wrong I was. My never-to-be-bashful husband said (in a not-so-quiet voice), "Let's go. This is not the church for us and we're not wasting our time." Oh my goodness, I was MORTIFIED!!!!! We turned around and started walking out the door, with completely confused kiddos and the greeter at the door saying, "Uh oh." I just kept my head low and walked as fast as I possibly could (holding the hand of a 3-year old). Jake kept asking what was going on and Ed told him that Mommy was probably really mad at him. You know, on the one hand I was terribly embarrassed, just because that's how I am, but on the other, I was really relieved to not waste the time. Our poor kids couldn't even get their seat belts fastened before we drove out of the parking lot!
I don't know if the hilarity of the situation can be relayed in this blog, but I'm cracking up laughing as I type this!
We did end up at the church we originally intended to visit today. Its not the one for us either, but it was sure closer than the first.
We had a great laugh about it all at lunch today and decided it was indeed, blog-worthy. And, that's how you know it was funny!


Lori Eilers said...

Oh Angela...I can't help but laugh. I can just picture Ed marching you all out and you being beet red! I know God has an amazing place for you to serve and grow that will meet the needs of the kids...He will show you. I do know of a great church with a children's pastor that already LOVES your kids! The commute might get old, though. Is 10 hours too much?

Sarah said...

Mike and I have lived in 4 states together and done our fair share of church shopping. We have walked out of church services countless times. Sometimes within the first few minutes.

The best way to sneak out is to act like you are getting a page or a phone call, start walking quickly toward the door and just nod your head to the greeters like, "Thanks, man. Sorry. Gotta bounce." Works every time. Especially if you add a little gangsta attitude to it.

Might be a little difficult to pull off with 4 kids in tow, but I'm sure you can do it. :)

One time we left a church in Washington after we realized we were the youngest ones in the congregation at least 40 years.

Becky said...

ah, here's to making memories... that will be a great story for years to come.
I'm laughing because I would totally be like Ed. :)

chefstinsonfamily said...

Oh my gosh, sorry but this is hilarious. I know for a fact that Drew would have done the exact same thing as Ed and I would have the same reaction as you. But then would feel a whole sense of relief once we were gone. :o) Happy hunting! Drew and I kind of enjoyed our church hunting and you are right - once you find the right one it will be worth it!

Olivia said...

Too funny! I'll pray you find the right place. Isn't it cool to see God works out the place for your family to serve and worship?!?! I'm thinking he has a church plant in your future :0)

Bekah always asks if I am going to post about something after it happens or I take a picture...

Keep us updated on the church search! Love, Olivia

Jena said...

hahaha! we have a VERY similar story! i totally understand about being mortified!!! but arent' you glad you didn't waste your time? that makes for a very crappy Sunday!

amain said...

Oh my goodness! Did Jena Raridon ever tell you about their experience at "scary church"?? Scott hustled them right out of a service, too, and to this day, whenever they drive by that church, Eli points and says, "scary church!"
Now I am chuckling thinking about that scenario:)

Jen Mumm said...

I am sorry, but this just cracks me up!! :)

Sandy May said...

We are praying for you that you find the right church. Totally funny because I don't know if I would have the guts to do that. Paul probably would have and I would be in your same position. Good luck - we are thinking and praying for you. I guess Paul and Ed had a chat a week or so ago. We may be visiting your town!!!