The Journey of Finding a New Church

16
Mar
2015

Old wooden cross against wooden background. Sepia tone.

Fourteen years ago I stepped into a church, as a non-beleiver, searching for more.  My heart needed to know what my purpose was, about this God other’s talked about who loved them so much and what my future could be.  

I walked in one Sunday and stayed for nearly fourteen years.  

I gave my life to the Lord in that church, baptized myself and my daughter in that church, worked the welcome desk with my small children greeting other first-time visitors, participated in women’s ministry, watched my husband get baptized, found an incredible small group of woman that invited me in to share life with them and grew in my faith.

But our family entered a new season and we’ve known our time there has passed.  It has been time to move onto a different church and we’ve been struggling and fighting the transition.

It is hard.  It is painful.  You feel vulnerable and most of all, you have to begin again getting to know others – and as an introvert, it is very scary and so uncomfortable.  

This has been our season for the past nine months.  Visiting church after church each week to find one that is a fit for our family.  (And to be honest, there were many weeks we just skipped church because it was too exhausting….. and we would watch an online church service, which was better than nothing, but I know not what God has for us).

I know I am not the only one who passes through this season, so I thought I would share what I feel is important to look for when searching for a new church home.  Not that I am right or there are only certain things, but I think there are certain aspects of a church that are key in finding a home that feels just that – like home.

Worship

This is one of my highest ranking criteria for a church – to find one where I can feel completely at ease worshipping, singing, lifting my hands and feeling His presence.  I need this in my hurried pace I live in each day, a place to calmly lay it all down and be still.  Music fills a spot in my heart that nothing else can.

Children’s Ministry

As a mom of a five year old, finding a church were I feel my child can experience God in new ways that are not just my ways is important.  Being with children his age is important and finding a church that offers a somewhat structured approach to sharing and experiencing God’s word is critical. 

Serving

My husband knows we are being called to a church where we can be used to help others.  We have strengths and gifts that we can offer to help impact others – it is extremely important to my husband and I.  We learn so much through our life and when we share our giftings by serving we truly bless others.

Pastor Message

I need to hear from the Word of God each week.  I can do my own devotional time, which is my own discipline, but hearing from a Pastor who is gifted in sharing the Gospel in a way that I can identify and respond to is what feeds me.  Everyone has different needs, but for me I need to feel connected to a Pastor that I feel is genuine, authentic and realistic in the struggles we all face daily.

Small Group Community

No matter the size of the church I feel I grew more whenI was in a small group community.  You can be growing together as a group and it is exhilarating to be held accountable, be supported and know you have someone to call at 4 AM when things are going rough.  This is a top priority for us, finding a church where small group community is valued.

What other items would you add to the list, I am curious?  

This is a personal journey for us, and one that has affected me a great deal – more than I would have otherwise not realized.  Being without that “place” where I belong in my faith has dampened my spirit just a bit.  But I know we need to persist and He will lead us to the place He has next for us.

The Importance of Prayer

24
May
2012

The Importance of Prayer
My spirit is crushed. I feel defeated and neglected. Our family is journeying through some really rocky territory and, honestly, I just don’t like it at all. Who likes going through the storm? No one. But I also know that it can either drive me away from God or draw me near. I choose to draw near and hold on with prayer.

How is your prayer life? Are you meeting Him and sharing your heart? Here are a few reasons why you should make sure it is on your to-do list everyday, all the time.

Importance of Prayer

Prayer is one of the most important things a Christian can do. It is a time they are communicating with God and it should be taken very seriously. While there is deep theological meaning in prayer, it doesn’t have to be something that is complicated and difficult. It’s something anyone can do anywhere at any time.

Drawing Near to God

It’s impossible to know someone if you don’t spend time with them. Prayer is an opportunity to spend time with God. To really understand the heart of God, you need to pray. In John 15:15, Jesus says He no longer calls us his servants, but calls us His friends. Talking with God develops a deeper relationship with Him. The deeper the relationship becomes, the more time you want to spend with Him. In 1 Corinthians 3:9, God calls us His fellow workers. How can we be His fellow workers if we refuse to talk to Him?

Prayer Brings Light to Darkness

Sometimes we forget just how powerful prayer is. We aren’t fighting against something imaginary. Our prayers are fighting against spiritual battles that linger in dark places. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The power of prayer is so great it has the power to defeat the devil and his power over us. He wants to destroy us, but God wants to bring us closer to Him. Prayer is our tool to win that battle. Prayer gives us the strength and the faith to finish the race victorious.

Prayer Changes Us

We often think prayer changes God. This simply isn’t the case. Prayer changes us. When we spend time with God, He is working to change our heart to be more like His. The more time we spend with Him, the more we are like Him. Our habits and lifestyles change. We no longer live a self-centered life, but one that is focused on others with a pure and sincere heart. Prayer changes us inside out.

Prayer Protects

Protection is ours just for the asking. We need to pray for protection for our loved ones every day. Pray for loved ones by name, one by one. You can never pray too much for one person. Sometimes it helps to make a list of all the people that you need to pray for each day. Doing this not only offers us protection, but also sets a great example for our children.

Do you pray daily for your husband and children for protection?

Prayer Brings Breakthroughs in Life

One of the most important aspects of prayer in your life is the breakthroughs that come. Sometimes we are faced with devastating circumstances and feel we have nowhere to turn. It’s at that point we should pray (although there should have plenty of prayer beforehand, too). Fasting and praying is powerful, too. Sometimes you need a message from God and you need to be solely focused on Him to get it. It may be painful during the prayer and waiting process but once you receive it you will be so happy you sought Him. While you wait, you can also sing praise songs, read the Bible, or anything else that brings you closer to Him. Even if the breakthrough doesn’t happen that day, you will receive the strength and the grace to carry on. Eventually you will receive an answer to your prayers, or a peace about waiting longer. When you look back over this time you will most likely see it as some of the most spiritually rich time of your life.

Do you need a breakthrough today?

Photo Credit

Ten Minute Tuesday 7/12

12
Jul
2011


Welcome to a regular feature for Tuesday, Ten Minute Tuesday.  Take a few minutes to slow down, sit & enjoy the music – let the words sink into your spirit.

I hope this song  All that I am by The Afters brings a little kick in your step today.  If you are having trouble viewing the video in the RSS feed, please click to the complete post.

May your day be blessed!

Susan signature

 

 

 

Photo Credit

Ten Minute Tuesday – 6/21

21
Jun
2011


Welcome to a regular feature for Tuesday, Ten Minute Tuesday.  Take a few minutes to slow down, sit & enjoy the music – let the words sink into your spirit.

I hope this song  Open Skies by David Crowder Band brings a little kick in your step today.  If you are having trouble viewing the video in the RSS feed, please click to the complete post.

May your day be blessed!

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Photo Credit

Ten Minute Tuesday – 6/14

14
Jun
2011


Welcome to my weekly feature, Ten Minute Tuesday, where I encourage you to take ten minutes to slow down and take in some music from one of my favorite Christian artists.

This week I am sharing “At Your Feet” by Casting Crowns.  Take some time for reflection……..

Take a few minutes and enjoy!

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