Jumping in to a new "Family"

Jennifer - posted on 09/06/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Brian and I separately went to two different amazing churches growing up as children. We met at college, got married, had a beautiful daughter and moved to Northern Virginia. We have been trying churches almost every Sunday since then and are trying not to get disapointed. I think we both went to amazing churches where we felt like one big family and we've never had to find a new church before.. I didn't realize it would be this hard when we moved I thought it would only take a few times then we felt like we would just fall in love but Brian and I keep walking out agreeing that they aren't even close to what we had hoped for. We have tried numerous denominations and different styles. We tend to sway towards the contemporary feel but Brian likes to sing hymns every now in then. We have either found really tiny churches where there is no one our age at all or we are swarmed asking to become youth leaders and conduct bible studies. At this time in our life we need a place we can relax and learn before we jump into teaching. Then we have tried huge churches where no one even greets you and you feel kind of lost in the crowd. We did find one medium church but the preacher stated that their way was the only right way and all other churches were wrong and that is just unacceptable to us. We feel like if you are learning and growing with Christ no matter how you do it, it's a blessing. Maybe our expectations are to high but I am starting to get frustrated and I don't want this feeling.. any ideas? suggestions? Going to church is important for our family because we want Emma to be raised with such a big family of Christ like we were.

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Anne - posted on 09/07/2010

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I know this pain. Although I have returned to my home town to raise my family, I never had that family feeling from my home church. Being Catholic it was very difficult for me to look outisde Catholicism, but finally I did and we struggled for years to find a 'home'. But praise God, we finally did and I believe we are right where God wants us. It is a small church but growing and building and the pastor is absolutely amazing. I will keep you in our prayers. But have faith, you will find it, maybe praying is what is needed, pray for His guidance and Hid choice for you in churches.We had neighbors in this church who kept queitly nudging us, like that thorn in Pauls side...maybe u have that same thorn but haven't noticed?? I know how devestating it is when you can't find a church home, for us everything seems to fall apart. We pray you find one soon.

Jill - posted on 09/06/2010

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i didn't read that you prayed and asked God to lead you to the right church... it sounds like you have been doing it on your own... you need God in all this...pray the He put you in the church HE wants you to be in...

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do not do this in your own strength. PRAY. God has the perfect place for your family. but you need to entrust it into His hands.
also, you must be looking for a church with your priorities in place.
what is NOT important:
> what style of praise and worship they have. it could be hymns, it could be hillsong, it could be a huge live band, it could be two people with an acoustic guitar and a microphone. it doesnt matter. as long as its Godly music, with the WORD in it... thats what matters
> the size of the church
20 people or 20,000 people has nothing to do with anything. its the quality of the people in the church, are they hungry? are they friendly?

> getting a FEELING when you step into the place.
regardless of what you might thing or be told, you do not have to get butterflies and Holy Spirit shivers to know this is the place for us. if your waiting for a "moment" where it "Feels" right, your going by emotion. and probably just looking for a place that "feels" like your old church did.

heres what to look for:
#1 THE WORD OF GOD preached without compromise.
If all your hearing is some cutsey motivational speech with one scripture through the whole thing, your not gonna grow as Christians in that church. Look for a place that CHALLENGES you. If your not challenged to grow, change and do something after you hear the Word, somethings wrong. Dont settle for what makes you comfortable, look for a word that makes you want to change, or want to apply it to your life. something you can walk away with and use that week. "God loves you" is very sweet, but if thats all there is, you wont grow.

#2 Childrens church. If you have kids, you want them being fed too. the church will either need a decent kids church programme (not just babysitting with toys and dvds, but actual teaching of the word and hopefully praise and worship) it doesnt have to be fancy, just real. People giving God to the kids. Babysitters are dangerous in the church. your kids will be numbed by it. either that, or, the option of being allowed to have your kids in the service if possible and practical for you.

#3 the people. now this is the least important, but is still important! If they are all gossips, complainers, and nobody wants to serve... RUN! unless God tells you to stay. You will know a church by its fruit, so assess the people. dont judge them, just see them for who they are, are they genuine?

one more thing. you dont have to start teaching right away, your wise to wait for that..BUT... you should serve straight away. or soon after. once you have chosen somewhere, you should immediately consider where you will be helpful to your church. The word talks about serving in the church. you must. it doesnt mean you have to open your home to bible studies every week and serve in 5 different areas lol. it just means, you need to seek God on where He wants you doing your part. Being faithful in this brings much blessing. perhaps one week your husband can help in the carpark or as an usher, another week you can help in the kitchen or childrens church. whatever. Ask the church you choose, where you are needed to serve. you might want to be an usher, but they have too many already, but desperately need someone to stack chairs away at the end. its not about you or what you want, its about serving God by doing something that is needed to be done in His house. as soon as possible.
so, when you do find the place for you, do not hesitate to make the effort to be a server in some way. Churches desperately need people with a servants heart. Nobody wants to do the little things, but God sees it as huge when someone does! The teaching and bible studies and discipleship stuff can begin later, if your led to do that. but practical things should start very soon after you find somewhere.

bring this to God. He will guide you and take you to where you belong. To where your family with absolutely flourish!
XoXo

Jill - posted on 09/07/2010

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Jennifer ... i don;t know if you will ever find a perfect church for you ...but God will find the one that he wants you to be in.... I am currently in my 2nd church since i am born again... the first one had all the bells and whistles and my husband hated it plus we never seem to fit in with any of them.... so we switched to an ultra conservative church and i find it very boring.... but my husband feels comfortable... i find the pastor to be all over the place in his sermons... and i don't feel fulfilled ... but my kids like the sunday school.... i would like to find a new church but my husband wants to stay so we stay but what i do during the week is i listen on line to sermons from a church my friend goes to and i love it.... i get what i need from these on line sermons and i guess this is where we are at in our lives right now.... until God moves us again....God bless you in your search

Jennifer - posted on 09/07/2010

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Thank you Kellie! I really appreciate the time you took to explain your experience to me!

Jill - we have devoted quite some time to praying for this and we continue to do so each day. But thanks for the advice!

Kellie - posted on 09/06/2010

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Praying and asking God to bless your journey is a great place to start, but you will still have to explore churches and put yourselves out there to discover the "right" one.

It can be a frustrating process. I remember going through the same thing, feeling frustrated and unsure of what to even look for in a church. I was kind of feeling guilty because I wanted to choose the right one and the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and asked "What do you do when you go shopping?" At first I was confused by the question but I said "I look around and try things on." And He said "Exactly. You don't buy the first thing you see without making sure it fits you and it's what you want. Finding a church home is similar." It gave me great peace to know that I had the Lord's blessing in taking my time to find a church, which we did. Me and my family are very happy where we are. We feel like we belong, we have made a lot of great friendships and our Pastor is very approachable and genuine.

Whenever we are entering into a new season of life we want to make sure that our past is a blessing and not a hinderance. It is awesome that you and your husband has such wonderful church experiences and it only makes sense that you would want the same for your daughter. But be careful that you are not setting the bar so high and have so many different preferences that you miss out because the church may not "look" right at first. I am not sure how much time you are giving each experience, but keep in mind that it may take some time before you feel "at home."

Sometimes word of mouth is a great way to find a church home too. Asking others where they go, how long they have been attending, and finding out some of the basic tenents of their faith can also help narrow the field. Just keep doing what you're doing and believe God will lead you in the right direction.

God bless!

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