Saturday, August 30, 2008

Is Church Shopping a Sin?

I need to preference this by telling you that I have been struggling with the topic of this post for many months. My husband is a restaurant manager and works most Sundays. Whether it's my place or not, I feel a great responsibility for the spiritual direction of this family.
Over the past five years we have moved to three different states. There are many factors to take in consideration when moving. Wanting to find a nice safe home in a good school district is usually on the top of the list for many. Fortunately, being homeschoolers, we haven't had to worry too much with location.
With our first move to Orange Park, Florida we didn't have a problem with what now plagues us. We found a wonderful church home. The Sunday school class we ended up in was young, energetic, and very welcoming. After being members of what I considered to be the ideal church in Hattiesburg we felt very comfortable in this church family.

Less that two years later, my husband's job transferred him. We ended up in what I fondly refer to as the armpit of the south; Monroe, Louisiana. We look for a new church home and settled on a church that had a rotational Sunday school class program much like the one we were involved in, in Hattiesburg. The adult programs were lacking, to say the least. I attempted to start an outreach program for single parents and was told by the other members that they simply didn't have time to do out-reach, but they'd be glad to write me a check.
Fortunately my husband took another job and we relocated to the Natural State. At first we drove 45 to a wonderful church in the Pulaski Heights District of Little Rock. The drive really started to be too much so we started look for a church closer to home. The church we first attended was supposed to have a rotational children's program, but apparently it fell apart during our transition. The minister who had been at that church for 16 years was moving and the members of that church were struggling. I threw myself in to volunteering. I worked in the after school program, taught kids Sunday school, and volunteered at VBS.

Skip ahead two years, there were only two children's Sundays school classes. Attendance was down and budgets weren't getting met. I did anything I could, but I started to feel drained. I wasn't getting refilled.
Through much though, prayer and discussion, we decide to visit some other churches. I actually waited until the pastor left (he resigned his position) because I didn't want to feel like I had jumped ship, given up, like it appeared everyone else had.
Since the Nazarene Church and the Methodist church are very similar in their teachings we visited a Nazarene Church that one of my homeschool friends attended. I loved the people of the Church, but I felt the Nazarene beliefs were a bit to evangelical for my taste.

Last last week we visited another Methodist church. If I could go on a " feeling" I would have joined after that first sermon. As it turns out, in talking to the pastor, his family, and several other members in that Church homeschool too. We plan to return this Sunday, but I think we may have finally found a church home.


Christina said...

Why would church shopping be bad? You need spiritual leadership that is in alignment with your own views and beliefs... and yes, a church (the people) should "feel" right or comfortable. I am glad you have found one that seems to suit you. That is always good news. I was raised in one church. My husband another. We attended his with our children. It was comfortable, for the most part. At the end I disagreed with a leadership decision. I now consider myself a spiritual person, not necessarily religious. In organized churches, I feel that man's views and opinions many times cloud the reality of the message that we should be receiving. Sorry, didn't mean to soapbox! I really think it is wonderful when you can find a spiritual home! Take Care... Christina

Anonymous said...

Glad yall finally (hopefully) found a church. I know yall have been not too happy w/ the previous church.

Yay-- Parkway has a program for the 5/6th graders-- they actually are going on a mission trip this summer!!

How's Gustav in Ark.? Lots of rain here. K and I were sitting outside Sun., and I was telling him that I think all these trees that were weakend by Katrina would fall over w/ Gustav. Not 1 second after I said that, a huge tree in the woods fell down CRASH!! We just looked at each other: AWESOME!!

Good luck w/ the rain See ya Tina

Julie said...

I hope this is the one!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi