Monday, May 31, 2010

Knowing When to Stop

Church shopping continued... Yesterday we went back to a church that we have already been to a couple of times. Janelle had a birthday party at 11:00, so Chris suggested we go there because they have a 9:15 service. It seems to be the one we go back to when we haven't picked another to try.

We all felt so comfortable there yesterday. We just felt really good about it. Janelle is always happy to join the kids program, no matter where we go, so I'm not concerned about her finding a place where she'll be happy. But Connor is so hesitant to join in. On Saturday, he mentioned that a friend from his class said he attends this church. As soon as the kids were dismissed to their program he found his buddy and was happy as could be to stay with him for the morning. So Chris and I actually got to check out an entire service there for the first time.

Last week we went to a church that we were both absolutely sure we never wanted to go to again. I tried to keep an open mind for the whole service in case Chris was really enjoying it, but we hadn't left the parking lot before we both confessed that it was NOT for us. This time I was just loving every minute of it, feeling so at home, and sensing that we had actually found the church that God is leading us to make our home. Just like last week, I didn't want to say too much in case Chris was not feeling the same way, but we were still making our way out of the sanctuary when he said "I really like this church".  Yay!

We don't want to make a hasty decision, though. Friends of ours who moved a few years ago warned us not to decide on a church too quickly. They did not "church shop". They just went to one where their kids have friends and looked no further. They aren't happy there, but their kids are, and right now they feel it is most important to be where the kids are happy. But I do feel that maybe this is the one where we could all be happy. I am ready to stop looking. Chris is almost ready. This church has many pluses:
  1. It is in our neighbourhood.
  2. It isn't huge, but is a good enough size that there is a lot going on.
  3. My kids seem happy there, and the kids program seems like something I'd like to get involved in.
  4. We both really like the worship pastor, and his style of leading worship.
  5. The pastor seems really genuine and very down to earth. I enjoy his preaching, and Chris does too, but wishes he would go a bit deeper sometimes. We both sense a real heart for seeing great things happen for God in this church, though.
  6. The assistant pastor, who met us on our first visit, recognized us yesterday and made a point to speak to us.
  7. There is a strong emphasis on acts of service within the community, as well as supporting a number of missions organizations abroad.
  8. There is a mid-week family night, with a program for the kids and various speakers, a book club, or bible studies for adults.
  9. There is an emphasis on getting people together for social events and small group bible studies.
  10. If we attend this church, it would mean we don't have to look anymore!
I don't want to stop looking too soon, but I don't feel I need to try every church in London, either. This is the church that we found when we were here in January, and Chris studied every corner of their website before we even moved. There is nothing that we feel uncomfortable with at this church. The people are friendly, and seem to want to get to know us. One of my favourite things about this church is its imperfections. I feel like I could be used there. I don't feel like it is a well-oiled machine that couldn't possibly use anything I have to offer. I feel like this could be my church. I certainly don't feel 100% at home there yet, but I can imagine feeling that way someday. And this is the only church I have set foot in here that I have felt that way about.

Next week there is a Big Day Out at this church, a carnival type morning in service to the community, with bouncy castles and antique cars and lots of free food. The kids are really excited about it, so I don't think there is any question about where we'll be going next week. And the week after... we'll see...

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