Sometimes I wish all church was created equal.
I mean, somehow, based on some preset factors, you would know if a church was the place God was leading you… Without trying a million of them. And simply with some sort of sign. Or that they were all the same. A good, healthy Biblical same.
Patrick and I have carried on with our church shopping in our new city. We have only been to one other one up to this point, as we have been home for so long with my last rotation. But, today we started round two.
This week’s church came as a recommendation from two different friends. One, someone I know from university who now lives here and another from the youth pastor and his wife at our church back home. Both are people we trust.
Patrick did some reading around the place and it sounded good… To me. Patrick kept being concerned it sounded post-modern, but after much laughter and Googling, we realized we don’t actually know what post-modernism really is and can’t ascertain that it is a bad thing.
We both liked that it sounds very Biblically based, that it offered some semblance of small groups (though, they call them D-groups) and have community outreach. Patrick was weirded out by the fact they say point-blank on the website they aren’t into flashy children’s ministry and such. I argued that isn’t really always a bad thing, if they are focusing on what needs to be focused on. He agreed. They actually list all the things they are NOT on the website. It made sense to us. Many of those things are things we haven’t liked conventionally.
So, we went this morning.
I vowed we will visit at least two more churches, even if I felt God was calling us there, just to put us both at ease and give us time to pray it through.
Aside from a few brief moments of lost-ness, we found the church and were invited in to grab coffee and timbits (and the coffee was good… crazy). We sat down at a table… Yes, tables. In fact, the people who sat beside us were none other than the sister and parents of the couple back home who recommended the place (small world!).
The service was very different than what we are used to. It started with the Bible teaching. Ironically, the teaching series they are starting is based in 1 Corinthians and is all about what church should look like and not look like. So far, this did not look like church in the sense I am used to, but it was still church, just formatted differently.
After the Bible teaching, there was prayer time and worship and self-serve communion. Yes, self-serve. As in, on your own time you and your friends/family can go up and take communion from one of two tables.
The announcements were held off until the very end. They made it evident there are vibrant groups and things happening in the church.
We noticed the church is full of young people. Mostly in or near our age bracket. There is an overload of babies and toddlers.
Honestly, it felt like a fit. Things were very different there than what we were raised in, but not in a “not okay” way. Just in a unique way. A way that made things comfortable and progress in a sensible fashion. We talked briefly to the people we know, but I see opportunity to meet other people. I loved that there were so many young families, especially given we are getting to that point in our lives (tick tock).
On our way home, we talked about it. How it made sense. How we were out of our comfort zone, but still in it. How the sermon really fit what we were kind of thinking at that point. God has a funny way of doing things.
We are still hitting up the other churches. Trying to keep an open mind about God’s leading in all of this.
We had to laugh on reflecting on today’s events. It seems since getting here we haven’t been to a “traditional” church like the one we attend back home or even like the one we went to on the Rock. Patrick asked what that says about us. I am not sure. But, it is kind of funny.
Maybe God is trying to stretch us, maybe we feel like a change.
Maybe this was the change we need.
We can’t put God in a box with our expectations. So, we will try a few other places we have been drawn to through friends and searches and come to a decision. Soon, I hope. I like being connected. I think it will help us feel more at home. We just have to trust God has a place for us, however unconventional.