Archive for ‘Church Hunting’

November 1, 2010

Mental Church Evaluations

I went out to my first church-hunting service alone on October 24th to a church in Chelmsford, MA. The previous week, I had attended a new church with my boyfriend and joined some friends we knew that were attending there. So, October 24th was my first real hunt alone – kind of exciting, kind of nerve wracking at the same time. : )

I’ve discovered that I have sort of a mental checklist or observation sheet in my head as I’ve started attending the churches on my list.

What’s the building like? The location?

I know the whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing, but I’ve always been interested in aesthetics. Everywhere I go I look at the surroundings and the makeup of different things to get a feel for what it is. Now, I know that what a building looks like on the outside and where it’s located doesn’t say everything about it, but I think it plays an important role. For example, churches that do not have the most beautiful exterior are most focused on their community, bringing new members in through connections with current members or denominations and what goes on within its walls, which is in no way bad. Meanwhile, other churches that have gorgeous landscapes and well-kept exteriors tend to be more inviting to passersby, bringing in people who may not be connected with the church or denomination based on what their exterior has to offer. Again, this is just a generalization about the outside of churches, but I’m sure we can all be honest that when looking at churches, passing a church that is not as well kept up as most, we would probably only check it out if we were familiar with the denomination or knew people who attended there, while churches that catch our eye and are better looking tend to draw us in initially.

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October 10, 2010

Wide is the Gate

After much more of a response to my last entry than I anticipated, I found myself wanting to write back to every person individually, and to clarify some things even more. The trouble is, as I started writing out a reply, I realized it was getting pretty ridiculously long – and that would have been obnoxious. So, I decided it would be fitting to write a different entry more relating to the topics raised in everyone’s responses.

To be honest, I had never heard of Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah or John MacArthur, but I did look them up shortly after the suggestion that I should study their teachings before I choose a church. After reading up on them, I can say that I disagree with some of their theology, especially where spiritual gifts are concerned as I believe they are such an important part in our Christian lives and in what God has in store for His people. Whether you believe spiritual gifts are for now or not, or whether you believe only some are given spiritual gifts, scripture is very clear that there is a place for these gifts in the church, and Paul also states that he wishes we all spoke in tongues like he did. Personal study of scripture and personal prayer rather than what someone else believes or says should always be the source of our beliefs on all matters. Advice and opinions through fellowship with others is absolutely necessary and good, but we should never just “take someones word for it”, especially in matters of faith.

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October 6, 2010

Anatomy of a Church Hunt

This past Sunday, I finally got the answer I had been searching for for weeks. I never would have thought that figuring out where to go (or stay) for church would be so taxing. I had been mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted with trying to figure out if I was supposed to stay at Grace or look elsewhere. The majority of my friends split off to three different churches over the past few months and none of them have seemed like where God is calling me or where I needed to be. Finally, after weeks of searching for a simple answer of direction as to whether to stay or go, God let me know it was time to begin looking elsewhere. I love Grace, but its not supposed to be my home church anymore.

This is the first time I’ve ever really gone “church hunting”. Growing up, we always went to the church where my dad preached – Advent Christian churches up and down the East Coast. When I went to college, I’ll admit that for a little while I didn’t go to church regularly. I tried a few local churches and then attended Park Street Church in Boston for a little while – but the commute on the T and missing lunch AND dinner in the cafeteria weren’t quite as worth it since I was a poor college student. At the end of my senior year, a church was started on the campus called The Journey, which I quickly became attached to. The sad part is, as I mentioned previously, this was at the end of my senior year, so it was sort of a short lived church home. After I graduated, I spent the summer working for SoulFest and spent a good amount of time with the Stocks who introduced me to Tent of Meeting, one of Grace’s services centered around prayer and worship on Tuesday nights. This is how I got introduced to Grace Fellowship where I’ve been attending since before I even lived in Nashua.

So, as you see, I’ve never really hunted for a church. This is an all new experience for me. And it’s even harder because my beliefs have changed from when I was younger and I’m not sure which churches or denominations will continue to nurture my faith with the things I believe now. With all of this said, because I know I’m not the only person who has had trouble looking for a church, I’ll give you a rundown over the next few weeks as I look for a new church home and how it all goes. : )

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