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CoziNest > Inspiration  > Day 25: Starting Over in a New Church

Day 25: Starting Over in a New Church

31 Days of Starting Over

 

Our family has been members of nine different churches.  With each new change of address, we had to start all over again with a new church family. So how do you decide if you fit into an already established church family. First of all, you keep in mind that if you didn’t grow up in the community you are visiting churches in, it’s a good idea to think of your family as being adoption prospects. As Christians, we understand that we’ve been “grafted into the vine.” Having the same heart as we visit new churches, can be very helpful.

My childhood church home.

My childhood church home.

Having done this many times, I have to encourage those who are “church hopping” or as one of our pastors refers to it, “dating the church,” try to remember that every church you visit is filled with imperfect humans. I’ve heard some say that they don’t attend church at all because it’s filled with hypocrites.  I had a pastor answer that criticism once with this, “there’s no better place for a hypocrite than in the front pew of a sanctuary.”

Cathedral of the Cross

Cathedral of the Cross

Out of all the churches in each new community that we moved into, somehow we were able to narrow it down to one to become our church family. As adoptees there is a list of questions that we orphans should ask our prospective parents:

  • If you are a baby Christian, new in the faith, then you will need parents that will feed, nurture and be willing to get up in the middle of the night with you, if needed. Inquire with the church staff to see if they have special classes for new Christians.
Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, AL

Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, AL

  • Regardless of your spiritual birthday, be sure that it is a solid, Bible teaching church. It will be in your family’s best interest over the long run, if the church is strong in Bible study and knows our spiritual heritage.
First Baptist Church of Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina

First Baptist Church of Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina (the church is people not a building.)

  • Is there an established children’s department? If it is a large church, do they have a Children’s Minister? If so, make an appointment with them and meet to see what type of programs they offer for each age group.  One particular program that my children loved and learned so much with is the AWANA program for 3 year olds through 6th grade.
  • Women’s programs are important for your spiritual and emotional health.
Hunter Street Baptist Church

Hunter Street Baptist Church

  • Outreach programs and service opportunities will show the mission-mindedness of the church.
The Church of Brook Hills, David Platt - Pastor

The Church of Brook Hills, David Platt – Pastor

  • If the church offers small group gatherings, choose at least 2 that would meet you and/or your spouse’s age and learning style.
  • At the same time, you may want to plan to visit more than one church at a time.  Set up a schedule to visit churches for two weeks in a row at one and then another, until you know which to join.
  • Be sure to fill out a visitor’s card.
  • Just as I’ve mentioned in the New City post, be prepared for it to take you at least one year to feel at home in your new church home.
  • Be prayerful about your choice.

Just as there are steps to follow as many go through the adoption process; there may be pleasant steps and not-so-pleasant steps as you search for your church family. We joined a church once and were members for nine months before we discovered that we had a major belief discrepancy with the church. Therefore, it became part of our process to visit a church for a year before becoming members.  That didn’t give us the excuse not to become involved with the activities, or commit to areas of service, but it did give us plenty of time to become acquainted with our new family before agreeing to the “adoption.”

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree…. (Romans 11:17)

Kim @ CoziNest

Comments:

  • Rona Kilpatrick-Shedd

    10/26/2013 at 12:05 am

    Great post! I was a pastor’s daughter. We moved to many different churches when I was growing up as my dad traveled and preached the gospel. It was very difficult to adjust, to be seen as the “preacher’s kid”, to have so much expected of me. I have no “hometown” to speak of because we didn’t stay anywhere for too long, but I’m thankful to say that I have raised my own children in the same church their entire lives. I have allowed God to teach me many lessons through all the moving and adjusting. Sometimes I wonder if I’m adjusted now, but the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that no matter where we were God was there, my family was there…..and they still are.
    ~ Hometown – where ever we moved that year
    Keep writing!

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