Carrie K. from My Middle Name is Patience left a comment in my previous post, asking what we are looking for in a church. I responded that the question requires a post of its own.
I’ve had e-mail conversations with a couple different friends about this issue, about the things Kevin and I have been talking about while considering the church situation. Here’s a cut and paste of some of those e-mails. Please excuse the poor grammar and sentence construction – I wasn’t trying to write as much as just get my thoughts out.
The Baptist church we have been at for two years isn’t a good fit anymore. We’re not Baptists by any stretch of the imagination, but the only truly reformed church here just disbanded. We were sticking with First Baptist because of a good children’s program; the kids’ program changed this year and we’re not comfortable having our kids there anymore. Long story short: not enough supervision, emphasis on competition rather than becoming Christ-like. I’m not sure if we’ll find anything or not. We have talked about doing family worship for a while. I don’t know – I’m discouraged. It’s been years since we’ve been in a church where we were truly home, being fed, able to minister and use our gifts. My brother-in-law is studying at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis – we’re trying to talk him into doing a church plant – maybe through Mars Hills Acts 29 network – in our area. He’s wise, though, and wants to do an associate pastorship somewhere first.
I wish you could order up a church off an a la carte menu. “Yes, I’d like a church with reformed doctrine that’s complementarian in their view of men and women – no patriarchism for me, but also no female head pastors. I’d like worship that uses both hymns and choruses, plus the Apostle’s or Nicene creed – I’d like to do communion every week, and I’d like a pastor who loves to study and gets passionate about sharing what he’s learned. Oh, and a good kids’ ministry and lots of fellowship opportunities. Also, a church that engages with culture and the community instead of hiding in it’s own denominational bubble.” Is that too much to ask? ~grin~
Kevin and I were talking the other day, and he asked, “How come we don’t feel like we fit in anywhere?” And I said, “cause we don’t!” We don’t fit with the traditional Christian homeschooling family idea – cause we’re not reactionary about things like Harry Potter. We don’t fit with the non-Christian homeschooling group, cause we’re believers and don’t teach evolution. We don’t fit at a conservative church like the Baptist because we don’t believe that only men’s viewpoints matter and that we should be sheltered from culture – but we also don’t fit in a more liberal church like the Free Methodist because we don’t believe that women should be senior pastors and we don’t buy into the whole “God speaks to me every day and tells me what to wear and buy and…” We wouldn’t fit in the local reformed church, because they’re completely closed off to any work of the Holy Spirit and their worship is closed-off – only hymns, no praying for healing cause that doesn’t happen anymore, etc. (And then I just heard they disbanded anyway.) We don’t fit with the more enthusiastic worship churches, because they’re way too charismatic and unbalanced, and don’t do any hymns, and most of their worship songs sound like contemporary love songs instead of songs worshipping the Almighty Creator.
And amongst all these thoughts is the thought that I know there is no such thing as a perfect church, but we should at least be able to find one where the pros outweight the cons, right? Sigh.
Please understand that these are simply the things that Kevin and I have struggled with. If you fit into one of the groups which I said we didn’t, please don’t take that as judgment. We’re simply trying to work out our faith and understand what the Word says and how that applies to our family.