I grew up in an all black baptist church. When I went away to college, I visited an all white church for the first time in my life. Talk abour culture shock.
I had never seen a guitar in church before. Never heard the songs. Was not accustomed to the donuts and coffee they provided (though that was easy to appreciate).
It was hard for me to focus on the gift God was trying to give me at that time because the wrapping was so unfamiliar. I learned then to seek God and trust when it comes to finding a local body and also to appreciate the diversity in the body of Christ.
Our family recently moved to a new state. A move like that means we are discovering our new city and all it has to offer. We are sampling the local cuisine, bookstores, parks, and shopping places. We are also sampling the local churches.
There is no shortage of churches to choose from here. And if I am honest, the sample size, makes it a daunting process. I have been feeling the pressure to find the "perfect church".
But this pressure is absurd because there is NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT CHURCH!.
There is, however, a church that God has in mind to get us to our next level of growth. And that place is the perfect church for us.
Perhaps you are looking like we are, or maybe you are thinking of changing churches. Consider the following questions:
- Why are you searching? What is your motive? The answer to this might be simple or complex. In our case, it is simple. We are new to town.
There maybe more complex cases. Did someone make you mad? Was there scandal? Are you wanting more depth? Take the answer to this question to God in prayer because He may or may not want you to find a new church based in your motive.
- What stage of life am I in? A retired couple, a single person, and a family with kids are in different seasons of life and might seek different level of interaction from the local body. Deternine what is important to you at this stage of your life.
- What are your growth opportunities? Is there an area in your life that God is refining? A local body that is focusing on that area might be a good fit.
- What attitudes could be hindering your search? Our preference in leadership, music, racial make up, congregation size, location, and activities might be keeping us from even considering some churches. Ask yourself (and be honest) what
Since God is intimately involved in the details of our lives, He knows the best place to place us. We have to trust him. Just because it is different, doesn't mean it is wrong. (Of course it doesn't mean its right either).
We can be so distracted by the wrapping that we miss the opportuity to know God better. We have to trust that God's wisdom is greater than ours and be lead by the spirit when making this choice. Pray for us as we continue to search!
God, your word says you will lead us and guide is in the paths of righteous. That is we trust in you with all our heart and don't lean on our own reason and demand our own understanding you will direct our path.
I pray for those seeking a church. I pray you will open their eyes to see any wrong motives that might be fueling their search. I pray they will open their hearts to the conventional and non conventional ways you may be leading them. Father, let us not be distracted by the wrapping paper but let us value the gift! Amen