Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is there such thing as too much church?

My husband and I were both raised in church, traditional Southern Baptist church, to be precise.  We even met at a Baptist university.  When we first moved to the DFW metroplex, we went church hunting.  For more than a year we searched.  We must have tried at least 50 churches in the area between our apartments, one for every Sunday of the year.  One of our primary struggles was with the worship.  It was so, um, contemporary.  They had bands on stage!  There were drums!  It was like a rock concert.  This did not fit in with our "traditional" upbringing.  Where were the hymns?  Where was the organ?  Why didn't we sing "Just as I am" at every alter call?  We were totally thrown.  When it seemed all hope was lost, we did find a church home.  It was a fairly new church called Cornerstone.  They had just the right blend of traditional and contemporary worship, and the pastor was phenomenal!  We dove right in - Bible studies, praise team, drama ministry, nursery volunteers.  You name it, we were there for it.  It was even the church where we were married, and we were very happy there.

Fast forward a couple of years.  We had gotten married and quickly found a one bedroom apartment was not nearly enough space for the two of us, not to mention all our stuff.  So, we bought our first home.  The further you got from the metroplex, the more affordable the houses were.  We found ourselves a good 30 minute commute away from our beloved church home.  For about six months, we made the trek every Sunday and Wednesday into Plano.  Finally, we realized that God was calling us away from our "starter" church.  We were very sad, but soon found that God had a fabulous new church home just waiting for us not 5 minutes from our house.

We joined First Baptist Church of Little Elm (now called CrossRidge Church) in 2002.  The worship was *gasp* even more contemporary, but we had grown to love this kind of praise and worship and found it very meaningful.  Our new pastor was every bit as fired up about God and man as our previous one, another outstanding man of God.  Again, we threw all our irons in the fire.  Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday nights, and various other days were quickly filled with church activities.  For seven years, this was our home.  These people were our family.  Both of our children were dedicated in this church.  Just thinking about it gets me teary eyed.  I think we could have been content to be a part of this particular church for the rest of our lives.  But, God had other plans, and eventually it was time to move on.

When we moved to New Mexico, our first order of business was to find a church home.  We had forgotten how challenging this was for us when we first moved to the city.  It proved equally challenging in the small town, but for the opposite reason.  The majority of the churches here are still way more traditional than what we have grown accustomed to.  We searched for about 6 months, before God called us to the church we now call home.  It has been an adjustment and we still miss CrossRidge, but the pastor is wonderful and I have even joined the church choir.  Yes, I said church choir.  We really appreciate many of the things we missed about our traditional upbringing, and we are making many new friends.  In all honesty, however, we never did find a church that fit us in the way CrossRidge did.  So, we have learned to compensate, and here is where I desire your opinion.

A typical week for us consists of:
Sunday morning services at our traditional Southern Baptist church.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday our son attends preschool at the local Presbyterian church.
Tuesday mornings I have MOPS at a different Baptist church and Tuesday evenings are spent in a LifeGroup with people from our home church.
Wednesdays were spent at choir practice but are now being spent attending Financial Peace University at the same church where I attend MOPS.
Thursdays are for Bible Study.  I have been attending Bible Study at a non-denominational church with some family members, but have recently switched to one at our home church.  Honestly, it depends on what the topic that semester is, regarding where I choose to go.
Friday nights we go to church at the non-denominational church  mentioned above.  The worship is very contemporary and closer to what we have grown used to, which is one thing we really like about this church.  After church, we are part of a home group from that same church.

Reading over this, I know it must sound crazy to many of you.  We had difficulty finding one church home that met all our (perceived) needs, so we have sort of spread it out.  Sometimes I am afraid we are spreading ourselves too thin.  I also stress some on where our tithe should go.  Should our whole tithe go to the church where we are technically members?  Or should we divide it up amongst the churches, seeing as we use resources at them all?    Should we commit solely to one church?  Truly, I am truly thankful for the variety.  Also, we have met so many nice people.

In the last 11 years, I have learned that it is not about religion or denomination; it is about God's love.  As long as I am in a church that preaches and teaches God's Word, it doesn't matter what the label above the door says.  So, some may call us wishy-washy or even flaky, but this is working for us...for now.  Who knows what God has in store for us in the future? 

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Urg! That's what we need to do. We have been in Roswell over 5 years now and we still have not found "the" church. Our problem is the main worship service/time - not one we like/works with Brian's work schedule. We miss our church in KS. I know that it's hurt my spiritual life trying to do it all on my own. But do you go to a church you don't like just to go or spend time with God on your own? There is one service that is okay IF we show up 40 minutes late to miss the entirely too long praise & worship. We hate showing up late though, especially if you did it on purpose. Good post, Darby! We need to try some churches again.....

    Oh, and I love the page design. I'm not normally a fan of pink - but I love it!!!