/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » thinking about church

Mark & I are in this strange place where we’re church-hunting. It’s not strange to some people, but it’s strange to us, because we’ve been a part of a church community for the past 3 years – and we were happy, fed, and had a place to plug in within that community, so there was no need to go hunting.

But now, we’re in a new city and state and know virtually no one. As much of a DIYer as I am and as self-sufficient as I enjoy being, I can’t do life alone. I’m an introvert, but I’m not a hermit; I still need people. And so we’re poking around different places.

We’ve visited small churches, giNORMOUS churches, and middle-sized large churches and still have a list of places we’d like to experience. We’ve come to the conclusion that 2|42 Community Church spoiled us rotten; by the time we left, our spiritual DNA and the DNA of the church were nearly identical.  Mark and I groove on the idea that money is a tool – not necessarily for building flashy facades and towering steeples, but to use to benefit the community and the under-resourced.  We spent three years doing something called ServeFest, which is 2|42’s way of showing God’s love to the community with random acts of kindness – and without any strings attached.  So we’ve scrubbed toilets on frat row at the UofM (on a Saturday morning – need I say more?), served a meal and provided toiletries to homeless people in a park, stocked the Hope Clinic with needed supplies for young families, served meals at the Delonis Center, provided makeovers for battered women in a shelter, yard work for a neighborhood, water and popsicle giveaways on the hottest days of the year, soda giveaways at intersections, etc.  This rocks our world and we appreciated the opportunities we had to do these things.  I’m also incredibly pleased that 2|42 has had two annual Big Gives – in which the entire Sunday’s offering is given away – not a dime stays in the church’s budgetary coffers.  It’s a way of life that we appreciate – sacrificial giving and serving others as an outgrowth of our love & faith.

So enter now:  we visit churches who make a splash with size and the rest, and I find myself … uncomfortable.  I have no place or right to pass judgment on any congregation, but I find myself looking around the really big ones and thinking how much the money that goes in to keeping the place up & running during the week (the time between services) could benefit the community with outreaches and ServeFests.  I don’t begrudge any church their budget – at all – but I find myself thinking that if a church doesn’t have times of giving without strings attached, I don’t want to attend there.

We’re also mindful of children’s ministries at different places and it’s important to us that a child-security system be in place where we worship.  There was a time in our world when that wasn’t necessary – but we don’t live in that time anymore.  One place we visited gave us a “grocery store key tag” (you know the kind – the ones you scan for extra discounts) that was assigned to our child.  Without it, we would be unable to retrieve our boy and take him home – which means that kids who might otherwise be at risk for abduction (family abduction is the #1 type of abduction in the US) are safer.  I like that.

So the hunt continues – in some ways, I wish it were over and we could be settling in to a community of faith.  In other ways, I know it’s only been about 3 weeks since we landed here and it’s going to take time.  But it just reminds me of what an amazing community we left behind and how blessed we were there.

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