Monday, June 10, 2013

Visiting the Churches

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. ~Lenny Bruce

It has been six months since God called us out from our former church and, yes, we are still without a church home. Yet, it really is so amazing how God has been guiding our spiritual growth outside of the church box and to what churches He has been guiding us. We have visited six non-denominational churches with contemporary Christian music and having a "come as you are" dress code. All of them seem to be Spirit-led and Spirit-filled to differing degrees or at least some are more outwardly expressive than others. Most of the sermons really touched us, saying what the Lord had been laying on our hearts for nearly a year, which was really cool considering we rarely have gone to the same church two Sundays in a row. We have visited all of them at least twice with the exception of Church #6 so far and we have visited Church #4 the most, six times. Here is a summary of their services or things we have learned during a service with "Interesting" being neither a Pro or Con or is a bit of both from the viewpoint of what we would prefer, but it is not about what we prefer, just where my Lord wishes us to be.


Church #1
Pros:
  • Vision for planting churches vs. growing a mega church.
  • Family integrated service.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Many homeschoolers.
Cons:
  • Male-only church leadership. 
Interesting:
  • Praise and worship is after the sermon.
  • Two morning services.
  • Communion available every Sunday.
  • Mostly young families, none over 40 years of age.


Church #2
Pros:
  • Strongly seeking to be led by Holy Spirit.
  • Prophetic preacher.
  • Encouragement to use the gifts of the Spirit.
  • Much freedom in various forms of worship, like using worship flags.
  • No church membership. (They see no Biblical basis for formal membership.)
  • Strong in ministering to people in ministry in other churches.
  • Has a Messianic bent and celebrates the Jewish holidays.
  • No passing the offering plate.
Cons:
  • Very small.
  • No children's programs.
Interesting:
  • Meets on Sunday evenings.
  • Highly Charismatic.


Church #3
Pros:
  • Energetic service.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small. 
  • Much freedom in various forms of worship, like using worship flags. 
  • No passing the offering plate.
Cons:
  • Highly Pentecostal. (Stresses that the gift of tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit.)
  • Not as welcoming to new visitors as others.
Interesting:
  • Long praise and worship time.


Church #4
Pros:
  • Energetic service.
  • Equal opportunity church leadership.
  • Very welcoming to new visitors as well as members.
  • Strong in music, artistic forms of worship, and has a worship flag group.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small.
  • Vision for planting churches.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Some homeschoolers.
  • Good variety of ages, skin colors, and sub cultures, like a motorcycle ministry.
  • God pointed out the building for the new campus and then the county approved it even though it was not in compliance with zoning. (God is clearly blessing this church.)
Cons:
  • Probably the furthest of all the churches, but only about 20 minutes going away from town.
Interesting
  • Black stage sanctuary.
  • Two morning services.
  • Just beginning another campus. (We are in between them, so the new one is not any closer.)


Church #5
Pros:
  • Very close to home, only 5 minutes away.
  • Energetic service.
  • Welcoming to new visitors.
  • Strong in music and visual arts.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Communion available every Sunday.
Cons:
  • Male only leadership. (Noticed when the elders were introduced on our second visit.)
  • Seems to be geared towards mega church attitude.
Interesting
  • Typical traditional format for services, with contemporary atmosphere. 
  • Black stage sanctuary.


Church #6
Pros:
  • Energetic service.
  • Strong in music and visual arts.
  • Children's programs.
Cons:
  • Not as friendly as some, but it was a very stormy day when we visited.
  • Passing of the offering plate.
  • Seems to be geared towards mega church attitude.
  • May be male only leadership.
Interesting
  • Typical traditional format for services and more traditional sermon.
  • Black stage sanctuary.

We are being very cautious and careful about the idea of adopting a church. My husband favors churches #4 and #5 with #2 for Jewish festivals since it meets at night only, but I feel the leadership according to gender thing is a huge stumbling block for Church #5. I like Church #4 also with #2 for the same reasons as my husband. Like us, the Princess likes all of them for differing reasons, but she favors the worship flag churches #2 and #3 at times and the ones with the most children at other times. I am wondering which my Lord has chosen for us or if we are to add to the list of churches to visit.


~ My Lord, we are waiting for You to make known to us where we are to serve and be served. I do thank you for the experience of visiting these churches and meeting with those we will be spending eternity--such a variety of people with so many gifts and such love for You. Please bless each of these churches in their fulfillment of Your purpose for them. ~

2 comments:

  1. Rather you than me ~ but you are learning something of our Lord's nature & His calling from all of them. When the time is right He will plant you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is the weird part. I have never "enjoyed" the process of looking for a church home before. Actually, I still feel we are not looking for one, so maybe that is why I am enjoying visiting different churches or maybe it is the freedom from church obligations, like we are on a vacation from church, but God is definitely traveling with us showing us how to be His church no matter where we go. It makes for an interesting journey.

    While not being settled in a church usually is unsettling for me, this has been rather comfortable and now the idea of settling in somewhere is what makes me feel a bit more unsettled. I think it is because that the more familiar we become with a church, the more we see the politics, but I am fully into trusting God on the entire thing. We usually end up in places where we are needed so they must be imperfect. ;)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.