I thought it was about time to give an update on our quest to find a church.
We’ve been here two months and have visited 11 different groups so far. And there are still more we want to visit. A few places we’ve visited several times. The common theme is overwhelming friendliness and a sincere desire to please God. A couple of the groups have already become favorites. Some of the smaller groups desperately need more members.
Visiting a new place every week has its challenges. It can be both exciting and draining. We look forward with anticipation each time as we pull into the parking lot, wondering what sort of group it will be. Will they be friendly? (always yes) Will they have any teens? Will we know anyone? What will the singing be like? (we’ve been spoiled to want good singing) Will the teaching and preaching be sound? Will we get invited to lunch?
We’ve learned not to judge the congregation by the look of the building. Some are large with a steeple and pretty windows. Some are small with low ceilings and no windows. Some are symmetrical and well maintained. Others have random annex buildings added on over the years. Some have comfortable pews. Others have tight uncomfortable ones. Some have air conditioning that works. Others only have fans. Some have crickets. Some have spiders. Some have big screens and powerpoint.
Visitors draw attention, especially when it’s a family of five. We are uncomfortable drawing too much attention to ourselves and wish sometimes we could just slip in and sit on the back row. A few times when we’ve felt tired and weary, we’ve wished we could be unnoticed. But if we did that, we’d miss out on meeting and visiting with some of the nicest people in the world.
Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. They are eager to meet us and find out why we’ve moved to the area. When they find out we are farming, they want to help. When they find out we’re looking for work, they want to help. When they find out we’re starting school, they want to help. When they hear the garage door isn’t working, they want to help.
Curiously though, the different groups don’t seem to know much about the other groups even though they are sometimes only a few miles apart. But we remind ourselves that we have been guilty of the same thing in the past. We have worshipped regularly at one place and rarely visited the surrounding groups. Shame on us.
One of the congregations recently described themselves as vultures on roadkill, regarding their attention to visitors. It was later softened to bees on honey. We have certainly felt welcome and important to them, even if we’re roadkill or bees.