The mission has been declared. The troops have assembled. The target has been sighted.
This daunting task has been set in motion… It’s time to find a new church home.
Lots of weird things change after you find your life partner. Honestly, some of them are not-so-fun. I would love to encourage every engaged couple to stay at the church home that they grew in single, but sometimes as seasons change other variables have to change too in order to keep you supported and growing. It’s frustrating.
Caleb and I met at a Baptist church here in Tuscaloosa. It was a wonderful place to start out here in Tuscaloosa, and I’m glad that I was a part of that group for a year. But to be honest, there was some disconnect there for me before all of this life change took place. But after we got engaged, there was really no ignoring it any more. We needed a place where we could be supported, encouraged to grow, and find our place as a young married couple. We also needed a church where we would feel open and excited about bringing new people, and honestly, our current Baptist church just wasn’t doing that. We weren’t giving much, and we weren’t getting much either. I’m not one to advocate going anywhere that feels like a perpetual spiritual stalemate. I really believe that church is a good place for many. Just maybe not for us in this season of life.
So, a new church. It’s hard to be the new kid again. It’s also so incredibly wonderful to be able to go to a place of worship, engaged, and have people accept and love on you. That’s amazing. Also, that’s scary. It’s hard to find new relationships where you’re valued as an individual while being just as welcomed as a couple. It takes some courage to not just show up but truly arrive at a new place of worship.
We’ve been trying a Methodist church here, and so far we’re LOVING it. It’s a much more “T” friendly set-up, for those familiar with Meyers-Briggs. They’re encouraging and true to scripture while still acknowledging the importance of interpretation and encouraging an open dialogue. This has made all the difference for me, who never grew up a “church kid.” I get distracted by a lot of the fairly normal things that happen when you get that many people all in the same place to talk about religion. The last thing I want to do is make my faith tame. A safe faith has little propensity for the greatness and holy absurdity of God.
What I’ve learned sine the start of college is that I can journal and study for hours each day on my own, but something is just lacking without that element of fellowship. I’m far too good at relying on my own reason and logic instead of the grace of God and the support of others. I’m not good at immersing myself in a group of people. I’ve always had a trend for being the one on the fringes, and that is no one’s fault but my own. In many ways, being on the fringes is incredibly selfish. I’m an introvert, yes. I’m busy, yes. But honestly, it’s not just hurting myself to hover in the background. You never know who needs you until you ask.
I’ve made some goals for myself as this semester continues regarding the church and faith. I want to get to know our new pastor on a personal level, as I’ve never fully taken advantage of having a mentor to trust before. I want to attend church regularly and be a giving member, not just someone who shows up. Even if I don’t have a “leadership” position, I want to be a leader of my own life and offer what I can. I want to listen, and I want to grow.
Basically, this semester does not need to be one of breathtaking revelations. It does need to be one where I grow closer to what I know to be true about the divine. I think that will make being the new kid (again) feel much less painful.
There’s no need for some checklist of attendance. Thanks to grace, we’ve already arrived.