Well, before you think I grabbed the plastic and ran for Macy’s, that is not exactly what we were in the market for.
If you’ve read my posts, you have discovered that we moved from the city limits to a very small town that is a sizeable distance from civilization, including a good mall and a decent church.
When we first moved to this one-horse town, we attended a small group that made a creative congregation. Well, as all things do, changes came to our small group that made it necessary to find another place to worship. It was some time before we really made any attempt to look for a new church. Heck, quite a long while, so long that I was worried that the rafters may fail us upon entry. However, in comes the New Year’s Resolutions, and with that a recognized desire that we are much nicer people to one another when we keep our lives balanced with some spiritual and personal growth activities. You know, “More wagging, less barking.”
So, on a quest we have embarked, to find a new church “home”. We really don’t care if it is a big or a small congregation. Hubby really wants something that is close to home, so when looking for prospective churches, I tried to find a couple that are closer to home, before actually going all the way into town (about one-half hour’s drive) for a church. We decided on the one closest to home, which was only about 5 miles away.
Some of the other criteria we were looking for were as follows:
- Contemporary Music (Hubby’s top item)
- Captivating Pastor with great oratory and teaching skills (Farie’s top item)
- Youth group activities for Munch
Now before I delve into the nitty-gritty of our first “test church” I want to say that my irreverent style of humor is not meant to impune or diminish what someone’s faith means to them. I mean no disrespect when I share this experience with you. I just couldn’t help but find the whole thing a little bit….well, freaking hysterical. Here’s how it started…
As we traipsed across the parking lot, all I could think to myself is “I wonder how charismatic this church is?” It was obvious that the church had some renovations that probably weren’t well thought out, as it was difficult to figure out exactly which door was the main door that led into the sanctuary. But, looking through the glass door, I saw an elderly man with a handful of bulletins, so we knew we were headed in the right direction.
Upon entry we were greeted by said elderly man and made our way to the right, through two large wooden swinging doors. And when we went through, well, all I could think was “is this a church or have I been transported to the rec room from the movie “Caccoon”? We were surrounded by wonderful, friendly, yet primarily elderly faces. There seemed to be about 40 attendees, of which 34 of them were 65 and older. The whole concern about charismatic flew out the window. We were instantly greeted by everyone on the left hand side of the sanctuary. Everyone just shaking hands, smiling, introducing themselves.
Once the service actually began, all I could think was “Lord, I haven’t heard that hymn since Hector was a pup.” The church owned a piano/organ. There was a set of drums in the far corner, but I don’t think they used them much. The husband and wife worship team, which was composed of the wife playing the piano and her husband, standing next to her with his hand on her shoulder, singing, didn’t strike me as drum playing types. Neither did any of the rest of the congregation. But I can tell you that the congregation could belt hymns out with the best of them! Some were moved so completely by the Spirit, that they began dancing (Munch was about to start giggling, but a quick jab to her ribs stopped that just in time). The man in front of us was doing some sort of “push” type move with his hands that I thought was going to send Munch into hysterical spasms of laughter. (Jab) Then a gentleman on the other side of the church came forward and dropped to his knees and then bowed completely down, and all I could think was, “Lord, don’t let his hip give out now!” It was all I could do to not make Hubby go over there and help him up. Apparently, charisma is alive and well at this church!
Then the minister got up and talked about how he was ready to meet the Lord. All I could think was, “well, I’m not quite ready…that’s why I’m here.” The minister then did what I think all pastors do when they don’t want to prepare a sermon. They pass the proverbial buck. He had asked a few of the church elders to speak about what they have learned from God in the past year. There were four people who got up and spoke, two of which said they were ready to meet the Lord. I was seeing a theme here…
Now before you think, “Ok, Farie, maybe you’re being just a little too close-minded”, I need to let you know that there were only two other children in the Sanctuary, besides Munch. They were both middle school girls, one of which was the granddaughter of the Pastor’s wife and the other was the daughter of the youth Pastor. The later was dressed like a Hip Hop artist, and was slumped down in the pew with her Ipod turned on with earplugs in. Seriously. This didn’t exactly breed confidence in the youth program, if you know what I mean.
Now, I know better than anybody that churches are filled with imperfect people, I being one of them. And,the people seemed genuine, kind and friendly. However, I still think that common ground is helpful when looking for a place to worship, and I’m not sure this was the one. Seriously, we just want to find a church were we can worship and I don’t have to explain what it means to talk in tongues. (Question from Munch on the ride home)
I will keep you posted. The next one is 7 miles away from home. Who knows?