Sometimes you just don’t know how to choose between two good churches. Folks, behold the brand new challenge afoot in what I’ve dubbed my “dreaded church search.”
As my husband and I search for a new church in our new locale, we’ve discovered two great options and we’re having a tough time choosing between them. Yes I know, a good problem to have. Certainly this new predicament differs in the level of anxiety we faced first setting out on our journey to find a new church home.
Patheos readers, if you’re scratching your head wondering what in the world this gal is talking about, let me help. Like most bloggers, I find comfort in sharing my fears and worries with kind (and not-so-kind) folks over the Internet. So as my husband and I began visiting new churches, I jotted down my personal worries in what became my “Dreaded Church Search” blog series over on JuicyEcumenism.com. An outpouring of response followed the first and second installment, because what Christian can’t empathize with that feeling of dread while walking into a new sanctuary filled with strangers? Then there’s the feeling of despair as you walk out of a church with a “seeker-friendly” consumer model that prioritizes expanding the parking lot over charitable giving.
Praise God our search has narrowed to two wonderful, faithful churches in our new town. It’s no easy choice.
Both identify with the same evangelical denominational tradition.
Both prioritize community outreach and service over shiny new buildings. In fact, both have food pantries and after-school ministries for local youth.
Both are filled with wonderful, gracious, and imperfect people willing to reach out to imperfect people like myself and my husband.
The differences between the two churches even compliment the other. One pastor prefers expository preaching while the other is a bit more topical. My husband and I appreciate both styles, so long as the minister prioritizes doctrinal integrity above fluffy, cheesy illustrations and apply Scripture to the real spiritual, physical and cultural struggles facing their congregants.
Both ministers avoid fluffy, cheesy illustrations.
The list goes on and on, but do you see our dilemma?
Our balancing act is getting dicey as we float between the two churches on alternate Sundays. But it’s getting harder to hang in non-committed limbo with constant Sunday school and small group invitations. My husband was even offered a spot in the choir at one church. He sings hymns loud and proud. I guess the choir director noticed?
All this to say, the back and forth makes us feel like church hoppers, instead of church searchers. Something we’ve tried to avoid. Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit makes our intuition strong, so that we can know where God wills to use us.
Have you ever faced the dreaded church search? Or maybe, like us, you’ve found yourself wobbling back and forth between two great churches and finally made a decision. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on the “dreaded church search.”