Church Hunting? Maybe, Maybe Not

Let me preface this by saying we love our church. We’ve been attending for at least three years, and really enjoy the strong Biblical teaching and outreach at that church. It’s an amazing church and I don’t think it’s wrong to say I’m incredibly proud and honored to have been attending and being a part of their mission for the past three years.

But.

I’m ready to attend church in a regular building again. You see, in New Jersey our church met first in a movie theater, and then at a local Boys & Girls Club. This required us to set up and tear down our equipment each and every week for YEARS. When we moved to SC in 2006 we visited a few regular churches (meaning they owned their own buildings) and never felt like we fit in. Then we found our current church, which meets in a movie theater, and we knew we found our church home. We dove in, volunteering on various committees. During the past three years I’ve been in the band, on the sound team, on the video team, and part of child care. Denis has done child care as well as participating on the set up/break down team.

Last month I brought my participation to a close. While I enjoy the church (and love the things our pastor teaches), I wasn’t enjoying the volunteering 2-3x a month. Also, our small group recently disbanded and I felt kind of like I was just floating through church on Sundays. I wasn’t enjoying it like I should, despite the fantastic teaching and people.

The past two weeks we visited another church and have decided not to go back. The teaching is fine (coincidentally, the pastor is a guy I was sort-of friends with in college), but I have a couple issues, most important of which being that other than one couple (that we already knew before we even visited), no one from the church presented themselves to us. Absolutely no one. There just seems to be no outreach to visitors. The pastor is completely MIA except for when he’s on stage preaching. During our two Sundays I never saw him out in the crowd. Granted, we attended the second service of three this church offers, but I still think it’s important for the pastor to make himself available other than being on stage.

Long time readers may recall that lack of outreach is the very reason we left a perfectly good church and subsequently found the one we’ve been attending.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to our old church, and who knows, maybe upon walking in I’ll realize that I don’t want to go anywhere – after all, for the most part the church satisfies my needs.

Stay tuned…

My Signature

5 comments

  1. Sorry to hear we won’t see you back. It was great seeing you guys there and I know Emma enjoyed the kids there. I know it won’t change your mind but I just have to throw out there that I’ve seen Chris multiple times out in the lobby between services talking to people. Other than that, I’d agree that visitor greeting is slim. I think it’s just because almost everyone is a visitor. They’ve doubled size in 18 months and I just don’t think anyone knows who is a “member” and who is a visitor.

    Anyway, good luck in finding a place, I know it’s tough!

  2. @Amy, our church has tripled in size since we moved to a larger and more visible facility. To keep the same small feeling, we have a dedicated and trained crew of greeters, who are positioned in the lobby and outside the doors when weather permits, to greet each and every person. They are trained to look for folks who seem not to know where to take their kids, or who are looking around our lobby (we have a very unusual architecture so visitors often stare at it) and to welcome them particularly. We also have a dedicated “Connection Center” in the lobby with signs saying you can ask questions there.

    It’s difficult for the average attender to keep up with the changes in faces, particularly if you have multiple services (we have three), but a dedicated greeting crew can go a long way to making it feel friendly for visitors.

  3. Well it figures that our regular church had an AMAZING service today – truly outstanding, from fantastic worship music to an incredible sermon. *sigh* They aren’t making it easy to think about looking elsewhere. *lol*

  4. Jaynee, I totally understand what you are saying. We’ve been through the church without a permanent location, and the church that is growing, and neither is ideal. I wish we were at a church that is where I feel we will stay, but it is a constant struggle for me to be content. Maybe it is an attack of Satan to try to drive a wedge. We’ve been at our church for several years and haven’t made close contacts or friends. Could be our fault for not reaching out, I don’t know!

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