We switched churches this year. I never expected it to happen, and didn’t really know what to do other than to follow what God was putting on our hearts. My husband and I had attended the same church for over 10 years. It was the first church I became of a member of, the church we were married in, the church our daughter was dedicated in.
It was where I first became involved in small groups, Bible studies, and discovered a love for Beth Moore’s teaching. We loved the Christmas Eve services, the fellowship with our friends, and the amazing mentors that God brought into our lives.
When He released us from that church, it was scary. I was sad to say goodbye to the history we had there, the comfort of familiar faces, a routine we understood. But we were also relieved. Not everything about our time there was positive. I’d had several interactions with church members that were simply insulting, and we were both over-committed and overwhelmed. Instead of receiving a good word and spending time in worship, our hearts had become critical and our minds too full of “behind the scenes” drama to focus on God.
So we took time to pray, and found ourselves drawn to the same church. A newer church, in the next town over, where we only knew (that we were aware of) one other person. In a sea of 1,000, knowing one person is like trying to find that needle in the haystack.
But we went anyway. We prayed like crazy for the first few months that our daughter would simply be able to enjoy her time in the church nursery (and that our number wouldn’t be flashed on the huge screens). We went without the expectation of joining every group, leading something, volunteering for this, or helping with that. We just went to worship.
The familiar faces were gone and our relationship was strengthened in a new way as our family navigated unfamiliar halls and sanctuaries together. Church wasn’t about any of the things we’d known before – it wasn’t about finding our group and sitting in the same place each week. It was just about being faithful and showing up, sitting back to refill instead of constantly pouring out.
As the months have gone on, we’ve started to recognize more faces. Former co-workers, friends from town we didn’t know attended our new church, new co-workers, and – increasingly – more families from our old church. I met people simply because they knew I would Tweet during the service (that’s a good thing, in case you wondered), and I found encouragement through social media as their team responded, sent messages, and reached out to offer assistance any time we needed prayer.
We haven’t joined a small group, a Bible study, or a Sunday School class – yet. We will. We both know how important that is to growing in our faith. But for now? We’re healing, resting, enjoying. Delighting in God and looking forward each Sunday to spending time together in worship. Being called away from our comfort zone was a challenge, but choosing to obey God has blessed us in ways we would never have imagined.