I visited a church today, while the hubs took care of a last commitment at our previous church. It still sounds so weird saying that..."previous church".
The church I visited is a church some of our best friends attend. We've actually been to this church with our friends before they relocated to this new facility. We are crazy about these friends and actually met them at our first church in Oklahoma...another start-up that we both ended up leaving at different times.
The church is close to our home. I was able to stop and get a frozen coffee drink and still arrive in the parking lot in just over 10 minutes. Any church that welcomes people with drinks is a good start...this one does! Yes, I realize that sounds a bit 'fleshly', it's just a 'perk' (pun intended) to this church. They even have a little 'cafe' outside the sanctuary, which is also a nice place to go and visit or meet with others.
The church is not overly large, though it is BIGGER than we've attended in awhile, but it was still VERY friendly. The people clearly care about one another and welcoming was top-notch. Our friend is actually one of the greeter's so I knew that would be a non-issue.
The music was upbeat and worship-full. There was a short skit that was funny and memorable and tied into the message and the sermon was also memorable and meaningful. It seems there are many opportunities to serve in this church.
As God always does, he spoke clearly through this message; the sermon was about "Selfishness". I shared with my husband later that I really felt reassured by God, with regards to this tough decision, from some Scripture we read today out of II Corinthians.
I'm encouraged that this first experience was such a good one. When we searched for our last church, it was a long, arduous experience. If this is any indication of the 'new search' we could find a new church sooner than I thought.
I think it's important to note that each church we have been a part of (3 so far) we have grown and taken SOMETHING with us. Not always ALL good...but definitely pushing and prodding us, as only a loving Father does. The upside to doing the 'church search' before, is we learn a little more about what is important to us and what is not so important. We also have already narrowed the search from our past visits. I guess it's a bit sad to realize and confess we've visited probably 12 churches in the past 3 years.
Oh and my FAVORITE thing about this church...they have this really cool 'encouragement ministry' (you know I'm ALL about encouraging), and the church has this little table where you leave 'secret gifts' for a recipient to encourage them. I think that's such an incredible ministry opportunity and what a blessing!
Paul and I are going to go check out a church even closer to our home next week. It's one that also recently moved to a new facility, but has been established for some time.
I'll be sure to give you some input about that experience same time next week.