Just over seven years ago The Furry Guy and I realized it was time for us to leave the church we’d been attending. We spent some time looking for a church. There were many reasons we chose this particular church.
First and foremost, it’s a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church. Scripture is viewed as God-inspired and inerrant. Messages are about how to apply that Truth to your own life. Sometimes the messages are a little uncomfortable to listen to. It can seem like the pastor has been peeking in your window or, even scarier, into your private thoughts. That was very important to us. We didn’t want to be someplace where we only heard things that made us feel good. After all, we’re definitely not perfect. We need to know how to grow in our relationship with God.
It’s a welcoming church. Many of the people who are a vital part of our church have come from some very rough backgrounds—jail, rehab, abuse, and probably just about anything else you can imagine. Your past is past. It’s a place where you are allowed to move forward and allow God to use the hurts from your past to minister to others.
It’s a sending church. Not long after we began attending we discovered that people leave this church frequently. That’s not how it sounds, though. People leave because they’re moving on to what God has for them next. That might be serving in another church. It might be serving in another town. It might be serving in another country. Whatever the reason, you go with the church’s blessing and prayers.
It’s a loving place. When I arrive on Sunday morning I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the sense that I’m at a big, friendly family reunion. I don’t think either of us has ever felt so loved and appreciated in any given place as we do in that group of people. You hear laughter. You might see tears. You’ll hear a lot of noise if you step into the children’s ministry area.
Speaking of the children’s ministry, it’s a church that loves children. I mean really loves children. We have instruments (guitars, marimbas, drums, maracas, and tambourines), puzzles, craft supplies, balls, a foosball table, a doll house, a play kitchen, and more. Those who volunteer to work with the children are encouraged to simply play alongside the little ones. It’s not about lessons (though we do make sure we have good lessons). It’s not about keeping them out of the way of the adults (though we do leave the adult areas to engage in our play). It’s about having fun with the kids. It’s a safe place for children to learn that they are loved and appreciated just for who they are.
It’s not perfect, because it’s made up of people. But, it is the place that God has chosen for us. Which, of course, is the main reason we love our church.