I am sharing our family’s search for community and connection in our new city of Asheville, NC. Each week I plan to talk about one of the areas where we’re working to cultivate relationships. This week I’m talking about our search for a new church home. You can read last week’s post about meeting our neighbors.
It’s important for our family to find a church home wherever we live. We had a unique situation when we moved to Atlanta. The pastor who was marrying us told us that his sister and brother-in-law had started a church in Atlanta and we decided that we’d check it out if it was close to the area where we lived. The church ended up being about thirty minutes from our apartment, which is a decent trek, but we felt immediately welcomed and didn’t look anywhere else to spend our Sunday mornings. The church itself has morphed quite a bit since we started attending thirteen years ago. It moved around in locations, meeting in various elementary and middle schools for multiple years. It has changed names, head pastors, and even met in a movie theater before finally settling into its own building six years ago.
We were firmly imbedded into that church so it’s been a bit of a shock to come up here and not have much of an idea of where we should attend. Adam did live in Asheville for almost two years before we got married and found a church home while he was here. We’ll spend our Sundays worshiping with new congregations until we find one that works well for our family. We do have a number of things we hope to find in our new church. I doubt we’ll find one that hits all of the marks, but believe we’ll find one that suits us.
Yesterday we visited our first church in our new city. It’s a Methodist church because we like the formality at Easter and Christmas. It has potential. We enjoyed the music and the message. There were plenty of families even though it’s still summer. Both kids were with us as first Sundays are communion Sundays and there’s no children’s church. Kaitlyn’s aged out of it at this church anyway. There are Wednesday night kid classes along with small groups. It would be different than what we’re used to. We’ll probably visit some others but I thought it could be an option for our family.
We were in Atlanta this past weekend and went to our church on Sunday. The message was about community and its purpose in being known by others. That’s what we want. It was very nice to be back in a place where a lot of people know us.
Yesterday we visited a second church. We knew very early on that it probably wasn’t a good fit but I wanted to see it through. I felt God remind me that I can worship him anywhere which was encouraging. The congregation was authentic and enthusiastic in worship and believed in the power of prayer which I appreciated. They prayed over all of the kids in preparation for the first day of school.
Sunday we went to Adam’s old church. All new staff since he was there. We met the pastor, youth pastor, and children’s pastor. They were having a big lunch after the second service so first service (our preferred service time) was pretty sparsely attended. We enjoyed the experience. The kids liked having their own classes during service and thought it was their favorite church of the three. It’s the new front runner. The only real downside is that it’s a bit of a drive. I doubt the kids would have anyone from school there. Plus weeknight events would be a bit of a haul. So we’ll see.
It’s a little frustrating that we can only check out one church a week. The naturally slow process will perhaps help grow my patience levels. We’ll find a place eventually.
Have you had any interesting experiences when searching for a church? How did you know that a church was the right one for you?