Friday, July 25, 2008

Part 9: Growing Pains

For Part 1 click here
For Part 2 click here
For Part 3 click here
For Part 4 click here
For Part 5 click here
For Part 6 click here
For Part 7 click here
For Part 8 click here

After many months of barely attending and 3 full months of not attending at all, I decided that I had to return to church. After all, even Jesus went to synagogue and He is God (and from what I've read, the religious leadership in His day was seriously lacking).

So I searched the Internet and found a church service on Thursday nights, which was perfect for me, since I was working Friday and Saturday nights. The first time I went, I was surprised at how small it was. After all, I had just come from a church of 10,000 plus. But after that first night I knew that I had found the right place to be. It didn't have the fabulous musical production that I had been accustomed to, but the pastor spoke the message from his heart and that is what kept me returning for more.

This second home that I found is called The Summit. The timing of this post can only be attributed to God Himself. Last night after the church service our pastor shared with us that he has received an offer, for lack of a better word, to join our church with a larger church nearby. This prospect fills me and others that I've spoken to with anxiety. And rightly so. We have come to love our small community of believers. While I have only been there for a year, I count these people as my family.

Joining our family to another is not something to take lightly. Our pastor says it will be like a marriage (The Brady Bunch if you will) of churches and I know intimately just how difficult mixing 2 families can be. I think that my greatest fear is getting lost in a large church again. I feel for the first time in my life as a Christian that my faith is growing deeper and I believe that being part of a small group of Christians that love each other and hold each other accountable is what has made the difference. I know that I'm not alone in the fear that becoming a large church would be a step backwards.

I've learned a lot this past year at the Summit. I've learned that I can share my life and my troubles with others. I can reach out for help when I need it and I can be there to help others that need help too. I've learned that being a Christian is not something you do alone. Yes, it's a narrow path, but there's still room to walk it with someone by your side. I've learned that trials are an opportunity for our faith to grow. I've learned that there is a difference between happiness and true joy.

Life will be filled with conflict, but you can't just give up or bail out when it gets a little tough. We are the net effect of the seeds we have sown in our lives. So this week I will be praying because I've learned that praying is what you do first, not what you try as a last resort.

23 comments:

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Wow... that's a tough prospect. Church is such an intimate choice, and feeling comfortable is huge. I pray the merger goes well...

may-b said...

I come from a small (30 ppl max) local church. There are some great things about it and some things only a larger church can provide. God knows where you all need to be. If it is meant to, it will.

Ronda's Rants said...

We have a church of about 500 and still some fell lost...we have an active small group ministry that is helpful. I have learned as well that you have to reach out to others when you are hurting...it does involve taking a risk but you have so much to gain. Thanks again for sharing ...I think about your story all the time.

Kate said...

Here from ICLW. It's funny that you should mention church size. We are going to change churches because ours has gotten too big.

Martha said...

Best Wishes on your spiritual path, thanks for sharing. I love what you wrote about there is a difference between happiness and pure joy. Hmm, contentment and ecstasy perhaps? Visiting from ILCW.

jennifer said...

Hey My Friend! I don't have time to read...going to try to come back tonight...but I wanted to tell you that you are ROCKIN' the new thumbnail pic! So pretty!

I'll see you in a bit. Have a great afternoon.

Jen

Sue said...

Amen to your last sentence! I am getting better at remembering to pray first thing instead of as an afterthought.

The merger should be interesting....if your church agrees to it.

another day in paradise said...

We have flourished when a part of a small group in a big church. Our kids like going to church with 'all their friends' but we have the fellowship and support of a smaller and more intimate group. So....it can be a good thing.

Z's Mom said...

I know what you mean about the comfort in a small church. Ours keeps growing, which is good, means more believers. But, you don't want to be lost in a big church either. Your other church was huge...
Keep praying...as you've seen, God has a way of working things out!

Helene Taylor, Esq. said...

What a beautifully designed blog - your header art is fabulous - are you the artist behind the scenes?
Helene via iclw

Kendrawolf said...

Helene - the blog is designed by Lena. The credit is at the bottom of the page.

Paradise - you are right about the large church. I should have got more involved.

momofonefornow said...

Hi, over from ICLW,

I think you are on the right path. Pray for God to give you wisdom and discernment. Hopefully that will give you peace when the final decision is made.

Jessica said...

That's great that you found a place for you.

Thanks. I was giddy this morning when I saw it. LOL I could NOT stop staring at it. Shannon did a wonderful job.

Kendrawolf said...

Jessica - I think that I'm going to use her too, when I do my makeover.

Echloe said...

I hope you find that the new church fits you.

ICLW

Kim said...

Hope you have found a great fit for you. iclw

tripmom827 said...

Wow. I can understand why you'd be anxious. We're getting to the point where we don't liek our big church so much anymore. Connection is so important. I am so encouraged by your last sentence, though. I need to remember that!!

ICLW

Nic said...

Your blog struck a chord with me..I am just joining a church after many, many years in spiritual (alomst) wilderness.

I really hope this is everything you hope for. it's nice when God gives us a gentle tug back to him, and even nicer when we respond.

Nic xxx

Headless Mom said...

Thank you for sharing such an intimate story. I just read through all 9 parts-your honesty is touching!

We've struggled with the small church/big church thing, too. So far we haven't moved and so far I think it's the right decision. (Ours started small, grew a little, moved, grew more, took on a smaller church, and has grown more.) I don't know what the answer is, but God does and he will make a move obvious if/when the time is right.

Blessings!

Veggie Mom said...

Never give up--that's the message I get from this inspirational story! BTW, please drop by soon and join our effort to get Uncle Lynn and Pop'rs on Oprah! We're doing an e-mail campaign as part of our Great Pop'rs Giveaway, and you can help! Uncle Lynn and Pop'rs on Oprah? I have my fingers crossed...

Sassy said...

That's a beautiful post. You're a great writer. I'm glad you found somewhere that fits you.

Well Behaved Krissy said...

I'm actually dealing with something very similar right now. Praying as we walk through this together.

sassy stephanie said...

Wow, I think I would have a hard time with it as well. Some churches become so business like. Gives Christianity a bad name.