Square One.

19 Nov

At the very end of February 2012, my husband and I left felt the strong push to uproot our family from our church home of ten years (he had actually been there for thirteen years) and find a new place to worship.

For so many reasons it was a good experience.  It’s unbelievable what you learn being a new face in the crowd at multiple different places of worship. We had a multitude of opportunities to take notes on how to treat guests, what to say and what not to say, what to provide and what not to overwhelm them with, how safe an environment feels, how inviting or ignored you can be by the other attenders, what kinds of worship music are out there, the variety of ways people worship, good preaching and dreadful preaching, scripture being broadcasted or really good stories that have little or nothing to do with the Bible, sections of scripture being broken down or verses pulled out of context all over the place, men leading the church or women leading the church.

We visited A LOT of churches in six months time.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hated it though.  Even when I saw good lessons, it was such a painful time.  Not having a place to call “home”, encouraging the kids to go into some classroom with a brand new face by saying, “it’s OK, go ahead with (what’s your name ma’am?) Suzie, you’ll be just fine.”  All the while wondering in my own head if they’d be just fine.  Everyone was a stranger not just to them, but to us too. Feeling like every time you went somewhere and got in the car from a bad experience that you wasted another week not finding a church home.

I will never forget when I ate, not just a piece, but a HUGE helping of humble pie.  I remember waking up one Sunday morning and saying “I can’t do it today.” We decided to have church at home.  We read scripture, we sang, we prayed and it was a good experience with the kids.  But that afternoon as I was digesting everything that happened — it hit me.  For the first time, I completely understood why “those people” who call themselves Christians don’t go to church anywhere.

It is REALLY hard to find a church, and after so many bad experiences, it is so discouraging and tiring on your mind, body and spirit.

In October 2012, we found a church that wasn’t awful. We saw immediate problems, but the church was only one month old, so we agreed to give it some time.  After one year and one month, we’re back at square one.

I’m devastated.

If we aren’t going to find a Biblical Church, at the very least, we’ll go to one that isn’t a 35 minute drive every week and save the money and time for other things we need. It was very hard to be plugged in when you’re not in the community regularly in which you worship.

I have no idea where else to try.  There aren’t any churches around here doing it God’s way.  I’m not saying a church doesn’t exist in America, but it sure seems like they are so watered down by American ideals, concepts and mindsets that we say we want God 100% but our actions show that we want God 50%.

We also want women to lead in the church, scripture to be taught with one verse and 30 minutes of relatable stories, louder – brighter – more entertaining and talented performers on stage instead of genuine worship leaders, entire sections of scripture to be completely ignored, continued ignorance for spiritual gifts (what they are, why they are crucial, and how to implement every believer together to make a church function as a complete body having everyone plugged in and in the proper places) to allow every willing hand to be a small group leader, teacher, and committee member instead of having any spiritual accountability or evidence of maturity, surface level relationships, guilt-ridden requests to serve in the nursery because you have nursery age children, comfortable situations where you can come be fed and then leave without serving or being involved at all, LOTS and LOTS of salvations from emotionally driven messages without any immediate actions to mentor to maturity new believers (unless like I already mentioned, it’s by someone who raised a willing hand to lead a class or group and has had no accountability for their own maturity) churches filled to the brim with believers and yet only 10% of them actually read their Bibles daily or have any idea what is really in it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not looking for the Perfect Church. I know the saying “If there was a perfect church, it was stop being perfect the minute I entered it because I’m not perfect.”  And I completely agree.

But I’m yet to find a church where they even have 80% of it right, and struggle in one or two areas.  Most churches struggle with at least half of the things I mentioned above – and a whole list of things I didn’t even include there.

We’re studying Acts right now, and every time I read that book I think, “God forgive us.  We have strayed SO FAR from your original plan for the church and the way you designed it to function.”  I can’t even image what Paul and Peter would say if they attended a church today.  No doubt we’d get one of their “in your face lectures” for sure! And maybe, we need to hear it.

Practical Application:

I’m not sure what to write here today other than to think about some questions.

How healthy is your church?

When you read through Acts, does your church model what is taught?

Does your church help believers understand spiritual gifts and get them plugged in where they need to be have a healthy and complete body of Christ?

If not – can you be a part of the solution?


6 Responses to “Square One.”

  1. Kristen November 19, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Praying for you!!

  2. Jenn November 19, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I feel for you. 😦 When we found our church “home” it was such a relief. And wouldn’t you know, 5 years later I have felt feelings of disconnect. I realized the disconnect is me. You have all of the priorities in line, #1 being biblical teaching and believing. Since we are in very different regional places, I will pray for you to find a place to worship among other believers. Our pastor said last week, it is important to have a place to worship because Christ is the head of the body of the church. You cannot disconnect the head from the body, therefore you need both. Christ-centered worship in a Bible believing and instructing church. Be oh so careful of what you called “American ideals” churches. I visited my sister’s church and I cannot judge by this one instance, but the fruit it bears concerns me. He cussed (nothing huge, but why?!?!) and I thought oh my, what have we considered to be ok these days?

    • Kayla Gulick November 19, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Great point your pastor made Jenn!! Thanks for the support and prayers! I am hopeful God has something in stone we simply can’t see yet.

  3. howsyourlovelife November 20, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    We have lived in six states so far in our marriage, and it gets harder and harder to find a church each time. This last move was truly painful because we were coming from a vibrant, healthy church and it’s so hard to find again. What we found is hardly perfect, but we see the potential, and believe we are there to help it reach that potential. It’s so interesting to me that we aren’t supposed to judge, and yet have to when seeking the best place of worship for our families.
    I’ll be praying for you for sure. Have you checked the Willow Creek website? It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s where we start our search: http://www.willowcreek.com/membership/profilesearch.asp

    • Kayla Gulick November 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks girl! I’ll check out the link 🙂

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