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Survey says!!!…Satisfaction Guaranteed?

January 14, 2008

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Based on the links I provided in my last post – I’m curious to know a couple things.

What is your “criteria” in looking for a Church?

If you have a Church home – why that church?

How does what you’re looking for or what you’ve found line up with scripture…particularly pertaining to teaching, leadership, accountability, etc…?

If you are not a “Church” attender, why?

If you are not a believer, why? And I’m curious to know if any reasons in the UnChristian link apply to your stand?

This is a safe place, as always, no one is going to be ridiculed. We might challenge one another but I trust that will be respectfully done.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2008 9:12 am

    As of the beginning of this year (so just a couple of weeks) we have begun the search for a new church home. For 12 years we’ve attended the same church. We decided to leave because of something the Pastor has been preaching that we don’t agree with.
    Finding a new church is challenging. I feel like when we walk into a new church that we’ve totally walked into a new town because I don’t recognize anyone. It is a strange feeling.
    I miss the “church family” at the old church but several have left also because of the same reason.
    I have no clue if I answered your question…but it feels good to get that out there (how I feel about the new search).
    ~Amy

  2. January 14, 2008 9:23 am

    Morning Amy! Good to see you!

    So let me ask…is what the Pastor preaching on opposing the Word of God?

    Have you gone to him with your concern?

  3. January 14, 2008 9:26 am

    1.Criteria:
    bible-based (teaches, preaches ALL aspects of God’s word)
    Pastor who is more interested in proclaiming truth than pleasing listeners and who lives above reproach
    Leadership who is loving, welcoming, and easily identified as people of God
    More emphasis on teaching and discipling than music, atmosphere, building, and tradition
    Community-oriented, missions-minded…

    2.My church home is a combination of nearly all of the above and what is lacking isn’t of highest priority – the pastor, leadership, and excellent teaching/training are top-notch and rare in today’s churchs

    3.Lines up with scripture very well. The Lord has also greatly blessed and provided for the church’s growth and ministry to the community which I think is a clear sign of its alignment with His will

    As I get older I do notice more inconveniences, lapses in my home church’s different ministry facets but I am more convicted than ever that it is my role to do what I can to pray for and help out with those things rather than pick up and leave or slander it. I also notice that many of the weaknesses in the church can be connect with the members that keep taking from it and don’t pour back in like they should. Those that are committed and sacrificial in volunteering their time and talents are the ones left to handle everything. No wonder many churches simply can’t cover every need – its “members” aren’t doing their part…

  4. January 14, 2008 10:47 am

    I went from church to church trying to find something that was right for me.

    When I settled down into one, I quickly realized it is not what is right for me but rather how can I serve the Bride.

  5. January 14, 2008 11:00 am

    The simple reason I don’t believe in god is because I don’t see any reason to think he does exist.

    I grew up in a family of believers, my mother a Protestant, my father a Catholic. I attended church and accepted the existence of God because that’s what I was being told by everyone I knew.

    Around the time I became a teenager I learned that not everything I was bing told was true. History books are full of examples where beliefs held by whole nations of people were wrong. I learned to start asking questions. I realized that I had never actually felt the presence of God myself.

    My system of beliefs is based what I have learned, using reason and logic, and the experiences I have had in life. The question of whether God exist is irrelevant to my life.

    My observation is that religious beliefs don’t really say anything about what kind of a person we are. There are caring Atheist and caring Christians. There are intolerant Atheist and intolerant Christians.

    Religion reflects how people live in the world but I don’t think belief, or non belief, in God determines how people work and live with each other.

  6. January 14, 2008 12:41 pm

    Recently I switched churches and can I just say that, that was one of the hardest things! Leaving a church you have been in for so long and starting over is rough to say the least.

    While I was looking into a church the first thing I checked was if my beliefs matched up. 2nd was that I personally preferred a more contemporary church. I love more comtep. music so any place with some organs and a piano only, werent gonna cut it.

    Third….the people. I wanted to see if I was welcomed or if it was a more “clique” oriented church. I do not mean…I was welcomed by the welcoming team….I was looking to see if I was welcomed by the attenders.

    Forth……could the pastor keep my attention? I went to a church and everything was going great until the pastor opened his mouth. I kid you not, he sounded just like The Church Lady from SNL. No joke. I had to stop myself from laughing. That was a no-go. haha

    And 5th in my Top 5 list would be the Childrens Ministry. As a parent I feel that my kids need a place to go where they actually want to go back the next week. This is a tricky thing because there have not been many churches where my kids felt it was all that great.

  7. January 14, 2008 1:29 pm

    Joe – Right on!

  8. January 14, 2008 2:40 pm

    Yes we just did the church search a few years ago. It’s so frustrating and time consuming and then one of us liked it and the other one did not. Our criteria wasn’t too difficult. We wanted a strong bible based teaching and basically to walk away challenged each Sunday. I remember sitting down in our church for the first time and after hearing the wonderful message and getting a strong sense of community I teared up and my husband both looked at each other and said this is it!

  9. January 14, 2008 4:28 pm

    I don’t have much criteria for church hunting..the church we are at is not always my taste in music, but they aren’tplaying it for me. I believe the word of God has to be taught. Before we came to this church, I was on my face over the last one, and felt that it was wrong to jump ship just because things were rough. but God actually moved us from one to another, we never shopped. So we are sure that we are blessed in this.

    I don’t know if anyone can be content in thier own choiceof churches, I think it has to be something that the Lord has pulled together with HIS plan in mind. It s really not about what I like, its about what I need. To be in HIS house, with a Pastor as my shepherd and looking over my soul as God has led him. I don’t know if that makes sense, but my church family is very special to me, and they can teach me alot.

  10. Heather Blankenship permalink
    January 14, 2008 7:04 pm

    Hey Tam, This is sort of on subject… I did not find my church…. it found me. See, I grew up in a church from the age of four until the age of 20, when I left because I was in pain and was sick of “christian cliches”. I did not attend a church at all for two years or more. Now keep in mind I was a very involved member of this church for sixteen years and never missed a Sunday if I could help it. I was gone for six or seven months and people would see me out and about and say, hey I did not see you this week where were you? I would say, really, I have not been in _____months funny that you did not see me this week!”

    I never stopped believing in Christ, nor did I stop having a relationship with Him. A little over two years of being out of Church, Jon was offered a job at the church we attend now. I remember going in with Jon to meet the pastor and I told him very bluntly, that I had no problem with Jon having the job, but don’t expect me to come to church at all! I will never forget the sense of acceptance that swept over me when he looked at me with compassion and said, “that is ok with me, we are hiring Jon and don’t expect you to do anything.”
    Of course I tested that theory, I did not attend much at all for about six months or so. When I did come, I was overwhelmed by the love. I had come from a church that I felt expected me to look the part of a put-together-christian, instead of the broken, depressed and burned out one I was. You know that name it and claim it mentality can only carry you so far! 🙂 I just could not fake it any longer. God knew this and brought me to a bible believing and bible living church. They were a port in the storm for me and I have experienced a lot of healing while attending.

  11. January 14, 2008 7:09 pm

    Thanks for all the responses guys, and gals 😉

    Epiphany, I think you hit it in that a lot of the shopping is a result of not getting what one wants…or not wanting to get involved.
    And this statement here you said…”Those that are committed and sacrificial in volunteering their time and talents are the ones left to handle everything. No wonder many churches simply can’t cover every need – its “members” aren’t doing their part…” is great. And what about those who depend on the Pastor to hold their hands and feed them their milk – and when something goes wrong it’s their Pastors fault? Often times the Pastor has not elevated himself – the people have by their own dependency on him instead of God. Another topic I know – and it urks me too…

    Joe, I’m with my man…Right On! I’m so glad you stopped by to say that!

    Ed, I really appreciate your point of views on these matters. I am so glad you share your wisdom and experiences with us. Did you happen to read the UnChristian post? I’d really like your thoughts on that!

    Gretch, I remember you writing about that SNL Sunday – that is hilarious!! There is always gonna be something we dislike, for one reason or another, in a church environment. It is impossible to please everybody. BUT, should that be the churches goal? Especially if they are a sound and strong biblical church and leadership?

    Girl, I’m glad you found a church. And i like what you said…your criteria wasn’t too difficult. have you found that people have an unrealistic expectation and check list, or shopping list, when it comes to church shopping? And I don’t like any of those terms by the way 😯

    Darla girl! Yup, it’s not about what we like always. We’re such a me-me-me society. Is your Pastor accessible?

    What do you think should be the responsibility of the attender?

  12. January 14, 2008 7:16 pm

    Heather, we posted our comment at the same time.

    Wow! Well i am so glad you and Jon are at this church. Brent just read this and said that the leadership is obviously a respectful and godly one. There response to you really impressed me. Did you think they would respond to you that way? And what has that whole experience n your last church revealed to you? Has it changed how you look at others in a similar situation?

  13. January 14, 2008 7:20 pm

    “What is your “criteria” in looking for a Church?” REAL people, living REAL lives, REALLY loving eachother, a big bald pastor and spirit led worship.

    “If you have a Church home – why that church?” Because that’s where He led us through prayer and searching…that’s all we needed. Oh, and ur there! 😉

    “How does what you’re looking for or what you’ve found line up with scripture…particularly pertaining to teaching, leadership, accountability, etc…?” Well, everything from reaching out to people and loving them where they’re at to praying with us (I’ve missed that up front stuff) is there. We had quite the accountability showing on Sunday. Transparency is so important regardless of your calling!

    I’m a eternally greatful the last two do not apply…. love ya!

  14. January 14, 2008 7:27 pm

    Hey Debbers! I love being able to share our church experience together! We are very glad the Lord led you and Jer there…and then back again 😉

    And Jer must have been praying for us all again Sunday, cuz I hit some of those awkward notes…HAHA!!! Kidding!

    You working all this week?

  15. January 14, 2008 7:36 pm

    Chris and I went through an extensive email exchange for over a month when we were contemplating leaving our old church. Even while Kathy, the kids and I were traveling through Germany…

    We hammered out what we called ‘the model’. Much more than I could (or you would want) post here.

    As it turns out, we’ve ended up with different models now almost two years later.

  16. January 14, 2008 7:50 pm

    “the model” as in your ideal “church”?

  17. January 14, 2008 10:19 pm

    I’ve basically attended two churches my entire life. They are two completely different churches. However, I didn’t change my membership over to the second church until right before Jeff and I got married. I grew up in church, and with the idea that a church is not the building or the pastor, but rather church is the people who worship together in that building. I can go back and minister in music at or just visit my childhood home church and it feels like I never left. I am greeted and treated like a family member.

    We must decide that we believe what believe is not because someone told us to, but because we have come to believe it. My prayer for my children is that they would always know that God is God not because I told them to believe that, but because of The Holy Spirit working in their hearts.

    There was a point where I had to decide that what I had been taught was true. There were two points in my life where I came to a cross roads in my faith. One when I was 16 and realized that I had never been told about a personal relationship with Jesus until I was counseling at a Christian camp and saw my campers accept Jesus as their Savior. The other time I was older I thought that there had to be more to this God thing that what I was experiencing. I was on staff a church at that point. I asked God to reveal Himself to me and light a fire in me to know Him like I have never known Him. I felt like that was a do or die time for me. If “church-going” was going to be more than just a weekly social event for our family something had to change, or if that was all it was supposed to be then that was going to be that.

  18. January 14, 2008 10:29 pm

    Tam, I realize that I didn’t really answer your questions. I too wasn’t surprised at the responses for people not wanting to go to church. I think that we are hypocritical, judgmental, and anti-homosexual (we should be seen as anti-sin). Too political is eh, I don’t know. I think that we should come out from the shelter and be more aware of what is happening in politics. Being too concerned about getting converts is a hard one. We are called to Go out into all the world baptizing believers…

    I think that theses are genuine issues that my church needs to deal with. But, things can’t improve or change if we run at the first problem or difficult issue that arises. I was once told that I can serve up front as long as I don’t bring up “messy” things that have to do with the Holy Spirit because that might bring up some issues for people and that would be difficult to deal with. Cha-What? Aren’t we supposed to work out our faith? Aren’t we supposed to ask questions?

    As Christians we can’t appear to be superior and know-it-alls. We must be real, authentic Jesus followers, not just church goers.

  19. January 15, 2008 2:32 am

    My Pastor is very accessable, and a true picture of Jesus to me. The only thing that I really wanted that wasn’t at this church, I struggled with and prayed about-and God told me that it was for me to begin..and HE truly opened all the doors, and I am not missing nothing. Learning to love the body of Christ, and Diversity is what makes us a city on a hill…I love it, and I love how HE brought us here, and I don’t want to have something I want if HE isn’t in it. Does that make sense?

    (my pastor is also bald! LOL)

  20. January 15, 2008 4:28 am

    We looked at the childrens ministry first. We wanted to make sure our kids weren’t going to play only but to learn about the God of the universe who created their beings. We teach them at home but we wanted church to be a worshipful experience for not only us but also them.

    Then we looked for the teaching … was it from the Word of just the mouth of the man behind the podium? Was the church reaching out to the community it surrounded, actually BEING the church or was it expecting the Community to come to them without going out into it? We looked at the worship … was it authentic or was it a show?

    Then we looked at the people … were they real or wearing Sunday masks? were they doing life together or separately? Did they love on everyone they met or did they scoff?

    Now no church is 100% perfect in these areas but some churches do better than others. we wanted to be a part of a church that strived to BE the church and was honest when it wasn’t working exactly right and would work on the things it needed to.

  21. January 15, 2008 6:14 am

    What is your “criteria” in looking for a Church?
    *For me, for us as a family, it was a matter of going where the Lord led. We had been attending, and were heavily involved in, a church that was veering off-track more and more. The pastor (whom I really have the utmost respect for) seemed to be confused about the fact that his opinions were simply that. He used Scipture less and less and the “I thinks” more and more. His wife was/is mean as a snake; not to me or my family, but to other children.
    We did church at home for quite awhile while praying about the whole situation. We attended many churches locally and met many wonderful people in all denominations and it was an amazing time.

    If you have a Church home – why that church?
    *For the last 3 years we’ve been attending a church that’s an hour away. It’s honestly the first time in my *coughcoughmanycoughcough* years of church attendance that I’m constantly amazed by a pastor that leads people AWAY from him and always towards Christ. Music that is geared towards a heart offering to the Lord. Egos held in check. An imperfect group of folks who love the Lord and each other. A church that reaches out. For our family, it was an affirmation of what church should be. And I have that little Pharisee that is constantly challenged while attending corporate worship. I love it!
    But what really pleased me as it broke my heart was seeing how my kids responded. I didn’t realize how much damage had been done by attending our previous church.

    How does what you’re looking for or what you’ve found line up with scripture…particularly pertaining to teaching, leadership, accountability, etc…?
    *It lines up completely. For the first ime… LOL!

    If you are not a “Church” attender, why?
    *We are attenders now. But for the year that we weren’t, it was a matter of waiting on the Lord while still studying together as a family. Our time of wandering was a time of huge growth for us…

  22. January 15, 2008 7:14 am

    “the model” as in your ideal “church”?

    Nah… we were just figuring out what the greeter should look like, we never got around to talking about the chruch itself. 😉

    Yeah, we have / had a whole list of stuff that was important and other stuff that we wanted to avoid. Both families decided to go to Cedar Ridge (Brian McClarens church) eventually. We stayed there for about a year and a half. I even started leading worship, but it wasn’t really doing it for Kathy and I. The larger church just further revealed things about the modern model that we didn’t like. Chris and fam are still there. Kathy and I started a Simple Church with some families in our community.

  23. January 15, 2008 9:15 am

    Morning Tam,

    yes, we went to the Pastor about our concerns (this Pastor has only been there a year)….and yes, we understood him right. Also all the elders are in agreement with him. I didn’t feel right attending a church where I couldn’t bring an unbeliever because they might not be “choosen”.

    so, now we are church “shopping”…..it has been a hard thing trying to find a church home.

    ~Amy
    P.S. look at my blog and watch the video of the preacher. now, if I could attend this church….I would be rolling in the isles. 🙂

  24. January 15, 2008 9:19 am

    When we left our church home of 8 years I was really jazzed to find a more “contemporary” church. After being stifled in the music area for so long, I thought this was such a top priority. Unfortunately all of the hip churches had other problems. Things like being very unfriendly and/or unbalanced teaching.

    In the end we chose a church that was smaller, and had great preaching. And guess what, the music thing fell in line and had a place for us to serve and grow as musicians. The friendliness was slow to come in this church, but after 2 years I’m happy to report that we now have a new family and it was worth the wait.

  25. Heather Blankenship permalink
    January 15, 2008 9:56 am

    Tam- Yes I do respond differently to people now. The last church I was a part of was a very closed system. I was raised with an us vs. them mentality about other churches.
    The leadership at my current church is amazing. They truly do want to model an accurate view of Jesus and of the church in the way it was intended. My own view of God has changed so much over the past six or seven years of being on staff here. He has made Himself known to me.

    Honestly, I am convinced that the reason my church is here, is to be a healing center for people with similar experiences. I see it all the time!

  26. January 15, 2008 4:40 pm

    Interesting post and responses. I am currently “in transition”.

    Is hard to go out and sit in a different church every sunday. I am waiting on God to lead the way. Just like someone wrote in their comments, I prefer the Church to find me rather than I go hopping from place to place every Sunday.
    In my case, I made the desicion to go because I no longer was “into the vision”. I served to close to know a little too much. I became disappointed and felt let down.

    For a while I struggled and pray. Even though I was attending physically, spiritually I was not being fed. And basically that’s the bottom line. I also need to trust those in the Leadership positions of my church, which I no longer did.

    I am not a consumer. Ministry is hard. But I am thankful to that church for many wonderful things that happen to me, while I was there.

    Thanking you Tam for challenging us to come clean.

  27. January 15, 2008 6:52 pm

    “What is your “criteria” in looking for a Church?”
    Bible teaching, Simple, Warm, Lots of personality

    “If you have a Church home – why that church?”
    Honestly, I am where I am at, cause that is where God opened s door for me to be in ministry. I had the opportunity and I wanted to serve. Now that I am where I am at in this church, I am blown away at how fortunate I am to be a part of a church like I am. If I was to seek out a church right now, I am not sure where I would look or if my criteria would change, but it has to remain focused on me serving Him, not sitting still and stagnant

    “How does what you’re looking for or what you’ve found line up with scripture…particularly pertaining to teaching, leadership, accountability, etc…?”
    Doctrine and theology aren’t huge, but a part of it. the church has to have a simple approach and a pure focus on teaching what it means to love God and love people. I want a church that is going to encourage me to meet with God and encourage me to reach out. I’ve been a part of that. I just want to be on an honest journey to seek God with a group of people wanting the same thing

  28. January 15, 2008 7:15 pm

    Wow… there is so much to say, I almost need to write a post about this one! I love love love my church. I love it because it preaches the Word… the whole Word. My pastor doesn’t preach to make us feel good, but preaches to us what we need. There is something special about our church – the Healing Spirit moves every service and I have healed so much in the last 2 years that I have attended. I have been in church most of my life, and this is the first church I have ever gone to that I could say it’s like “conference” every service. I love it.

  29. jennyhope permalink
    January 15, 2008 9:52 pm

    hey girl! This is more of a prayer request. my sister and her husband attend a church where he is associate pastor. There are a lot of factions at this church and tons of gossip. It breaks my heart. Basically a majority of the people there want him and the main pastor gone so they have been petitioning. They even said that they preach the truth and they dont like it. They want their church the way it used to be. IT is so sad because the Lord Jesus hates this kind of behavior in a church and it also turns other people off to Christianity when in fact if these people are Christ followers they sure don’t act like it.
    Anyway, my sister has twins that are 1 and a 3 year old. I pray that God opens something else up for them soon so they can leave.

  30. January 15, 2008 11:27 pm

    Jenny, Yes! I will be praying for your sister. that’s a tough situation. Thanks for sharing that an allowing us to pray in this way.

    Hey Rochelle! I’ve watched certain preachers on TV who never seem to challenge. It’s all fluff and stuff. That actually makes me more uncomfortable than a Pastor gettin all up in my grill with the mighty word of God telling me to check myself! I appreciate a leader that motivates me toward Gods word. Who preaches His word. Some are called to be in that position and some are not. But for those who really are called, it is a gift to us. I love and support my Pastors. They are passionate, real men of God who just wanta share His word and love on others.

    Ivy, I love your attitude toward your old church. I think in any experience we can take something positive from it and learn. That’s what you did.

    HeatherB, sounds like our church. From the very beginning the heart of it has always been to reach the hurting. I love seeing all the different walks of life come through our doors. We have gray hair, blue hair and no hair. We have spiked hair, dread locks and body piercings. We have addicts, we ex-addicts. And everyone of them are welcome and know they are. It’s always been a safe spot to land. Love’em where they’re at!

    Carrie, are you on the music team at your church? I love your voice girl!

    Amy, I see what you’re saying. That’s a frustrating position to be in. I hope that you will clearly be able to recognize Gods leading in this search.

    Buddy, what do you do differently in your church?

    CrossView, situations like yours further confirms that we need to verufy, or further research and study, what a Pastor teaches. A lot of damage can be done otherwise…as you realized with your kiddos! I am very glad you have found a home now!

    Heather, I think this is huge…”Then we looked for the teaching … was it from the Word of just the mouth of the man behind the podium? Was the church reaching out to the community it surrounded, actually BEING the church or was it expecting the Community to come to them without going out into it?”

    What good are we doing if we’re learning and experiencing and not living it out in our communities? Reaching others. I love churches who encourage that – who lead in that direction!

    Darla, “I don’t want to have something I want if HE isn’t in it.” Yes, that does make sense. How pointless and a waste of time it would be to sit under the teaching, in a church, that did not preach the Word in truth…did not encourage fellowship and outreach…and stay because it was the “big church” with the nicest sanctuary and the best lattes. No thanks! But there’s a whole lot more to say to that than just this. But I think this is already the longest comment EVER!

    Amy, “But, things can’t improve or change if we run at the first problem or difficult issue that arises.” Great point! We really haven’t addressed that. Should we always leave? Do we have a responsibility in exposing false teaching?

    And Ames, I agree with you here too…”We must decide that we believe what believe is not because someone told us to, but because we have come to believe it.” This has been many a discussion with my Atheist friends. I might have to go somewhere with that one…

  31. January 15, 2008 11:27 pm

    Holy Moly! That is a long comment! That’s just wrong…I’m sorry!

  32. January 15, 2008 11:32 pm

    I’ve had some bad/sad church experiences–like so many people have–and some good ones. Someone asked me recenty about my ideal church and I realized that the two times I believe I most purely experienced “New Testament community” were in my church youth group (the adults had a penchant for firing pastors) and a missions team I served on for a year.

    In my most recent church search, two and a half years ago, I was actually overwhelmed by going from living overseas (where I’d decided to attend an English-speaking church for a true “day of rest” free of language struggles) where I had about five choices, to a city where I have about 500 Protestant church options. I visited about eight different churches and when I walked into the church I currently attend, by the end of that first service I knew, “This is it!” And not just because they gave me a free coffee mug and coffee as a first-time visitor, either! Also not just because the senior pastor plays drums!

    But in all seriousness, they are biblically very solid, they definitely value and emphasize world missions as well as local outreach, they major on the majors and minor on the minors, they preach the Word unashamedly in a way that’s seeker-sensitive without being at all watered down, their priorities and emphasis are pretty much in the right place, they have small groups and accountability groups, they seek to help members discover and use their gifts … ah, and there is more, but this is getting long and it is 2:30 a.m. and I should be in bed!

    There are definitely things that aren’t as comfortable or convenient for me, but they’re things I can live with because the other things are a lot more valuable.

  33. January 15, 2008 11:43 pm

    Faith, that sounds a lot like our church! So I can say Yay! I just responded to your comment on the other post and was unsure if you were searching for a church right now. Sounds like you’re in a good one!

    How are you feeling these days by the way? It’s late girl – take care of yourself!

  34. January 16, 2008 5:57 am

    “Buddy, what do you do differently in your church?”

    I won’t hog up your blog with a long dissertaion on what Simple Church, I have some stuff I’ve written about it on my blog. In a nut shell:

    – We are small by design, right now 4-5 families regularly
    – We meet in our homes on a rotating basis
    – There’s no Pastor (although 2 of our members are ordained pastors, in our church they’re just regular guys)
    – There’s no overhead, salaries, mortgages or supplies to buy so 100% of our tithe goes directly to offering. We ususally tie our financial giving with physical serving as well.
    – We have no intention of growing and needing a ‘building’. Growth in a Simple Church means duplication. If we get too big for someone’s house, we break in two… like cell division.
    – We are in fellowship and community all week long. Since we are small and in the same community that is easier.
    – Our kids are part of the service (and LOVE it)
    – On Sundays we sing, study, pray and share communion together.

    Basically we were going to this larger church and they were pushing these small groups (they call life groups). The big emphasis was that is where ‘church really happens’. Well, we came to the conclusion that if small groups are where ‘church happens’ why do we need the big church at all? So we took the best elements from the big church and integrated them into our small group and …. tada!

  35. January 16, 2008 7:24 am

    Tam! I love what others think and what they will share…but uh hum…I am needing my weekly fix of bunny trails!! You know what I mess I make if I try to go on one all by myself! Missing you!

    ooops…there goes that bunny with the big pocket watch!! I am late I’m late…hahahahaha

  36. January 16, 2008 1:43 pm

    Hi Tam, I finally got around to posting on Brent’s blog, it is a little crowded this time around though!

    Anyway, as for a comment for you.

    This is a great topic, as evidenced by the responses you have gotten so far. As for my personal opinion…

    What I look for in a church home is good solid biblical teaching, an active outreach into the surrounding community as well as missions support for other countries. Also, a good mix of views and point of views from the other people that attend.

  37. January 16, 2008 1:45 pm

    You and Brent seem to be onto something between your blogs. 😉

    I remember when Jake and I were searching for a church in MO we discovered we both were “into” something different when looking for a church. Jake was more about the sermon and the preacher/pastor. I was more about the worship. So for us it was finding a combo of both, where we both felt like it was a church we could relate to. We weren’t being all “me, me, me”…..we just wanted to make sure we found a church we connected with in both areas. And it was a church we knew we could grow and serve in. We actually became very active there (before the tots LOL). Jake and I are so different on how we connect with God (him, more intellectually, me more emotionally) so this was a great church for us both. I hope that doesn’t sound self-centered. It’s a fine line between sounding like you want a church to cater to you, and sounding like you want to serve and connect. You just have to find the right mix I guess…….. I hope that made sense. 😉 😛

  38. January 16, 2008 1:51 pm

    I didn’t read all the responses, so please forgive me if this is repetitive or redundant…

    There is only one church. Everyone who follows the Messiah is a member. Because it is so large, and encompasses the entire world, there is the necessity for smaller, sub-groups to meet together. We are commanded to meet together – it’s necessary for our Spiritual, emotional, and physical growth/upkeep.

    Smaller subgroups should be comprised of people/believers that live near you. Small groups, cell groups, home groups – these are probably the most tangible expressions of a local church.

    Church is not a worship service, or a building. All forms/denominations/sects of organized/institutionalized Christianity (particularly Western European/American denominations) are fatally flawed in that “church” was never supposed to become an organization. “Organic” – yes; “organized” – most definitely; but not an “organization.”

    Size matters.
    Form matters.
    Substance matters.
    Vision matters.
    Mission matters.

    B

  39. January 16, 2008 2:34 pm

    b4dguy – Great stuff. I completely agree. This has been most of the discussion recently. Trying to categorize the ‘Big” church and “Little” church. Obviously Jesus never taught about the little one, but Paul was great in defining the (as you have said) organization of the little one.

    You are right in that our focus needs to be less on church as an organization or institution down the block, but instead a group of people serving the same God living out a commission and commandment.

  40. January 16, 2008 3:37 pm

    Buddy, I think your small church is awesome! Sounds a lot like our link groups.

    I think “church happens” when we as Christ followers are doing our jobs as Christians. Are we loving others? Are we reaching others? Are we making an impact on our communities? I don’t think that can happen confined to a small or large “church” setting – it happens when the body goes out and does its part. So what are the benefits of meeting together, whether in large or small numbers? I think it’s crucial to our development and accountability. So we need that. Small group or big group setting…it’s just a preferences but not the only essential ingredient to the great commission.

    Sean, I;m with you on the criteria. Bottom line, those things have to exist. Hope you’re feeling better by the way 😉

    Brandy! You’re leaving???!!!! Who has permitted you to do that Missy???!!!!

    b4dguy, thanks for stopping by! Again, you have also clearly defined what the church is and what it isn’t. Or at least what it should be. Thanks for your valuable input!

    IW – Hey babe!

  41. January 16, 2008 3:50 pm

    Yo 🙂

  42. January 16, 2008 6:29 pm

    ha ha ha!! Seriously? I thought by now everyone was tired of the “not yet” response to “are you moving THIS month?” heehee

    We’ve been “in limbo” for a year now. Sucksssssssss. Every month we think “could this be our month we finally get orders?”

    😉

    Saw you driving on 99 today headed towards town. I was heading out to Seven Oaks, well, right past there. 😉

  43. January 16, 2008 6:36 pm

    Cool! Did you see me gettin on my car Praise? I’m sure I was beltin’ out a tune. Nothing better than singing your heart out in the car 😉

    Well, when this month passes and you still haven’t gotten your orders – tell them their time has expired! Period!

  44. January 16, 2008 7:00 pm

    ha ha ha ha! Wouldn’t that be nice! 😉

    I’m sure Jake would have a few other selective words to add to that! ha ha! 😉

    I didn’t notice it was you until I was almost past….. I saw the red jeep and thought “huh, Tam?” heehee 😉

    I 😉 a lot huh? Laaaaaame.

  45. January 17, 2008 2:22 pm

    Before I read anyone else’s reply, I am going to post an answer…

    What is your “criteria” in looking for a Church?
    1. Based on the Bible.
    2. Teaches the Bible.
    3. Agrees fundamentally with my beliefs (Basically, apostels creed, same beliefs on spiritual gifts).
    4. Authentic Worship (and modern).
    5. Growth or outreach (I’ve been to some Biblically sound churches that did not have any growth or evangelism going on).
    6. Connection with other believers. (Fellowship with other believers is vital to healthy spiritual growth).

    If you have a Church home – why that church?
    Because it meets the above criteria and is within 15 minutes of where we live.

    How does what you’re looking for or what you’ve found line up with scripture…particularly pertaining to teaching, leadership, accountability, etc…?
    There are many, many churches that are out of balance. It is very difficult to tell on the surface. There have been churches that I knew after one service and others I attended for months before I realized they were out of balance.

    If you are not a “Church” attender, why?
    I am a church attender…

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