In Search of Church
Young black man seeks single church that is also looking for a serious relationship..
I thought about placing an ad like this in the newspaper just to see how many people would contact me telling me how their church had everything I needed. Right now I am church shopping and I can’t stand it. I was fortunate to have been born and raised in the same church up until the time I left for college. While I was in college, a scandal broke out that involved the pastor and the secretary. I’ll save you the details but after the church dissolved, I was upset and I felt betrayed and even though I went to church during college, I was much more skeptical of churches as a whole and my relationship with God withered.
Before I graduated, I tried to get back into the game and the church put on a good front but after a small group, I found out it wasn’t for me. So here I am a 23-year old divorcee of two churches and trying to get back in the game, but church shopping to me at least, is an agonizing experience. One church is too big, this church doesn’t really emphasize community service, or that church is too far away. It’s always something and I feel like I am trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are so many churches to choose from, it is daunting. And although I do pray and read the Bible on my own, I do believe it is important to have a church home. And what compounds the situation is that I am in a state of transition and I don’t feel like I have the energy to really grow roots knowing that I am going to be leaving for grad school before long.
So as I search for a church home, I thought about the things that turn me off to different churches so I can better understand what will not work for me. You may be going through the same thing and if you feel this list should be edited, please post your comments.
• Use the Bible!! I have been to sermons where the preacher didn’t touch the Bible and this burns me to no end. Moreover, I want to know that you researched key words in Hebrew/Greek and can cite cross scriptures I can use to review later.
• I love praise and worship but for me, the message/sermon is more important. I don’t want to feel like I am at a concert and please people, three hours for praise and worship is not necessary unless the Holy Spirit is moving.
• Social change and community service should be integrated into the church’s mission and there must be tangible ways to get involved. Churches in the Black community used to be the pillar of the neighborhood because many church leaders did not draw a line between spiritual well being and fighting for social change and civil rights. I don’t agree with churches that isolate themselves and are unwilling to give the people the skills/resources they need to better their situation.
• Just because I am young and single doesn’t mean I am trying to find a mate so stop with the match maker business. I just hate it when people at a church are more interested in your marital status than your status with the Lord.
• For my pastors, please talk into the mic and avoid grunting whenever possible.
• And to the parents, if your baby is crying, get up and take the baby outside or drop them off at the nursery.
• If your church embraces diversity in terms of race, don’t just have different races there for the sake of having different races.
• I don’t want to be let out at a specific time per se, but I would appreciate having a thirty minute cushion to negotiate.
• Stop being fake. I get so perturbed when I feel like I am in the spiritual version of the Stepford Wives. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need a church to be all out raw with everything but being real is much appreciated.
I just realized how silly my list was. In all seriousness though, finding a church is a very difficult and important process and it requires patience and a willingness to let go and let God. And as my Dad taught me, no one person, church or denomination has a corner on the right way to live for God. However, what I have found by being away from church is that church provides a sense of accountability that you just can’t find anywhere else. Just think about all the times you made a deal with yourself that you would read the Bible every day. You may have started out strong but when you make deals with yourself, there is no one to hold you accountable when you falter. And let’s be real, do you really punish yourself when you break promises you made to yourself? Of course not.
So please take your time and trust that eventually you will find a church that works for you. What helps me with my church search is to think about how much effort I put into finding a job once I graduated and compare it to the effort I put into finding a church home. Many people claim (or desire) that our relationship with God is the most important facet of our lives but when our actions are examined, this claim sometimes falls to pieces. But just always remember that God does not put us in any rough situation without providing a way out.
And if you do have a church home, hold on to it because good churches are hard to find
Stay up fam,