Searching for a new church isn’t easy. Generally it’s frustrating and tedious, especially if you live in an area with several options.
In this series I’ve already outlined three overarching concepts important to finding a new church. Taking these ideas into consideration and factoring in a few other reasons like proximity and personal recommendations, my husband and I came up with several churches we thought we would try.
(This is part 4 in the series, Leaving A Church While Loving The Church. Read all the articles in this series.)
I mentioned in one of my earlier posts in this series that my husband and I were planning on moving to a suburb of the suburbs and that influenced our previous church choice. The house we wanted to purchase fell through and now we live in a glorious thriving suburb fairly close to Portland city limits.
This makes our decision a bit easier (or harder), as we have many churches near us. Both my husband and I have lived in this area before, so we are familiar with many church options.
I also want to mention that in my descriptions below I talk about feelings—how the church made me or my husband feel. In some ways this is important, and others not. Before visiting I’d already factored in many of the “hard facts” such as theology and different ministry involvements.
I learned about this church through Google. It’s a newer one, but the pastor had been at a large church in the area for many years so I was at least vaguely familiar with what it might be about. From the website it seemed interesting, and it was close to our house.
I visited this church by myself since my husband had a prior commitment that Sunday. I really wanted to like it, but all I felt was “blah.” It felt like they took everything that is absolutely generic about church and put it in the most boring service. Nothing was bad. Nothing was good.
It was also much older than I thought. I went to an 11 am service and it seemed that half the congregation was 60+. I might be exaggerating, but that was my impression.
I’ve been to boring church services before, and this wasn’t really the same. Often things are boring because you don’t understand them or aren’t familiar with them. I was familiar with everything they did, so much so it just seemed like the most neutral thing ever. I don’t want church to feel neutral.
The church I grew up at is close by, so we decided to give it a chance. I had to get over the feeling of “going back to high school” (even though I went there in college also), but once I did I really liked many of the changes and growth over past 12 years since I was a regular attender.
My husband wasn’t as sold, though. We went a few weeks in a row, and he did not care for the services. He also thought the church was too large. I’m used to larger churches, so this didn’t bother me. I think it’s around 1,500 attendees. Not small, but also not as large as the 3,000+ attendee churches I attended in Dallas, TX.
We learned about this church from a friend who had been an interim worship pastor there for a time.
The week we tried this service the head pastor was out, so I’m not sure what it’s like during a “normal” week. My husband and I both liked parts of this service, felt a good energy, and other people wanted to be there.
But there were some questions. For instance, I don’t actually know what time the service starts. The website listed 10:15 am, but they didn’t start till about 10:27. I know this because they started running a three minute countdown video before it was 10:25. So, now I’m not sure if it starts at 10:15 and was late or 10:30 and was early. Maybe they start at 10:25?
Also, we couldn’t find the church program/bulletin. A few people had one, and they mentioned we could pick one up out at the front, but my husband and I both looked, and we couldn’t find any.
Oddly enough, we still liked this church as much or more than the other two. We still might try it again, but the lack of organization did throw up a bit of a red flag. It’s also small, I’d guess around 50 regular attenders. While my husband doesn’t feel comfortable with large churches, I’m leery of small churches.
The next church
We’re still looking for the right church. We plan this Sunday try a church that’s similar to Church #3, but larger and more well established. I am slightly acquainted (met once and now friends on Facebook) with the new pastor, so it seems worth a try.
This will be my last entry on this topic/series for awhile. Once we find a church I’ll write another article letting you know what happened.