Did you know that Jesse and I have not ever belonged to a church since we've been married? Sure, we've gone to church here and there but we never actually took the steps to become members. Once I knew we were moving to California, finding a home church was first on my agenda. It was something I felt we needed to do for our family and I took my research pretty seriously.
When we arrived and I narrowed down our list of churches that I wanted to visit. I really focused on non-denominational churches. I felt particularly drawn to one so that was the one we visited when we first arrived. Since that time we've attended every Sunday and we recently joined a Life Group. Emerson has also become quite at home there and seems to love her teachers. And more importantly, they love her! They always seem so happy to see her and that just makes my heart happy.
A few days ago I posted that I was loving the church more and more each week and that I felt that it might be "the one."
Fast forward to Tuesday night in our Life Group when we learned that our church is in fact, not non-denominational. It is actually associated with a denomination that I don't have any experience with at all. I wondered how I could have missed such vital information so I went back to look at the website and found the declaration at the very bottom of the beliefs page. I did read the beliefs before we attended the church and I felt like they were all right in line with the beliefs I grew up with.
The whole point of our Life Group is to learn more about the church and it's beliefs. Well, let me tell you. Some of the things I heard just about made me fall out of my chair. We continued through the evening as normal but the entire time I had some major questions swirling around in my head. How could I have now known? What does that mean? What will we do now?
As the night went on I felt less assured and more uncomfortable.
I won't go into details here because I completely respect the difference from one denomination to another, but I have a hard time with some of the core beliefs of the church. I'm not saying that they are wrong, but I just don't think they are right for us. And while the church says they are scripturally based, I feel like the interpretations of many of those scriptures are debatable. Of course I am no expert. I'm still learning and I feel like I have so much growth to do in my walk with God.
You may be wondering how we could attend for 5 weeks and not know, so I should clear that up. The Sunday service is basically lead as non-denominational. There are no indicators during the service that the church is part of this particular denomination. Honestly, had we not joined the Life Group I think we could have continued attending and not ever known. I think if we were just planning on attending church on Sundays and not becoming involved in the church, this would not be an issue in anyway. I actually love the way the service is conducted and the sermons are always incredible. I think that's why this has all come as a huge shock to me.
When we got home from our group that night, Google became my very best friend. I did a lot of research on some of the terms that I had heard as well as on the core beliefs of the denomination. I learned so much and as I read I became increasingly confused and maybe even a little depressed. I hated the idea that we might not belong in this church after all. Especially after we have already become involved. I had just turned in my application to work with the children's ministry and I have met some awesome people in our group.
By the next day, I was in a bit of a funk. Honestly, I just wanted to cry. I don't know why it put me in such a downward tailspin, but it did. I've prayed about it, talked about it with others, and thought about it. I've asked God why He would lead us to this church only to be blindsided once we got involved. We're still not 100 percent sure, but we feel pretty positive that we need to start looking for a new church.
I hate disappointing people so the thought of telling all of the wonderful people we have met that we will no longer be attending is really hard. That's right: WONDERFUL people. We have met the nicest, most welcoming people in the world at this church. They all really have a heart for God and for spreading His message. So, how do I do tell them in a way that is not offensive? "We love you guys but we don't believe what you do..." "Oh, go ahead and shred my application to volunteer because we feel like we need to attend somewhere else."
Yikes. The whole situation just makes me sick to my stomach. I'm a bit disillusioned and weary about starting the process all over again. I'm praying that this time we will truly find our church home.