Starting Over

5.02.2013

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.



Emily Powell said...

Im sorry. Im baptist and i dont go along with everything that is baptist...like no dancing, no drinking, and not being a deacon if youve been married more than once...but i like to think those are small things. Good luck on the search :(

April said...

First let me say I am very sorry to hear you have to start over. What a disappointment. Second, I just want to give you some encouragement as you begin your search again. I deeply encourage you to read or re-read the Gospels in the New Testament where it lays out what Christ intends His church to be and consist of. Read through the book of Acts especially. If a church does not fit the mold that Christ set up then I would encourage you to keep looking. I understand that it's important for you all to feel comfortable in the church itself but the Church is not the building or the programs....it's the people and whether or not they are obeying God's Word in worship service and in matters of salvation. Lastly, the church should never speak where the Bible is silent and be silent where the Bible speaks. I do hope and pray your family will find that "right" place to worship and grow in the Lord.

Stefani said...

I've been Mormon since I was a kid (don't check out on me, I won't try to convert you! unless you want me to, lol) and there were years where I struggled with if the religion was right for me, and with understanding what I truly believed. It was so disappointing when I first started questioning things, because I had grown up with this Gospel and I didn't know where else to turn!

Long story short...I'm still Mormon, but it took soul searching and a lot of prayer to decide to stick with it. I need gain my own testimony of the Church and its doctrine.

What I'm saying is...it's a process and I know how discouraging it can be to question the beliefs of the Church you feel comfortable in. I also know that the Lord will inspire you with the direction you need to go. Maybe he needed you in that Church for only a short time, or maybe this is an experience you needed to grow your own testimony. Who knows!

This is officially the longest comment ever, lol. But good luck! The Lord will lead you to where you need to be, just trust in Him.

-Stef
Miss Jo and Co.

Natalie said...

I'm so sorry gal! I remember growing up visiting my friends churches...and from the surface they could look totally the same that I believed but if you read the fine print as you did...they believe something different. I will pray you find the church for you!

Amanda said...

Praying for you! I know I don't always know the right words to say in these situations either but God knows your heart and He is proud that you are serving Him daily and standing up for your beliefs! :)

Natalie said...

church hunting is SO hard!! sorry this one isn't working out for you :( my only advice is not to worry about disappointing them. being in ministry over the last several years and now planting a church that Tony is a leader at, we've seen a lot of people come and go and have learned not to take offense. I'm sure they know that their church isn't right for every family and maybe you can still be friends with those you really connected with! the important thing is that you aren't giving up and you'll look for something else. I can.always appreciate that when a family finds something even better for them!! Praying you find the perfect place very quickly!

Jenna said...

Such a bummer :( Maybe God placed you there briefly so that once you realized it was different than what you thought, you could really examine your faith and what is important to you. I know how important it is to find a church home. I love our church here where my FIL is the pastor and where I grew up, but I SUPER miss our church home in NC. I'm asking a friend which church they went to when they lived in SD so I'll let you know what she says. God has a plan and I know He will see you through this struggle!!

Beth Ann said...

Oh no! I hate that this happened to you. I commend you for continuing to look for a place that is right for you and your family. I'm really dying to know more about this! But I understand if you don't want to share. I will be praying that God will lead you to the right place!

Leeann said...

Awww.. :( I'm sorry it's not what you thought, but I'm so proud of you for listening to your heart and questioning the information you were told. I think too often, people don't question what they hear at church, and I honestly believe God wants us to have those conversations. He made us curious creatures for a reason! I feel like he want's our relationship with him to be a best friend relationship - where you can be honest and talk about ANYTHING. Theres no shame in questions.

That being said, I love posts like this. I admire your honesty, especially about such a touchy subject for people. I'm proud of you friend! I know that you guys will find your perfect church, and it'll be worth all of this not so fun stuff.

Love ya. :) and I emailed you about a faceTime date! email me if you didn't get it. xoxo

Brittney Galloway said...

I'm so sorry, Tami! I know how much you are wanting to be settled and how hard it is when you feel like you are disappointing people. Maybe God is using this to show and clarify what you believe. Living over here is the first time I am a part of a denom different than my own and it is tough. Even non denom are a denomination (in my opinion.) A thing to remember is that even when all of the church's beliefs check out with your own, find out where the pastor studied and what he grew up in...usually the church will lean in that direction.

Andrea @ Life in Dawleywood said...

oh no! I'm so sorry, I know how frustrating and overwhelming this must be. I will say a prayer that you find a church that is the best fit for your little family!

Kelli Kegley said...

Oh no! I hate that! We had a hard time deciding on a church home and we came back to the town my husband grew up in (which also held the church he grew up in!), so I can only imagine how it must be there with so many options. I wouldn't worry too much about the people you have to tell. If they are truly as wonderful as you say they are, they will understand! Prayers for peace and guidance as you continue looking!

Pam said...

Don't give up! Church hunting is exhausting but so worth it when you find the right fit. No church is perfect so just keep looking for what's best for your family. I'm curious about what denom you ended up at-not to judge or take offense =) just wondering what would be so different from the Christian church you're used to!

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