The hunt.

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Seeing the National Prayer Breakfast on the news this morning reminded me – I can’t believe I forgot to mention it in my post on Monday! – but I have exciting news from this weekend! 

May not be super exciting for you, but I’m really stoked. Like I’ve said before, I may just be talking to myself on this blog, and that’s okay.

So when I first moved here, it took me a while to find a church. I went to some that were okay, others that felt like a cult more than a church {I even walked out in the middle of a “service” one time. I’d never done that, and haven’t done it since. It was just that bad.}, but it really took me a while to find my church home.

Honestly, it was a pretty discouraging process for me. It got to where I wasn’t excited about going to church anymore. It began feeling more like a chore, and I ended up just taking a break from church for a while. But after a lot of prayer, I was lead to Christ Central. I’ve talked before about how much I love that church. I love everything about it. And one of the things I was most looking forward to after graduation was that I’d have the time available to join and be a part of a life group.

Even though I loved the church, I didn’t go often. I need my sleep. Seriously, I used to have a boss that would tell me, “You don’t need your beauty sleep, you need attitude sleep!” But I always looked forward to being in a relationship with somebody who loved going to church as much as I did and would encourage me and wake me up in the morning to go.

Then I met C and of course, invited him to go with me. He liked Christ Central, but didn’t love it the way I did, for two reasons. 1) The music. The band at CC is very upbeat and plays contemporary Christian music. It gets me super pumped up in the morning and happy to be there. C says, “You shouldn’t feel like you’re at a concert at church.” 2) The Pastor. Like me, C really likes Pastor Mark; however, when he’s preaching, he gets very excited. And the more enthusiastic he gets, the louder he gets. Because of all the problems he’s had with sinuses growing up, C has pretty sensitive ears. So when Pastor Mark gets loud, it hurts his ears.

We’ve gone to church a few times in the time that we’ve been together, but I learned something pretty early on: Because I enjoy it, C would go to church if I asked him to. But he would never necessarily want to go to church. He wouldn’t be the one asking me.

I knew he was miserable when we’d go and would leave with a headache, so I quit asking and just stuck to watching the sermons online. It’s just not the same though. I never realized how much of an impact the music and fellowship made.

I started praying again – A LOT – I was super conflicted about what to do. {I’m just being real with yall here.} God brought a lot of things to light for me and showed me what my priorities were. As much as I loved my church, I wanted C to love going to church too; and he didn’t love going to CC. I want Jesus at the center of my relationship, and I want going to church to be something that we enjoy doing together. Something for us to look forward to. And later, I want my children brought up in the church. In order for that to happen, I knew what I needed to do.

At the time {this was probably 6-8 weeks ago}, a wedding officiant had been the topic of conversation quite a bit. When it comes to an officiant, we don’t want 1-800-HIREAPASTOR. We want somebody who at least knows us a little bit and can talk personally about us during the ceremony. We know a couple of people who are ordained, but we agreed that we would like it to be somebody associated with a church. So of course, we asked Pastor Mark. Unfortunately, he already had a wedding scheduled for our day. So then we were sitting there with our thumbs up our butts. The Pastor C had growing up is half way across the country, and the Pastor I had growing up has since passed away. C’s mom and sister recently moved down here {about 3 1/2 hours south of us} and have found a church. They really like the Pastor there, and he has said that he would officiate for us, but it goes back to – we don’t know him. Yeah, they do, but they’re not the bride and groom.

So after it had been weighing on my heart a while, I made the proposition to C: let’s try to find a new church. I explained to him that I wanted a church that we’d both like, and also mentioned that if we find one relatively soon, after a few weeks, we could ask the Pastor there about officiating. Potentially kill two birds with one stone.

After that, we did a lot of traveling for the holidays, so we couldn’t start this new adventure right away. When we did, we tried out a little Baptist church relatively close to the house. C really enjoyed it. I almost fell asleep. The music wasn’t from hymnals, but it was still very slow, and I didn’t enjoy the sermon at all. Next!

Then we tried out another Christ Central. I thought the music was a good compromise for us. Wasn’t quite as slow and boring as the Baptist church, but wasn’t quite as much as the other CC. But then there was the sermon… One of the things that C and I both love about Pastor Mark is that he can go off on a little tangent to explain what he’s preaching about and relate it to current day or explain how it’s still applicable in our lives. And then he circles back around and ties it all together. The Pastor at the second Christ Central, I thought that’s what he was doing when he started telling a little story about his family, but he talked about his family the entire time! Neither of us liked that. However, because of the music and atmosphere/people, I was willing to give it another try to see if that’s what he does every Sunday or if he was just having an off day. C said absolutely not. Next!

On the way home from that sermon, C asked me on a scale of 1-10, what I’d rate that Christ Central. He said for everything: the music, atmosphere, sermon, etc. I gave it a 7. He asked what I’d give the Baptist Church, I said a 3. Then he asked about my Christ Central, and I said 10. He was shocked at all three of my answers. So then I asked him about the Baptist and second CC; he said 9 and 4.

After learning each others scores, it really gave us a better idea of what the other wants in a church. We also acknowledged that we’re going to have to compromise. Neither of us are going to fully love the church we ultimately pick because we want such different things; but we should both be sitting a score of 5. Just like in a relationship, it’s got to be 50/50.

At this point, the discouragement was really sinking in. I had been down this road before, trying a bunch of churches with a bunch of “no”s, and had no desire to go down it again. Especially to leave the church I loved to go down this road again. And this time, I wasn’t only trying to find a church that I felt was home, but also one that C liked; so I knew that this time was going to be even more difficult. I was really starting to question my decision.

Another reason I was excited for us to find a church home was to meet people. C and I only ever hang out with one couple. It’s his best friend {they also work together} and his wife. They’re super nice people and I love them dearly, but the wife has such a strong accent that I can barely understand her. C has also been wanting other people for us to hang out with. I think church is a great place to meet people, because it’s going to be people that have the same core values and beliefs, and I think that’s so important.

So I was starting to think that we could just watch the Christ Central sermons together online every week, that way we have control of Pastor Mark’s volume. But I know C wouldn’t stick to that, and like I mentioned – you just don’t get the music and fellowship, and you can’t make friends with a TV screen.

Next we tried one of the Baptist churches that I had been to during my past search. There were a few churches that I tried that I liked, and maybe even attended a few times, but just didn’t love. It wasn’t home for me. But, they were churches that I could compromise with. I would have my 5 score. This was one of those churches. And lo and behold, it was a success! Winner winner chicken dinner! C loved it! Honestly, I think he would score it at 10. Which is fantastic! We’re not 10 and 10, but as long as he’s excited about it, I’m excited about it! And he’s actually looking forward to this Sunday and going back. We’re basing weekend plans around church time, and I just love that!

I knew all but two of the songs we sang. One of them was this one – and I was kind’ve disappointed looking for it on YouTube, because the girl who sang it at church did a much better job than anyone online. But it’s a fantastic song, so I just had to share! Death has died, Love has won! Amen amen amen!

So this weekend, we’re going to walk over and meet the Pastor after service. Then in the next few weeks, ask him about the wedding. Wish us luck!

-L

 

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