(Follow-up to earlier post…)
I do not consider myself a consumer of church. I don’t go to be entertained. I am a worshipper, as I think Christ-followers are called to be. Yet finding a place to attend each Sunday has been difficult.
“Church shopping” is easier now than ever, as I can listen to local pastors’ sermons on their websites. I can hear the Worship Teams. I can read the local churches’ beliefs and mission statements, and see what they offer for discipleship and mission work. Still, we have to attend to really get the “feel” of the place. And that takes time – it’s not usually a one-visit kind of thing.
I’ve been doing a word study of “joy” from my Bible’s concordance. Not exhaustive, but many verses. I’ve been writing them out in my journal, as I seek to understand what joy should look like in my life. Yesterday, I had to stop with Psalm 42:4, NLT.
My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
It reminded me of Sundays in WI where we attended church. How I miss being among friends at church, that “feeling connected” feeling.
The church we’re currently attending is more Pentecostal than anything we’ve ever been part of. This is a stretch, but I feel God growing me in seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and others’ around me. The pastor is humble, and a good teacher. His sermons are soundly Biblical, he teaches from God’s Word, and there are lots of practical and spiritual applications to daily life. The women of the Connection Group I’m attending each Tuesday morning – while all are older than me – have been very welcoming and gracious.
I hate to admit this, but it’s the worship team where we’re stuck. That divisive, age-old issue of worship style. And actually, it’s not the style, it’s the sound. The music is at such a particular pitch and loud volume that it literally hurts our ears.
So what do we do? We like the size of the church, the people are friendly, and the sermons are solid. I may not enjoy singing every chorus through six times (no exaggeration), but I can pray when I don’t want to sing anymore. But what do we do about physical pain?
I’ve been praying that God will lead us to the local church where He wants us. Where we can worship Him fully, be fed spiritually, and serve Him faithfully. I’m just not sure if we’ve found it yet.
Fellow Christ-followers, I welcome your insights and advice. Please.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV)