Sunday, October 21, 2018

Church Shopping

One of the many struggles that we face as a family when we move is finding a home church. You can actually read about our struggles of finding a home church when we were stationed in New England here. If you are a believer, then you understand the importance of finding a place of worship that you can call "home". For me personally, I need a place to go to every week where my soul can be fed and nurtured. I want my kid's faith to grow, and I want them to enjoy going to church every week.

I grew up hating to go to church. When I was old enough to stay home by myself, I faked being sick more times than I remember so that I wouldn't have to go. Looking back, I realize I hated going, because the church my family attended did not fulfill my spiritual needs. It was a Korean Presbyterian church. My parents are Korean immigrants, so it was the right fit for them. They were among other Korean speaking believers. But as a first generation American born child, going to "Sunday school" every week with the extremely small group of youth who were also first generation Americans just wasn't right for me. I wanted to go to the "normal" English speaking churches that all my friends from school attended. I wanted to attend youth group with my friends from school. I oftentimes felt left out because our church simply did not have the programs that the bigger American churches offered. I have used my past experience as a learning tool as a mom. When we look for a home church, one of the first things I want to know about is the children's ministry. I grill my kids about their experience in kids church. I don't want them growing up hating church because Nick and I choose a church that only we like.

I have put off trying out a new church since moving here with the excuse that "we are still settling in".  When it reality, I am just anxious about being the "new guy" at a new church. I finally told myself yesterday that I had beaten a dead horse with that excuse, and committed to testing out our first church here in Yuma. I found a southern baptist church on Google that was only 5 minutes away from our house. Their facebook page and their website looked promising. From their website, it looked like a contemporary church with a great children's ministry.

Our family got up this morning bright and early, and got ready for church. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, Nick didn't hesitate to say, "I don't think you're gonna like it here." I don't know why he got that vibe, but I tried to stay positive and told everyone that we were just gonna try it out. As soon as we walked in, I realized that 90% of the congregation were senior citizens. I felt like I was walking into my grandparent's church. Then we were informed that there was no Sunday school for our kids. They do Sunday school an entire hour earlier than the regular service, so my kids were going to have to sit through an adult service with me. I told my kids before walking in that we were just trying this church out, and that if we didn't like it, we'd try another church next Sunday. My sweet, sweet son blurted out to the door greeter (a sweet old granny), "My mom said we are just trying this church out, and that if we don't like it, we would go to another church next Sunday." (Insert nervous chuckle from me and a face palm). Anyway, our family took seats in the back of the church, and after sitting there awkwardly for 5 minutes, we just walked out. Actually, Nick had taken Mattis outside to look at a water fountain they had, and Dannika and I basically ran out. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone, and literally rushed out so fast. It was extremely uncomfortable and extremely awkward. I am praying no one recognizes me at the grocery store from that church and silently judges me.

So church #1 was a big fail. I'm sure it is a lovely little church, but I am a strong believer that we need to do fellowship with at least a few people in the same stage of life as us. The people at that church were about 3 to 4 decades ahead of our family. My sister found a few churches for us via Google search, and we have a little list of potential maybes for next Sunday. Please pray for our family as we continue to find a church that we can call home!

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