This past Sunday we decided to visit a church that we had been invited to by one of the pastors that attend it. The church is located about 30 minutes away from where we live so we decided to take in the later service that they provide on Sunday morning.
When we arrived at the church, we were surprised that they had parking attendants and police helping with the traffic that was entering the parking lot. We soon discovered the reason for this need. We were unable to find a parking spot and were finally told by a parking attendant that we could park at a school (which we had no idea the location) and come over on a shuttle. Having a daughter in a wheelchair presents some issues with this thought because we had no idea of whether the shuttle could accommodate her wheel chair. That would mean that we would have to unload her at the church grounds, find parking elsewhere and shuttle in, and reunite as a family in order to go to service. Then this process would have to be repeated following service among a mass of humanity wishing to exit.
We decided that this was probably not what we were looking for and chose to spend the morning enjoying the ‘warm’ weather that had arrived in Ohio.
I can’t really say anything about the church because we were unable to attend. Based on our limited experience, we did decide as a family that this was not where we were supposed to go. Here are the reasons:
- The church was too far away to be considered part of our community.
- While we hold no opinion on the effective nature of a church based on its size, we do hold strong questions about the necessity of a church to grow beyond its own community without considering alternate locations so that people can ‘do’ church in their respective communities.
- It would be too easy to be anonymous in a church of this size. That is more of a reflection on us than it is the demographic of the church so please don’t take that as a mark against this church.
I wish we could have had the opportunity to take in the whole experience in order to comment further but it doesn’t appear that was in God’s plan at this point.
I am getting way behind on these posts. So I am going to throw down a few notes on my last 2 visits – some here and some in my next post.
Our week 4 visit found us at a small Baptist church just down the road from our house.
Here are the highlights:
- They went out of the way to welcome us as we made our way in
- The Sunday school class we visited was teaching straight from the bible
- The pastor welcomed comments DURING his sermon
- One family came up after the service and spent a long time talking to us
- The pastor hung out with me for a while after the service and allowed me to ask a lot of questions which he graciously and sincerely answered
- They were having a potluck after church and invited us to stick around – we took them up on it and the food was great. The family that spoke to us after the service asked to join us while we ate.
The not so high points:
- Musically all over the place as far as styles. Not a bad thing just different than what my family has experienced in the past.
- Little to no development for the teen-aged kids. I asked the pastor about this and he said that they were starting to build this program.
I mentioned in my previous post,Thoughts , that this was the first church that had me wondering if this is where we are supposed to be. There are several reasons for this question:
- Many things that I find important concerning discpleship seem to be in place in this church
- There is a need for gifts and talents that God has shaped our family for.
- The church is close enough that I consider it to be part of my community
We would need to make several more visits to this church to be sure but it is definitely in the mix of places that we will have to seriously consider.