Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Great Church Search

One of the most important things for me since moving to NY has been finding a church, specifically one where I can take an active roll. In my 28 years here on the planet Earth I have only attended 2 churches on a regular basis, Elkview Baptist and Chestnut Ridge Church (Morgantown, WV).

Elkview Baptist Church was the church I was raised in and spent all my life growing up there. I was even active in the church during the years I was in college, both undergrad and grad. I coached and refed basketball, participated in the drama productions put on during the year, and just willing to help out any way I could when needed. EBC does not have a huge congregation but it is a good-sized church.

When I started grad school at WVU I had a good friend who had just graduated and told me about Chestnut Ridge Church. From the moment I went there I felt welcome and began attending on a regular basis. I was also there when the "Singles" group formed, which although having gone through a lot of changes, still exists as a slightly different group. Chestnut Ridge is a large growing church which also provided many ways to get involved and serve. Due to other obligations and school I was not able to be as involved as I would have liked to have been but maybe it was good for me to just do a little, such as helping with parking which sometimes required a degree in Astrophysics or a minimum of 50 hrs of Tetris experience. For the most part I had a very enjoyable experience in the church and the home group. When I came back last year to finish my MPA I sort of felt like an outsider in the group although there were people there from my previous involvement in the group. I eventually was able to shake that feeling but still protected myself so as to avoid a situation like what happened the summer before I left after I was supposed to finish both degrees.

Flash forward to now. Having lived up North for almost a month now I am still looking for a church which I can call my own. So far I have been to five in all and have seen a spectrum of different churches ranging from the small community church to the "Holy Rollers"(a term I use with the utmost respect). This church was just full of energy which is a good thing. Although I prefer the more calm atmosphere, there is just something about seeing 60/70ish men in suits "jazzercising" in the aisles that made me smile.

I am not sure exactly what I want in a church, but I think I will know it when I experience it. However, until then I keep asking myself do I want in a church...Do I want something similar to what I had in Morgantown or do I need to go a different route to continue my spiritual growth? Again I am not sure but hopefully I will be willing to go where God leads me because I know that he put me here in NY and he will help me find a place to worship.



Tyler said...

Finding a new church is a big challenge. Rachel and I have been so blessed by finding ours in Findlay. I can't give you much advice except that when you find it, you'll know it, because they'll feed you, involve you, and count on you, without pressuring you to do more than you can or to do things that no one else is willing to.

Good luck!

sarah cool said...

This was a really good post on finding a church! None of that "this church needs to do this for me" or "this church needs to do that for me" that you hear a lot of. It sounds like you really want to find a church where God WANTS you, and not what YOU want from it. Nice job, Chad, and good luck!