“You’re From Another Church?”

A few years ago, someone I worked with at the time invited folks to attend a ‘Dynamic Marriage‘ class he was facilitating at his church.  We got a lot out of it, and have in fact made some weak efforts to bring it our church.  (Weak meaning, talked about it amongst ourselves, talked it up a few times to folks at church, introduced some of the materials at a mens’ retreat…  but mostly just talked.)  This isn’t a ‘on my turf’ thing, but our friend’s church is a half hour away.  Packing up the kids and schlepping a half hour away to go meet with folks you don’t know at first?  Likely a stopper to getting this kind of information in the hands of most of our fellow church members or in the hands of other folks in our local community.  We were surprised by another reaction in class this evening, though.  When it was our turn to introduce ourselves, we said that we had been through the class before, thought a lot of it, and had considered taking it back to our church, but hadn’t really done anything substantial there.  I was surprised to hear the question “your church?”.  Realized we surprised folks by not being from their church.  May even have surprised them by suggesting that we were not considering joining their church.  May be just my read on their reaction: maybe they were just generally curious.   But it made me think some more when we got home…

I realized in “our” church, I’d likely have had the same reaction.  If someone’s in my church, I assume they’re a member, visiting to consider becoming a member, or visiting because some member made a reach out.  But not just visiting, or  visiting to interact in a program that my church doesn’t have, or heck, visiting to interact with another area of God’s church.  Intellectually I realize His church unimaginably wider/deeper/more diverse than my little pew bench.  But someone I’m still my little pew bench focused.  That pew bench focus is broken up a bit when I think about sharing with the less fortunate via missions or charitable giving, but I can’t say that I necessarily think beyond that to sharing of a less one-way directed manner.

Not sure what to do with these thoughts, as yet…  just thinking them.  Wondering if there’s some interaction there with the high school ministry, or that long thought about clowning ministry.  But it’s making me think about broadening that horizon a bit more than just that pew bench.

1 comment

  1. Tina, I’d consider it. Jenn and I have twice gone “church shopping”, once after each move, and one day I’ll write a bit more about it.

    I learned a lot, not only about the churches and people we visited, but about myself. I learned what type of worship I enjoyed, what beliefs I hold firm, and what beliefs aren’t as solid as I may have thought. It very much helped me sculpt the vision of church I wanted for my family. In a way it was challenging and in a way it was uncomfortable, but it was always welcoming. I’m a big fan of how churches treat newcomers.

    Like many people, I feel very wedded to my current church. I’d have trouble doing it now. I’m glad I had a chance to do it, though. It’s a fascinating world out there.

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