i found in my pursuit of God that He was much more hotly in pursuit of me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

churchie churchie churchie

disclaimer - this post is actually about me, not about rebecca marie

you know what stinks? when the church that was once the perfect fit for your family isn't anymore. it is almost like losing a member of your family, or forty or so members of your family, as the case may be.

spiritually, my family has grown sooooo much in the last four years. leaps and bounds. exponential type growth. but we've realized that lately we haven't been experiencing that type of growth anymore. it's not a good feeling, no siree, not even a little.

so here's our plan. we're gonna warm pews for a while.

here is my personal opinion on how you should decide which churches to visit. decide as a family or as a couple, or as a person how far you are willing to drive on a regular basis for corporate worship and for other types of fellowship (home groups, youth group, someone who needs help moving, all of it). visit every church that is even vaguely intriguing to you in that radius. i'm not kidding. don't take someone else's word for it in regard to whether or not a church is worth visiting, find out for yourself! i would even suggest that all of you visit the church we are leaving if you decide to look around. what isn't the perfect fit for me and mine may be the perfect fit for you.

there are a few places i have in mind for starters. we are heading to southwest this sunday because it feels very safe to us. we know quite a few people there (who'm i kidding, i know lots of people at practically every c-o-c in the area) and no one likes to walk in a be the stranger. i'd like to head back to eastside, my home before i started this church planting adventure. i've been wanting to visit at renovatus since launch sunday, but as all of the renovators know, it's a huge big deal to miss even one week at a fledgling plant, it's not like losing a fingernail from the body when someone is missing. it's like losing a whole arm, so i've yet to visit there, even though i really want to. i want to check out cross roads. again, it's mostly the pull of friends. we hope to spend some time fellowshipping with the clarks at agape, before and after it's up and running. i could continue, but i think you get the idea.

and you know what? we are probably going to visit some (gasp) non-c-o-c churches!!! we at the rm house are pretty firm believers that we are not the only ones going to heaven. we think some other churches are doing things the way God wants them to, too. we even think that some other types of churches are getting it a little better at it these days, but that's a whole 'nother post, and probably not one for this blog anyway.

here's my hope, my dream, my most sincere prayer. i'm looking for a church that feels like church. not like a church. but like the church. like the church where jesus is. i've got an amazing thing going in my family, and we need to nurture it. we need to worship with people who will help us with that. i've got this sincerely awesome husband who not only spiritually leads my family but does it in a way that doesn't make me feel bossed. i've got this son who spouts off bible facts like an encyclopedia, and it makes me so proud i could burst. and i've got this daughter who is so much more spiritual than i am that it puts me to shame... (just real quick, two things; she prayed for me the other night, spontaneously. i wasn't feeling well and went to bed early. she sat on my bed and sang to me and told me stories. when i said that i needed go to sleep now and closed my eyes she said "holy God, please help my mommy to sleep good." she asked me about "babatism" yesterday. i explained to her what baptism was and she said she wants to do it. i told her in the meantime to invite jesus into her heart and as long as she wants him there, he will stay, she said "brother jesus, please live in my heart forever!" she is only four.)

i told my minister last night that we were leaving. he didn't ask why, he did ask "what type of church are you looking for?" i said "i don't know. we'll know when we get there."

so, tell me... what will me and the mister find at your church? why should we visit with you? why have you made your home your home? i really really really want to know. for reals.

(on an unrelated note... pray for my dad and my family. his mom died about an hour ago and my heart is broken for him. i know there will come a time when most of us won't have a mom and i don't think any of us are looking forward to it. my dad is one of the coolest people i know, and i hate that he is hurting. his name is mike holden, if you like to have a name when you are praying.)

arrivederci, rebecca marie

17 flattering compliments:

Blogger rebecca marie gushed...

p.s. i just thought of like the fiftieth thing to add to this post but i'm tired of going back in and editing and republishing so you get it here.

we did not make our decision to leave our church lightly. it was only after months of consideration, which is how i believe you should leave any church. hasty decisions are rarely good ones, in my opinion.

7/21/2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Shanna gushed...

I commend you for taking this leap. Sprituality is very important, and if you are feeling you are going backwards instead of forwards, then you need to be somewhere that will inspire you.

Good luck to you and your family... you have friends that are here to support you ..and I for one, hope you find what your looking for.

(who knows, maybe I will bump into you while out and about myself.)

ps.. sorry about your Grandma, your whole family is in my prayers!

7/21/2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger Lori Ann gushed...

we have been praying for you and the rest of the group since sunday evening. we know how hard of decision it was. I also just said a prayer for your family about your grandmother(ron had just told me that)
we definately would love to have you all visit and worship with our plant...you know what you would find there already, i think!
peace to you and the family...

7/21/2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Gina gushed...

I've been there (am kind of still there, but waiting for the chaos to wind down before making a big decision). I feel for you, it's an agonizing decision to leave, and quite a draining process of living as a nomad before finding the new home where you belong. It sounds like you're going about the whole thing in a wise, mature manner. God will guide you to the place where you will be able to do your best work and be your best self.

Just be glad there are so many great options to choose from where you live. (I'm feeling sorry for myself.) Over here, we'd be going from the frying pan into the fire. All the congregations seem to hate each other more than they hate the evil that's in the world. At least where we are now, we have a fantastic preacher who really speaks The Word. (Which is why we'll probably just muddle along for the next 10 or 11 months till Steve retires and we can move...hopefully to the Portland area.)

Your dad and the whole family will be in our prayers. It must be devastating to lose a parent, no matter how old or mature you are.

7/21/2006 3:54 PM  
Blogger Breanna gushed...

hello boat-mate (get it? we're in the same boat?)

there are so many things i want to add to what you've said because you're story IS my story and we've been on this crazy journey side-by-side for awhile now with the church. but i don't need to say more than you have, at least not on the world wide web.

so i will say that i think you've handled this very delicate situation with sophistication, grace and jesusness. i'm proud of you.

and i'm so sorry for your family...another delicate situation...and i join the others in intercession on your behalf.

7/21/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Breanna gushed...

one more thing...the "brother jesus" thing breaks my heart in a million pieces...we could all learn a lot about Christ from that little lady of yours.

7/21/2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Alan gushed...

I know what you are going through. I have been through many times in my life. I can say that because I am an old fart. We settled in Beaverton at Westside, mostly because of a couple of little ones. Of places we have been through the years I like the way they have allowed women to actually be fully Christians, not just relegated to the sidelines and being very quiet at that, or hanging out in the kitchen. It is shocking I am sure for some cocers to actually hear a woman say a prayer during worship or read a scripture. For that matter..even become a deaconess. Even with that I still wonder if it is still the right fit. If it weren't for the younuns we might have gone to Metro. I enjoyed my visit and think that Ron is an excellent teacher and preacher. I would be in a pickle now because of his decision to go off and start a plant. For us it is a commute no matter where we go since there isn't any COC nearby.

Understand that I am the son of preacher. I have preached. I have been a deacon. I have been an elder. I also have family that attended at Independent Christian Churches and some that attended Disciples of Christ (both of the Stone-Campbell heritage with Churches of Christ.) There came a time not that long ago, that we visited a Christian Church. We visited a Presbyterian Church. The Christian Church had lots of people, but the band was way too loud to get into worshipping. Hard to understand because I am an old Rock and Roller from the 60s. I enjoyed the Presbyterian Church very much. They used a piano and a choir. They had a service that moved me to a higher place. I've also done Lutheran and Catholic, but many years ago.

There are times when I feel like the doing of church is lacking in real meaning. When it comes to the COC I feel like our feelings of, as the Gecko says "exclusivity", is a weight that I really don't want to lug around. Those sort of things are for you to examine for your family.

I know what it is like to leave a group that you have spent time with. It is an emotional investment. You have made the choice to do so over much condsideration. I have confidence that you are needed elsewhere right now. I hope you find that place wherever it may take you.

I feel for the loss of your grandmother. I have none of mine around anymore.

7/21/2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger Amanda gushed...

I am sorry to see you feel upheavalness in your decisions to grow and to church - but despite that i am very excited for your family to find a new home that encourages the spiritual growth that you need.

Renavatus is an honest community of Christians and i love that. City Bible (once you learn the new songs!) has wonderful worship and amazing ministries to be a part of. We might just bump into eachother some sunday :)

7/22/2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah gushed...


Turn your phone on, girl.

7/22/2006 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Jenny Ranum gushed...

Hey new friend! The way you handled the idea of moving to another church and how you are going about the search for a new family is inspiring; mainly because of the softness that you have toward the voice and moving of the Spirit that is in you and your household. What a powerful testimony to your children of how to walk by the Spirit. A powerful testimony to me, too!

I like to think of church as a community of believers and, even more so, a family. A few weeks ago we reunited with our family of believers and I was overcome with emotion. For the first time since moving back to the Northwest, I felt like we were home. My desire is for that community to stretch beyond the scheduled "church meeting times" and into daily life and time spent with each other. I pray that your family is able to find a community of believers that is full of Light and Life and that continues to help your family grow in maturity and relationship with our Lord and with the church in this world. With the Spirit guiding you, finding that place is a certainty!

7/22/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Jess gushed...

I find it refreshing to hear about someone changing churches because of their desire to find God in a more meaningful/life changing way. Since I work with a new baby church, we are always talking with people who leave their current church homes because of hurt feelings, arrguments over petty things and other things like that. They come to Renovatus because they are lookign for somehting new and exciting, or for an unhealthy way to "get away" from their frustrations. Props for being prayerful and discerning before making a choice.

I don't have anything convincing or tantilizing (I don't even know how to spell that)to tell you about Renovatus. I don't feel like it is too much different from any other church. WE love Jesus and try to create an authentic (Way over used word!), loving place to worship and learn about him.

One thing I want to add. Where ever you find a church where you hear and experience God it will be so refreshing. I love the feeling of looking forward to every Sunday, being sad if I miss one. Not because of guilt, but because of really missing the time to spend with Him and other christ followers. It is right and good to feel this way. I thik that's how He made it to be.

7/22/2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Rizzle gushed...

I agree with my wonderful wife. I get tired of people getting angry or frustrated and then leaving their church. I don't really want those people at my church (can I say that?). On the other hand, I love the theology that says that other churches are a part of the same larger body. So when you're going to another church it's just because you're seeking something different within the body of Christ. Thats liberating.
My hope is that Renovatus is always fresh and full of vitality. I also hope that there are dozens of other churches closer to where you live that are even further down that path of healthy growth and experience. God rocks. Church rocks...but sometimes it doesn't...and that sucks...balls...
I'm sure you've heard it, but mosaic is a neat church as is imago. They are both lead by deeply spiritual people.

7/22/2006 10:52 PM  
Blogger Jessica gushed...

Hey - I was in an almost-similar situation recently. As we were getting ready to make the difficult decision to leave our church, the church decided to close. We had plans to visit many many churches, but we only made it to one. I was finally able to make it to PUMP and it was so incredibly wonderful for me. My biggest issue with churches around here (that I have gone to, anyway) is the politics and beauracracy (sp).... and I LOVE the home-y feel and honesty at PUMP. It reminds me of my home and i am just so-darned comfy there. It's also super-dee-duper close to our apartment. It may not be a good fit for you, but I can see it being good. I also think that your children would like it there... very kid-friendly and not in an intertaining only kinda way, but in an open, honest, educational and practical kinda way. plus, it would be AWESOME to get to see you! OOh... and we like to sing lots.

7/26/2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Allan White gushed...

There's a lot to think about here. Some of these issues are ones we've discussed at PUMP.

In some respects, church families are like other kinds of family - some are more or less functional, and all have different personalities. Some come to PUMP because it fits their with their personality. Others come because they're running from something, or searching for something that doesn't exist. Still others come because they are looking for new ways to serve that they didn't have in their former church, or because they love kids (part of our DNA at PUMP). Some might come because there's few kids their kids' ages. These are only a few reasons; all are unique.

I've found that the ones who are searching that end up staying around at PUMP (or other church plants, for that matter) are ones that take responsibility for their own spiritual growth. Ones that come and say, "we just weren't being spiritually fed" tend to wander off eventually, in search of someone to "feed" them.

It's been interesting to watch, I'll say that. PUMP may not be for everyone, but it'd be fun to find out! Hope to see you & your family sometime.

7/28/2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Allan White gushed...

When things get crazy, sometimes Kristi and I fantasize about just "taking a break" from PUMP and pew-warming some megachurch for a few months. We know it would get old, but hey... Not that we would, you know.

I love Renovatus and I think it's awesome. It has a very distinct personality and style that I think is very relevant for a lot of NW'sters.

Imago Dei is worth checking out, as is The Way in Beaverton. Whoa! Those aren't C of C's! That's going to come back to bite me, I'm sure. =) I want to visit them to learn about worship styles.

7/28/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger tara gushed...

we recently (or about a year ago) decided to look for a new church and went to a bunch and nothing felt "right" until we went to Bridgeway. its not c of c, there is a loud worship band and it is crazy compared to any church ive gone to, but we have met jesus there. i can honestly say that i get so close to jesus every sunday morning, it gives me goosebumps. ive never seen people let the lord work as he wants, not how we want him to and it is liberating and exciting.
so good luck in your quest for your new home! dont settle for any less than a place that gives you goosebumps.

7/29/2006 2:20 PM  
Blogger tabitha jane gushed...

you will find a group of christ followers who love the city of portland with everything they have, who see social justice as an act of worship, who want to live authentic lives, who believe in true community and who use wine (gasp!) in communion.

plus, their children's ministry kicks isch! (i know, because i volunteer there).

if you want to visit imago, let me know when you plan to hit it up -- i want to sit with you!

8/16/2006 10:25 AM  

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