My search for a new church here has been an interesting one. At the same time, it has made me well aware of exactly what I want in a church and what I believe a church should be. I think once you find the one that you know is right, you feel it in your HEART. When that feeling is not totally there, you know you need to continue looking.
My church hunt has left me feeling like GOLDILOCKS because there was just a little something that made me feel the church was not JUST RIGHT for me.
I started out going to a place down the road. I liked it in a sense because the people there were very friendly. I did think it was very considerate of them to reach out to me the way that they did. However, after I listened to some sermons, I just didn't feel right about it. I do not believe that God is a formula who you can just add up 1+2=3 and say you've got it and go on. That's what I got out of that church. Every sermon gave you a formula for how to be a Christian, and I just didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. (MAMA BEAR)
Then, I attended a Baptist church with some family members in the area. I really enjoyed being there with them. In the end, though, I actually felt the church was a little big to be my home church. I felt the need for something smaller and more intimate. (PAPA BEAR)
So, I searched 30 pages of churches online one Sunday morning to see if I could find something that seemed right to me. I settled on one that seemed okay (I didn't feel that "just right" feeling), and I couldn't find anything better. So, I just went there. I was the least satisfied with this one because I felt like I was at a concert. I just didn't feel like I was worshipping God. Others may have, and that's great if they did. For me, I just felt like I was being entertained. I don't need entertainment, and I didn't really even want it. (UNCLE BUCKY BEAR...I just made him up because I needed an "out there" bear)
After my search, I came to a point where I actually had a set of criteria.
1.) I want a church that isn't trying to prove itself to me as to what it can do for me. I want one that is not too big. Some place where I feel like I'm with family.
2.) I want a church that is willing to sing some old-fashioned hymns and not only contemporary music. While contemporary music has its value, there is nothing wrong with a good hymn to me.
3.) I want a church that doesn't STRESS about DRESS. In other words, don't be all about wearing jeans/dressing down OR all about dressing up. Let people dress how they want to honor God. I personally prefer dressing up because I'm going to the Lord's house. But others would be focused more on themselves in that kind of dress. But why is our dress a point that matters? Doesn't our heart to GOD matter more?
I really was wondering if I was going to find this when I happened upon a church's website last week. It was a Christian & Missionary Alliance church, which did not sound familiar to me. So, I asked my parents what that was. Their website sounded great. Plus, they had posted sermons online for me to hear, and I liked what I heard. It turns out that one of my favorite veterans of the faith, A.W. Tozer, pastored several CMA churches. Therefore, I became very excited to attend. Oddly enough, the church was EVERYTHING I was hoping for down to the last point. I couldn't believe it. A nice woman came up to me and invited me to sit next to her. The church had people of all ages, and I really felt as though they were all there to focus on Jesus. It was so soothing and comfortable. My heart felt at HOME. (BABY BEAR)
“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we're pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker's praise without anxiety.”
- A. W. Tozer