Thursday, July 9, 2009

Visit to MyChurch

This past Sunday, I went with a friend to visit MyChurch. There were so many interesting things about this experience, which I will call "signs" (of how I know God sent me there), I just have to share!

First of all, a little background... I grew up very involved in church and as an adult taught Children's Church,Awana, VBS, etc., and had some great experiences there in my early twenties. After a major turning point in my life, I left the church. Since then, Doug and I have married and had the boys. We have talked about wanting to take them to church, but have just not made our move. Doug's family is Catholic, however, he was not raised in a church and did not have that experience. Most of my family has stopped attending church as well.

Several things have plagued me as I have thought about finding a church home ... some important, some not so important...
1. A traditional church setting may be overwhelming for someone like Doug, who was not raised in church.
2. Although I want my kids to be in church, I do *not* want them to grow up feeling afraid of God or constantly judged and never good enough, as I did for most of my life. I want them to know God as their heavenly Father.
3. My kids have never stayed with anyone other than family, so I have been worried about them not wanting to go to the church nursery, especially to different classes.
4. I cannot afford new wardrobes for all of us to go to church.

Recently, I found a children's book about Jonah while going through some of my old things. Flipping through the book, I thought, "This is exactly what I do not want my kids to get out of church, i.e. you better listen to God and do what he says or he will get you!"

Fast forward to this past week, when my friend Leanna sent me a Facebook message and asked me if I would like to visit MyChurch with her. Now, interestingly enough, when MyChurch first opened, I saw their advertisement at Chickfila and researched their website. I was very interested in visiting, and even talked to Doug about it, but we hadn't made it there yet.

It soon became very clear to me that God had decided for me to visit MyChurch. On to the signs...

Sign 1: Leanna told me the atmosphere was very casual and I did not have to dress up. I was thrilled! No new wardrobe required!
Sign 2: Leanna told me that coffee, including lattes and such were served, and that you could also bring your own in. This was unbelievable to me! I can hear an uplifting message and have Starbucks too? Perfect news for a coffee junkie like me.
Sign 3: Before going to church, I had checked the website again and was disappointed - due to my recent review of the children's book on Jonah - to find that the current sermon series was on Jonah too! As we waited for the service to start that morning, I told Leanna that Jonah was not one of my favorite stories and that I would be very interested to hear the pastor's spin on this tale.
Sign 4: As the service began, we found out that a guest speaker would be preaching, a real Bible scholar and professor, Dr. Ed Hinson. I was a little disappointed not to hear the regular pastor since this was my first visit, however, anyone who knows me knows I love the history of the Bible and so I was excited to hear a real expert speak. He was EXCELLENT! He had maps and everything - right up my alley - showing where everything was past and present. He presented Chapter 3 of Jonah and I made many notes. He presented a new Jonah story and a new perspective for me. My favorite thing he said was,"The warnings of God are not that he is mad at us, but that he wants what is best for us."
Sign 5: The speaker also addressed how some churches only focus on the judging and negative, while others only focus on the God is Love positive "stuff", and that really, we need to be somewhere in between - which is exactly the place where I have been wanting to find.
Sign 6: After the service, I decided to check out the kids area to see how my boys might fit in, and although there are 2 rooms where I could put Brodie & Blayd separately they also have an 18mo. - 3yr. room where I can put them together - and would you believe the whole theme of the room and wall murals are painted in Ocean decor?? My boys' favorite! It was like the room was designed with us in mind.
Sign 7: I went home and pulled out that children's Jonah book. I was determined to prove it wrong now that I had new information from the sermon I had just heard. Well, much to my surprise, the story no longer sounded evil or punishing, or scary. I could not believe it! What a difference in perspective!

I am going to visit MyChurch again, and take the boys this time. I am excited to hear the regular pastor speak (who I have heard great things about) and see what else God has in store for me there. Hopefully, Doug will join us soon too. It really is a different atmosphere, and very non-traditional, one that I think he would enjoy and anyone else who might be interested!

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Kerri says:

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I LOVE reading your comments.

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