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When God Calls You (to a) Home

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For the first time in . . . well, I’ve lost count of how long it’s been, I woke up this morning with my first thought being, “I get to go to church tonight!”

You see, I’ve been unchurched for over a year and a half. For a large portion of that time, I wasn’t attending anywhere. I was tired of feeling obligated to be at church on Sunday mornings—and guilty when I wasn’t there—meeting the church’s needs but not getting my needs met in return. I was burned out. I tried going back to my “home” church—the church I’d been a member of since six months after moving to Nashville—after a stint at a large church about 20 miles away, but as the adage goes, you can never go home. While I wanted to go back and lay low and spend some time healing spiritually, because I’d been such an active member before, they wanted to draw me into responsibilities that once again made me feel obligated to be there and like I was just being used.

I did, however, miss the close, family-like community of being an active member in a church. But I decided I needed a drastic change—one of the reasons why I burned out on both churches is that both had gone super-contemporary and super-conservative. I desired a more traditional worship service where the church leadership and members are a little more moderate in their beliefs. So I went totally different—I started visiting the 200+-year-old Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal in downtown Nashville. Talk about “traditional” worship services! The liturgical ceremony of their worship services reminded me that while God is our “Daddy God,” He also deserves respect, awe, and reverence. I realized that the two churches I’d been in started taking too lax an approach to God. Yes, He is approachable and wants a personal relationship with us, but the more relaxed that attitude became, the further I fell away from having a genuine relationship with Him.

After a few months of visiting the Cathedral off and on, I started missing a good old Baptist service. So I started mixing in a visit to First Baptist downtown every so often, until it got to the point I was only attending there—when I was attending church at all.

Then, about three months ago, I got an all-in-one VCR/DVD-recorder and spent weeks transferring old videotapes onto DVD, including a bunch of musicals and Sunday morning services where I’d sung solos or in small ensembles. As I sat through them while I was recording them, or watched part of the Sunday morning services while queuing up the tapes to my part, I started feeling homesick. Not homesick for that church, but homesick for the feeling of love and acceptance I had there for years. Through those hours of copying and editing, God stirred up a desire in me I thought long dead—the desire to find a church home.

About six or seven weeks ago, I thought I’d found it. It was smaller than I’d hoped for, but so loving and friendly that I felt right at home. Until I discovered that their ministry focus (on children’s ministry) has no place for someone whose heart for ministry is with Singles. So I got online and went to the website of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, knowing that was probably the only way I would find a church that shares my more moderate outlook on life. Only one was listed that was near enough for me to consider, Woodmont Baptist Church. Their morning service is televised, so that Sunday, I watched it on TV. I was completely drawn in and was antsy all week waiting for the next Sunday so that I could actually go sit in the auditorium for the service and participate. This, from someone who for a year and a half had to drag herself out of bed to go to church once a month!

On my first visit, I ended up sitting in the side section where many of the senior adults sit—what a blessing! They are so friendly and welcoming that I felt right at home. That week, I received the standard letter from the church—thank you for visiting—but no calls or visits.

Again, all week I was antsy waiting for Sunday to come back around. You see, I was planning to visit Sunday School. Now, it had been two and a half years since I’d been to a Sunday School class. But I couldn’t wait. I ended up in the “Young Professionals” class because the dear older gentleman who was at the SS welcome center didn’t know where the Singles class met. I really enjoyed the class, but felt my age as I’m a good 10 years older than most of the class. That was okay—I still had the singles class to visit. And church to go to.

I was disappointed that week to find out there wouldn’t be any Wednesday night activities, so I wouldn’t be able to visit choir practice. But during the week, I got an e-mail from one of the leaders of the YP class and a phone call from the choir director—who had seen me in church and was pretty sure I was a singer.

This past Sunday, I visited the Singles SS class . . . and saw why God is calling me to this church. There is no ministry for singles aged 25-40 in this church, and it desperately needs one. But before finding that class, I had been walked into another one which I’ll be visiting this coming week.

After church, I had a nice conversation with the teacher of said class and then with the music minister and the music assistant. I went back for their first Sunday Evening service of the fall, which is quite small and very informal in the fellowship hall, and will be more of a prayer meeting/Bible study time, which is wonderful, because it’ll give me a chance to get to know key members, as well as the music minister and pastor, better and more quickly. I sat with a lady from the class I’ll be visiting this week. The class is mostly couples, but the teachers taught singles for years, and this lady was single until age 48 (4 years ago), so I have a feeling just from these couple of conversations that it’s a group I’ll fit in with pretty well, even though they are all older.

With eager anticipation of Wednesday, I started this week. Tuesday, I got a phone call from the church secretary, so excited that I’ve been visiting and have visited a couple of classes, and so happy I’ll be back for dinner Wednesday night.

So, after a long time of searching and re-learning what worship really is, I believe God is finally calling me home—to a new church home, that is.

Yea! I get to go to church tonight!

  1. Carol Collett permalink
    Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:49 pm

    So how did it go? I’m so excited for you.


  2. Jorge Zayasbazan permalink
    Sunday, August 20, 2006 8:21 am

    As a CBF pastor, I appreciate the insights that you have provided me on the search for a church home.


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