Last week at church, when I announced that I'd been promoted at work, one of our friends excitedly told us that she'd prayed that morning for our baby and that I'd get a new job because she didn't think my current position could provide for our family. Little did she know the Lord was answering her prayers that day, and it was such an encouragement to hear her share that.
For two years in Virginia, Darla and I have searched for a church to call home. But time after time, we found churches claiming to be Bible-believing that instead seemed mired in traditionalism. A few were decent, but had other issues that concerned us.
For a year we attended one church regularly, but it wasn't one we felt at home in. As BJ grads, we felt that we were viewed as too liberal. (!) Finally, that reached a point where we needed to resume our active church search.
We expanded our search parameters from our county to basically an hour's drive in any direction. We were desperate to hear the Word preached and to have true fellowship.
We visited a college friend's church, which was pleasant but far away. We tried a few others, but they were more of the same. Eventually we decided to try some in the nearby city in which Darla works.
I went online, trying to find the service times for one church we knew of. Instead I found a link to one I'd never heard of and everything on its website looked promising. That Sunday we visited Fellowship Baptist Church and were pleased to hear an outlined sermon, with beautiful explanations of the Scripture passage.
The pastor's family invited us to lunch that same day, something which had never happened at any other church we'd visited. For the next few weeks, we tried a few other churches in between visits to Fellowship, not wanting to be too hasty in our decision to attend there. But the Lord was guiding us there clearly.
For the first time in a long time, we were excited to go to church -- in spite of a 45-minute drive. The pastor's expositions on the Word several times brought tears to my eyes because of the beauty of the concept he was revealing through careful study. That was something we hadn't had for two years.
About two months ago we joined the small body -- services typically run about 20-25 people. It's a church in which Christ's love is so evident in the interactions of the congregation, and one in which we're able to make a difference, much like we did in New York. (One of the things I'm working on is a new website for the church!) Interestingly, the small church has two newspaper people (and sometimes a third), a public relations person, and a video producer. I feel right at home.
Since we first visited this summer, the church moved out of its exhorbitantly-priced store front into a high school. Not long after that, we had to move out of the high school and we spent a few weeks as nomads. Twice we met in a town park picnic shelter, once at the pastor's house, and a few times at a local state university. Our prayers for a permanent location were quickly answered, and we moved into our current location, which is nearly perfect for our needs.
A struggling pentecostal church rented us an entire wing of their building, giving us a small office, a small sanctuary, restrooms, and two nursery/Sunday School rooms. When needed, we also have access to a full-size banquet hall with commercial kitchen. Most importantly, it gives a base of operations so that we can rededicate our efforts to reaching out in the community.
Frequently we see the Lord's provision for our needs. Over the last six months, we've seen him meet our need for a strong church home. And last week, as I got my new job, our church friends got to be a part of the Lord's provision. That fellowship is what we've missed, and we're so thankful for it.Posted by JRC at December 18, 2005 08:07 PM | TrackBack