I'm frustrated today. And no, it's not just because the Vols lost to Alabama yesterday afternoon, though that is a small part of it.
I'm frustrated with a church I've visited.
Since the start of the year and really some of the last few months of '05, I've been in the process of looking for a new church home. I've got to be honest with you--it's hard work. I think part of it is that I have some specific things I'm looking for. The biggest is that I'd like to find a church home close to where I live that has a fellowship or Sunday School class or something that is specifically targeted to and for adults who are single. To me, this is a huge thing and a major "selling point" if you will in my search for a church.
Of course, I'm also looking for the big things as well--a church where the Holy Spirit is working and one that is built on being and creating disciples. Those things are fundamental and go without saying.
So, I've been visiting some churches. And the results, so far have been intriguing to me.
I've found that, for the most part, all the churches have been warm and friendly. Some have been bigger than others. I'll fully admit I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of Smyrna First Baptist and Otter Creek. I was so overwhelmed that I never did have a chance to catch up with any of the people I knew by sight and name at Otter Creek. I had no idea going in of the size and that I should have asked if I could meet my friends somewhere so we could sit together during service. I don't hold that against the church. That was entirely my fault. I also understand they are in a big transition to a new building and things can be a bit chaotic there. I will admit of the churches I've visited so far, this is one of the ones that really resonated with me. I plan to visit again once the move is done and the dust settles. My only major issue--the church is a good drive away from where I live. That's the only negative point I can see so far.
The other one that I've visited that resonated with me was a small Methodist church. I found it on a rainy Sunday morning and was met with warmth and fellowship. One of the men from the church greeted me and conversed with me for a bit. I was impressed that the next day I got an e-mail from him saying he was glad I'd visited and hoped to see me again soon. I got a few handwritten notes from the pastor and various members saying how nice it was to see me. And since they're Methodist, they follow the doctrine of "if you feed them, they will come." I got a pie that day, a packet on the ministries of the church and a professional recorded CD of their music minister's work. I will say that it was a great way to feed me--not only that day with the pie but in the weeks beyond with that CD that I really enjoy. It's hymns played on a piano which I really, really enjoy. And after all that, I got a survey from the pastor that is anonymous. It only goes to him and it asks what is good and not so good about the experience and how can they make it better for visitors. I really like that the church is open to knowing what it does well but also that it knows it can do more and wants feedback. My only drawback--it is a bit small and it doesn't have a single adult group that I can see or find in the ministry packets. And that's something I really find I want.
Now, living near the Boro and the campus of MTSU, I thought maybe a church in the Boro might be the answer. I explored some web sites and found one that seemed to talk about a singles ministry and all the Sunday School classes talked about being a place for couples and singles. So, I e-mailed to find out more about the singles ministry and got...no response. So, not to be deterred, I visited. I've visited three services and today got brave and went to Sunday School. Now, let me preface this by saying that earlier in the week, I dropped an e-mail to the pastor asking him what he recommended for a Sunday School class and was there a singles program. I sent this Monday. He's said at the end of the service each week that if you have questions, please contact him. Well, I'll give him credit--he did respond. It was the "I don't know, but let me forward you to someone who can help you."
That was Monday afternoon.
I've heard nothing back..and it's frustrating. I mean, I understand people are busy, but I'm a legitimate seeker here . I don't think it's too much to take five minutes to drop me an e-mail sometime between Tuesday morning and Sunday morning. I did go and asked some greeters this morning where would be a good place for me and I visited a class...but the thing is, it was a young adult class. And it was the issue I've hit in my old church--it was a class of young adults who are all married and have kids or are having kids. Which don't get me wrong--nothing wrong there. But what I'm looking for is some fellowship here. And we have a different frame of reference in our daily concerns, which is understandable. I would be more worried if they weren't consumed with the raising the kids and the joys that brings. But I"m not in that boat..and I want to find some people who are. Some people who if I want to grab a burger on Friday evening don't have to call a babysitter.
I think my biggest frustration is the overall feeling at the church of--yeah, whatever. Again, it takes five minutes to send an e-mail. I don't think my question was too terribly difficult. I do wonder if they had a singles program and it's in a valley and not a peak. They may not want to tell me that and discourage me..but to not respond to me discourages me even more.
So, my journey continues. I keep praying and seeking.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/19/2006 02:21:00 PM