After five months now of visiting lots of churches in our new town, we’re still not sure which one we’ll join but we do know one thing. It’ll be a group of believers who are more interested in being church to our community than in holding meetings and services in hopes that people will come to us.
It’s ironic that we were part of a traditional church in California, the kind you’d expect to find in the Bible Belt, and now that we’re in the South, we’re leaning towards a non-traditional one. Our church in California was situated in the county in the U.S. with the smallest percentage of people who attend church (including those who only go twice a year on Christmas and Easter). It was a wonderful church with people we dearly miss, but there wasn’t much time left over to build relationships with people who didn’t know Christ yet. Between all the services and committee meetings (where I had to learn the rules for “I move” and “I second the motion”), the week was full.
But now in the South, living in the very buckle of the Bible belt, we’ve found several churches that have been bold enough to cancel a few staples in the typical weekly schedule – namely, Sunday and Wednesday evening services. Instead, people are encouraged to spend time with their families on Sunday evenings and invited to be in home groups during the week.
It’s refreshing. I feel like I’m back on staff with Campus Crusade again, strategizing how to reach our community for Christ, building bridges to minister to people, not being bound by what’s been done in the past. Whichever church we become members of, we’ll be in a team effort to reach the lost and disillusioned. Many people, even in the South, are burned by past experiences with churches and we can’t expect them to come to a church building. Clearly, the traditional church is not working to win the Millenial generation. And so we will go to them. We will be the church. Hopefully, they will see Jesus in us and they’ll want more of Him.