Speaking of waiting, it’s Sunday and there is a meeting after church. So I’m posting because I have access to a computer and plenty of time to work on it.
Sometimes I wonder what life is like for people who pick a church home. How do you come by that decision? The reason this is a source of wonder for me is that being both a pastor’s wife and a pastor’s kid, I have only had one opportunity in my life to find a church home: while in college.
After years of studying about church, ministry, evangelism, and sharing the Good News with others, I realized something today. It really is all about relationships. Yes, I’ve been saying that for a long time. It’s something I’ve talked about in classes and discussed as a theoretical thing. But as I reflect on the only church home I ever chose, it was a relationship thing.
During my first year of college, I church-hopped a lot. I didn’t have a car, so it was a matter of finding a ride with someone or walking to the nearest church. I floated around without any real sense of belonging to a family. Then my sophomore year I had a car, but my friend Jessica didn’t (she is one of the friends who had to introduce herself). I can’t recall now if it was that year or the next when she asked me to attend church with her, the church her grandparents had always gone to. I think it started because she didn’t have transportation but I had the car. So I started going with her, not every week at first, but I liked the way the pastor preached and the people were nice.
Jessica graduated after four years. I, being a bit slower to figure out my major, was still at school for a fifth year, but I kept going to Mount Calvary. That was the name of the church. And here’s the thing: People got used to seeing me there. I was gone for a couple of weekends due to work and breaks from school, and a woman came up to me when I went back and said she was so glad I came back.
I get to missing churches, sometimes, not that things aren’t good at our new church but I miss the familiar. So I think back through the churches of my past – St. Johns, where I grew up; First Lutheran, where I lost my naivete about church (not all congregations are warm/fuzzy); Mount Calvary; and Salem, where I learned to be a pastor’s wife. There were some gaps in there, short stints at churches while my husband served as a mission developer, but most of that time was spent church hopping or with me working with youth, and we weren’t anyplace long enough to call it home.
And now we are part of Gloria Dei. I know there will come a time when it feels like home, too. But right now, because it’s not there yet, I miss my former churches. I think that’s a normal part of the process, but it’s still tough for me.