I know… it’s been three weeks. We’ve been buried in cardboard and sadly there is more to come. Our “express” will be there when you are shipment will be arriving Friday. It’s the last delivery because living without a vacuum with two dogs and four kids is super pleasant…said no one ever.
I had to take a breath and write about what happened yesterday. I never really enjoy the whole church shopping with every new location. I feel like I’ve let someone down if the church isn’t for me and people are nice. This is a HUGE part of my kids spiritual life and the pressure to find the right place for us feels like the weight of the world. On the other hand, we meet lots of new people and get lots of new experiences.
Yesterday was border line indescribable. After visiting a very small church last week, we decided to visit a larger church. It honestly didn’t look that huge to me but the bulletin indicated around 300 people in attendance. We arrived and found seats. It was a long drive and we were behind schedule. We opened our bulletin. It looked fabulous. There were mission trips. The youth group activities looked great. There were even upcoming events for Bria and Jack. Then we heard a missionary who had been in China would be speaking briefly. I’ll admit my heart fluttered. Then we heard there were children from China visiting. How perfect! The sermon was excellent. At this particular church, they have worship service that moves directly into Sunday school classes. If I had ominous music this is where I would play it.
We sat in our pew for a second trying to figure out where to go next. I got up and had to stop at a desk to ask where Bria and Jack needed to go. I’m pretty sure I must’ve looked a little lost. Then we made our way to their class. The teacher looked annoyed that I was interrupting her. I hate it too when I’m teaching and then a child comes in late but I always smile and greet everyone. I make my way back through the crowd to the rest of my family. I asked. Not one teen or youth minister or anyone approached my big girls. They usually feel almost suffocated by the youth group when we arrive at a church. One man stopped to talk to Ray. He didn’t acknowledge my existence.
We made it through our service and Sunday school without one person engaging us. On the way out another veteran stopped Ray to ask about his service. (The haircut always gives him away.) The family stood waiting for me to find Bria and Jack and make our way out. No one talked to either my Mom or my big girls. Mom later said one older lady did say hello to her while she was sitting in the pews.
The sermon was about being doers of The Word not hearers only.
James 1:22 “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
In 20 years of being married to the navy I’ve been to churches all over the world. I have to say this is the first time I’ve been shocked. There are no words. It was especially hard considering that the leis we put on visitors at our last church were jokingly referred to as visitor tracking devices. How can we make it through almost 3 hours with no one striking up a conversation.
What a shame. This church that can offer so much in the way of missions and opportunities can’t offer a smile or a hello to a visitor. Maybe this can be a heads up. Is this why so many churches are failing? Look around. Even a seasoned church goer like me could use a little light in the transition of a move. Am I being unreasonable?