This will be a tale of our church hunting, and other thoughts on churches:
When we moved to WI we were excited to start the process of finding a church family, especially to meet people who think like us and develop lifelong friendships. We are definitely still in that process!
We have visited 8 or 9 churches so far and have enjoyed worshipping with each group of people. I would say there are at least 4 that we would joyfully adopt as our home. I am finding that I was very wrong in my assumption that it would be easy to find the one small group of people in Wausau that knows Christ and fellowships together. Turns out there are MANY excellent churches in the area! We find ourselves in the best kind of bind, how to pick "the" church?
Jason and I have been completely in unity so far in our opinions about the churches we have visited. We are so hesitant to criticize any of the churches, because they are accomplishing a purpose for some believers and seekers. They are what they are, whether they are our preferences or not, every church has had its strengths! I am amazed at the diversity of bodies of people, preaching, music, and philosophies on witnessing in this one city! I feel like I have a small glimpse of how heaven will be, only there will be no divided churches! I am so comforted that God showed me that a LOT of people love Jesus around here and we won't just be like Lot and his family among heathens.
Music is obviously very deeply in Jason's and my souls, so it is hard to ignore the musical aspects of each church. We really don't want to only consider churches with our favorite kind of music, though. To make things more complex, the churches where we LOVED the excellent music, we also felt like we weren't necessarily as needed at those churches, and may be led somewhere else where God could allow us to get involved in music again. Other factors we have considered are location, friendliness, theology, kids' programs, places we could see ourselves immediately plugging in.
So what is the role of the church? I have always thought one duty of the church is to effectively minister to the community, especially widows, orphans, the needy, and homeless. I believe if the CHURCH were doing it's job effectively, we would have a MUCH smaller government picking up the slack of the needs the church isn't meeting! Do we pick a church based on where we can best serve according to our perceived gifts? Should we look for a church where we can serve in capacities we're not as familiar with to stretch us and let Christ's power be made perfect in our weaknesses? Does God even care where we worship, or only that our hearts are right WHEN we worship and that we are content in every situation? I welcome anyone's thoughts on this.
In the meantime we will continue on our journey, hoping to find peace as we go, and a new set of friends to play Settlers and pinnocle with!
And what is a blog post without a picture of my boys? :-) Caedmon is protectively holding Jonas' hand when they cross the street, so he won't get hit by cars. He is 16 months older and wiser, you know.