Friday, September 23, 2011

I forgot about this part

I have debated writing this post for quite a while, and I wrote it to process my own thoughts more than anything. But if you have any thoughts or suggestions on church shopping, I'd love to hear them!

When I graduated from college, I was looking for a church just like the one I attended here in college. I ended up driving 45 minutes to find a match, but after a year I realized it was hard to have community in a church 45 minutes away. And it turns out there was a great, small church right in front of me that took me in.

Then I moved and was told to go to one specific church by everyone, but after three weeks, I was so sick of always meeting different people during the peace greeting, I almost stopped going. But I ended up finding my best friends through that church and the ministries there. My circle of friends continued to grow, and that huge church felt a lot smaller when I left.

It's funny how the things you dislike the most become the things you miss the most. After six weeks of going to the church I attended in college, I would give anything for a peace greeting during the service. For weeks, I've walked in and out of the church without talking to anyone.

Now that I'm here and back at my old college church, I'm realizing that I expect different things from a church than I did when I was in college. I am depending on a church to meet people and find friends and some community here. The preaching at the church is even better than I remember. The Gospel is preached over and over, and while I had to readjust to the music, it is a worshipful experience. But in the six years I've been gone, the church has become a megachurch.

And I'm struggling to see how I'll find community in that environment. I was originally excited because I thought there was a young professionals Sunday School class, but it stopped meeting this summer. I've joined a women's study, but I grew even more concerned about the church when women who had been going there for two to three years were having a very similar experience of not talking to anyone on Sunday mornings.

So I'll be trying a new church this Sunday. As my mom told me the other day, I don't have to be monogamous with a church, so I may end up doing some mixing and matching. But I seemed to have blocked this part of the whole moving to a new city thing because it's much harder than I remember.

One funny thing about adjusting here: In my last few weeks in Virginia, I felt like I was always running into people I know -- at the grocery store, downtown, etc. At the time, I thought: I'm really going to miss that because it took a long time for that to be the case. What I did not consider is that in my new job I interact with dozens of students on a daily basis, and that I would start seeing those students around town. I ran into one at the grocery store recently, I ducked from another because I couldn't remember his name or whether he was a copy editor or reporter, and then had one student yell to me from several yards away. So, I guess that part happened quicker than expected.

1 comment:

  1. I think it makes a new town feel so much homier when you start running into people you know (or at least faces you recognize). So glad you're starting to have that already! :)