A couple months ago I randomly showed up to an expo with various businesses. I stumbled upon a church’s booth, a denomination that I associated with in high school and college (I currently attended and consider myself “non-denom”). They were giving away free coffee mugs and cookies, so I grabbed one. I also saw they had a newsletter so I picked that up too. I was just curious. This denomination has a tendency to be….weird. I wondered what they were about.
As I read through the newsletter, it was full of stuff going on at the church. They have several very active ministries in the community and there was constantly activity with a vibrant fellowship (I saw that at the booth). I read the Pastor’s letter and I was drawn in: in a few weeks they were going to have several services dedicated to sanctifying the church, to grow stronger in the Lord and thus be a shining beacon to the surrounding community. Rock on, I thought.
Through my quiet time, I felt a pull from the Lord to go to these services. It was pretty strong. I kept checking their website, trying to see when the services were listed – mainly for the time – and it never was. I had every intention of calling the church office, but I ended up dreaming it instead. I dreamt I went to this church and it was really odd, the pastor in my dream was very elusive and strange and I asked him point blank what time the services started and he said 7pm. It wasn’t that much of a stretch — most evening church services start at 7pm. I never did call the office. I was just going to show up at 7pm. And that was that.
I explained to The General the best I could on why I wanted to attend these 3 nights at a random church where I knew no one and wasn’t sure what their worship style was. I went alone, as The General is much more sensitive to religious experiences — he grew up Catholic like me — and I wanted to scope it out before I brought him into the fold. He doesn’t mesh well with church services out of his comfort zone.
I arrived and sat towards the back. I was greeted by several people and the pastor came up and introduced himself to me. I miss that. I go to a rather large church here and one-on-one time with the pastor is nearly impossible. The church was a carbon copy physically of the church I attended in college as well as high school, down to the color of the pews. It was comforting. As the service started, it was pretty much what I expected it to be. There was a lot of hand raising and expressive worship — and everyone hugs each other. I’m a midwesterner at heart with my personal bubble, so this was a bit awkward for me. The sermon was a guest speaker, so I didn’t hear the pastor speak, but he closed the services in prayer and his prayers were so elegant, deep, and powerful; truly a man of God. I could feel the Holy Spirit in that church — it was really a strong presence.
After the last service, the Pastor asked me my name and my family status. I told him I would be back. I got home that night and The General and I talked about it. I wanted to go the following Sunday to the morning service and think about joining this church. I again was going to go alone, because The General had to work Sunday morning. After talking to him about it, I decided not to. Despite my being drawn to this church, I cannot go and make decisions like this without him present. While this church may be perfect for me, I am not in this alone, I have The General to consider. He did agree to attend with me one Sunday after a bit of coaxing. Sometimes my independent streak gets the best of me. That’s one thing I love about our marriage: I can still maintain my independence. But on other hand, as we discussed, I can’t let my independence trump what is best for us.
So I’m not sure where this journey is headed, or what’s next, but I’m really excited on what the Lord is going to do.