Well, I’ve reached the point where I really want to be a PART of a church again. Not just to attend, but to be actively involved. I’m not sure what I’d like to do or how I’d like to be involved yet. I don’t really want to teach a class or be involved with the young people right now–I don’t want to face down someone with ideas I disagree with, and I know I have some beliefs that are completely at odds with most of the sorts of churches I’ve attended so far. (There are other churches that might be more in agreement with those beliefs, but I disagree with them on other fundamental issues.)

I’ve enjoyed going to Bible study at one church and services at another. I’d be tempted to go to Sunday School at one and church at another if I could find two whose service times matched enough that I could. Still, it would be so nice to feel needed at a church, an active part of the group, doing something with them to make a difference. I guess it’s really been years since I really felt that connection. And it’s been a couple since I wanted it.

church-peopleSo… I want to be part of a church that’s also involved in the community. Just cleaning the church because “God gave us this building” or whatever isn’t going to be enough for me. I want to do something that will benefit others in some way. There are churches in this area that are very involved in the community, almost to the exclusion of Jesus. There are others that treat every involvement as an evangelistic opportunity (to preach at them). I don’t agree with either of these thought processes. There are also many that don’t get involved in anything outside their walls. I think that’s very sad. Many are desperate for workers and dump more and more on anyone willing to help. That’s also sad.

I wonder how long I will be at a church, or whether or not I’ll feel comfortable enough to join. There are things I disagree with, like tithing, that have left several people scratching their heads. There are rumors my former church took everyone’s paychecks and gave them some money back to pay bills–so they shouldn’t be that surprised, I’m thinking. Still, if I wind up in a church that expects those types of commitments, there will be problems. On the other hand, the pastor of the church I’m attending would probably be very understanding and accepting of my disagreements and various odd beliefs as long as I didn’t promote them in his church. For now, I know we disagree on many things from Trinity to the age of the earth, but he doesn’t realize it. But I also know his wife may disagree on some of those points or at least on his way of presenting them. Obviously their disagreements haven’t been a salvational thing or a test of fellowship between them.

So I don’t know. I can go, I can help while I’m there, and then eventually I can leave. Or I can put down a few tentative roots and see how things go. The things I like about the church aren’t even really doctrinal. I like the stability–they agree on a few fundamentals and I share those beliefs. I like the friendliness, the proximity to my home, the fact that I’m accepted even if I haven’t joined and even when I blow their minds with some off-the-wall statement, the fact that I already know quite a few people from my previous job… (which is humorous. Apparently for all the rumors that I only hired people from FT, I actually hired more from this church, and had many MANY fewer problems from them!) I really like the fact that people say “thank you”, don’t push (physically or for me to do anything), and have some shared interests with me. I really REALLY like the fact that the pastor doesn’t think of himself above anyone else. No reserved parking place, even!!!

But are those reasons to join a church? How long would I stay, especially knowing that I disagree on some other things, or that I dislike a few things (the way they do studies based on people’s books, their focus on ‘witnessing’)? Should I trust them, even if so far I don’t see any really unhealthy signs? Am I just latching onto anyone right now, or falling into the same old trap of love bombing?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. A few I think I may know, but I’m still cautious.

Just thinking out loud.