(1) Thing That Set #7 Apart »
As soon as my eyes began to adjust after coming into the dark worship center, I recognized a woman in the row in front of me. We'd served together at another church.
I looked around. Another familiar face appeared in the distance. Dan and the kids had gone on a mission trip with that guy. I'd heard that he and his family had been looking for another church with an awesome student program.
People like me often come in late looking for seats, so I scooted to the middle and pulled Dan with me.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, a woman sat down in one of the edge seats that we'd moved from.
After the service, she surprised us with an excited hello. We hadn't recognized her, but she was a friend of ours—the sister of one of our best friends.
She told us that the main reason she attended was that her teens were happy and the student leaders were great.
After catching up, we wanted to check out the rest of the facility, so we wandered, and as we did, we ran into five other people we'd known from other churches. It was great to see them all.
(Thanks Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for keeping us connected with these people through the years.)
It's Not All About the Kids
Not true. It's about the kids. Studies prove that. Even in my situtation, my parents stayed at the church where I was a youth until I went to college. Then, they left.
The couple I'd seen on the far side of the worship center confirmed that they were there because of student discipleship, worship, activities. Their kids were connect, learning, and having fun.
I'm guessing it's not a coincidence that the other three friends we talked with also have teens.
But Here's the #1 Thing About #7
Every church we've been to has been excellent. This experience was different though.
You know how knowing just one person in a new situation makes all the difference? It did for us. We experienced immediate community and the promise of more community.
If we came back next week, I know we'd immediately have connections for our teen. We'd be invited to small groups. We'd be invited to serve with fun people who love Jesus. It would be an easy, natural fit.
That kind of Christian community isn't a nice side benefit of church, it's a main benefit.
They Grow on You (Some Faster Than Others)
Visiting a church for the first time when you don't recognize a single face can be lonely—but it can still be a great experience, especially if you're greeted by some genuinely friendly faces who are legit glad you're there.
And if you really need a familiar face, you can always bring one with you.
Either way, when you find a great community you want to be part of (and what we're finding is that there are many), those unfamiliar faces will hopefully become faces you want to see over and over again.
Liz B. Baker
Monday, August 29, 2022