There is an huge aspect of my life that I haven’t blogged about for quite some time. It is, after all, a significant part of my life. I find myself struggling through this aspect more then any other aspect in my life.

I’m speaking about church. I do mean both the people and the building.

Since Lauren and I moved up to Fort Collins last month many good intentioned people have asked me if we have found a church to go to. My quick, polite answer usually goes something like, “well, we haven’t had a whole lot of time since moving in. We’ll get around to look here pretty soon.” What I really want to say goes something like, “I hate church shopping. You get four chances a month to see if a church is the right fit for you and there is no way I can feel certain about one church in one visit. I understand that you are referring to a building when you ask me if we have found a church to go to and I understand that you are well intentioned, but I’m not looking for a building to do time in once a week. I want to be involved in a group of people who struggle their way through living out what Jesus taught. I want to be steeped in “deep church” that sinks into the core of my being. If I have to go to one more consumer-driven, pop-psychology, Jesus wants you to be rich by giving us money, look at how great our light show is, our worship team can kick your worship teams ass, our youth ministry is so relevant, you better get out there and save some souls kind of church I think I might puke.”

I usually stick to the more polite reply.

Anyways, I was thinking about the process of finding a church to attend/belong to/join/be a part of (you pick the phrase) and I realized that this will be a new process for me for two main reasons.

1. This will be the first time that I am not looking for a church for me alone. Lauren and I will need to come to an agreement about a church. This will be a different experience for us. When we met I was working for a church and she was checking it out. It made sense that we went to that church while I was working there, even though we struggled through a lot of what was going on there. When we made the transition into the house church we met at our house. This had its ups and downs, but this is neither the time or the place to go into all of that.

We both have come from different church backgrounds and have walked different spiritual paths. I think that we are looking for similar core elements of a church (mainly the people), but we might struggle to find a church that lives that out the same way. Also, we are both still in different phases of being very critical of “church” and I think that regardless of where we visit we will find things that we don’t like. My prayer has been that God will help us look past insignificant criticisms and find a group of people who are seeking after God in an honest way.

2. I am going to try to view our church visits not as opportunities for me to jump back into ministry, but as a chance for me to join in with what is already going on. I don’t want to find my own way back into ministry. I want to be patient to see if God brings me back to that place. This might be a more difficult thing than find a church that both Lauren and I want to be a part of. I am certain that I am in a period of waiting for God to direct me. I don’t want to jump the gun and just be looking for a church that “needs my help.” I believe that this time away from ministry is the healthiest thing for me right now, and I need to use the time well. When/if God draws me back into ministry I would like to have a fresh perspective about it, and not try to recycle past convictions.

Today Lauren and I will be going to The Revolution. I’ll try to pen some thought about it later in the week.

There you go. Two challenges for church shopping. Thoughts? Concerns?