Before I moved to Florida, a couple from my church in Chicagoland emailed me. They’d retired to Florida and they wrote to invite me to check out their church down here. The first Sunday we were here, we were still buried knee-deep in boxes and my friend Eric was here, helping us move and fixing some things around the house so we stayed home and worked. But yesterday, I decided that we needed to go to church. It’s important to me to find a church home.
I’ve known people who’ve searched for a church they like and meets their needs. I’ve never had that experience because I’ve attended the same church for almost 40 years. I was comfortable there. I knew people there. Over the years, I had taught Sunday school, taken bible study classes, and participated in the drama group. I called fellow members Mr. So&So and Mrs. So&So instead of by their first names because once upon a time, I was in their Sunday school classes and it just seemed strange to call someone who used to teach you bible verses, by their first names. My parents attend the same church. It was home.
And now I have to begin the process of searching for a new church.
So, we checked out the church my friends recommended. It was big. Huge. Much bigger than my church back in Chicagoland. They actually handed out a map along with a welcome packet, no joke. The kids and I parked and walked around what could only be described as a campus while searching for the sanctuary. I felt lost and insignificant there. I longed for the familiarity and small, homey, friendliness of my old church. I felt tears spring to my eyes as we wandered around, trying to find where on earth they held worship services in this place. I was frustrated and hot. Sweat was literally dripping down my face as I dragged the kids from building to building outside in the heat, hoping to find the sanctuary before the service began.
We finally found the building and I inquired as to where Sunday school was held for the kids. After much deliberation and consultation with a few different members, it was determined that we’d chosen the one service out of their four dozen weekly services that didn’t have Sunday school at the same time. I felt defeated and almost turned around and just headed back home. But the senior pastor of the church came up and warmly welcomed us. Another woman from the women’s group showed us around a bit. The woman who was preaching that particular Sunday welcomed us and shook all the kids’ hands.
My nerves eased, the kids and I walked into the sanctuary just as the service started. Excellent. Way to make an entrance and make sure everyone notices the crazy lady with the six kids. We made our way to the front of the church where there were open seats. The front of the church is the absolute best place to sit if you want to be sure everyone in the congregation will see your kids act up and embarrass you, so naturally, I was delighted with our seats.
Honestly, other than one monstrous burp from Clay, the kids were awesome throughout the entire service. A woman seated behind us even complimented them, “What delightful children!” she exuded in that way that only southern people can.
The sermon was great and I ended up really enjoying the service. My kids, however, were less-than-thrilled. That is, until we were told about the doughnuts. Apparently they serve coffee, juice and (hallelujah) doughnuts every week. Now my kids are asking, “Is it Sunday yet? How many more days until we can get more doughnuts?” It’s good to know they’ve gotten the most important message out of church, church=doughnuts.