First of all, thanks to Aunt Lynda for suggesting that we check out this Sunday's church. Thanks, Lynda!
We were 15 minutes late leaving for church this morning. We had wanted to be 15 minutes early. Oh well, the french toast with butter, powdered sugar, AND syrup was definitely worth it. Yum! I put on my berry colored lip gloss and wondered, "Does this lipgloss say 'welcome me, be my friend!'" Chris noticed that my lips were especially shiny and sticky looking, so I figured that was good and went with it. ;)
We hit the road and after going up and down hills, driving by a place to ride horses (looked like a dog park for horses) and running into construction more than once, we made it. The plan was, if people were still going in, we would, too. If it looked like everyone was already in, we'd go out for lunch. We didn't want to walk in late with 2 kids. I know it would have been ok, but we just weren't up for it. The church was absolutely beautiful on the inside and out and people were still going in. Yes! An un-wasted Sunday!!
As we walked up to the church, David said, "Mommy, is this our new church?" I replied, "I don't know, David, we'll go for a visit and see if we like it." The nice lady with the little boy walking near us heard us and immediately came over to us to meet us and tell us about the opportunities for children during worship. What a relief!! As we walked in the doors, more people came to greet us!!! (Was it the lipgloss???) One nice man said that he'd be happy to introduce us to other families after church. That's so sweet!! The nice lady and her son showed us to the pre-school room and David and Lilly and the nice little boy all happily went in to play with the other kids. We did have to sign them in (thumbs up for security). As we left the room, I saw on a bulletin board in the hall a familiar face!! A former chapel staffer from ONU is going to be the new assoc. pastor!! I said "Chris, I know him!!" Chris said I was talking too loud. Maybe I was. Anyways, what a small world!! Of course, he starts July 1, so he wasn't there, but if we return for another visit, it will be nice to catch up with him and his wife. (She was also a chapel staffer)
Chris and I headed to worship. It had sort of started, but that was ok, because we found a spot about 2/3 of the way back. The nice lady and the man with her sat right behind us. I thought that was really nice. They filled us in on the attendance pad and we chatted briefly during the offering. There was no meet and greet time during the service (Thank You!!!!!). [Please note, pastors/church staff, meet and greet can be terrible for visitors because usually you get 2 handshakes and then you just stand there like an idiot. People don't introduce themselves. They shake and turn away before you can say "Hi! This is our first time here!"] Heck, I don't like meet and greet even when I know everyone in the sanctuary, it's just weird and awkward.
The service was traditional and fairly lively. The sermon was really good! They recognized Disciple V graduates and a group of new Stephen Ministers and leaders. I appreciate both of those ministries, so I was happy to see that they are involved in them. They will have Disciple 1 starting in the Fall. I just finished Disciple 1, so that was a bummer to me, but if we decide to go there, then maybe Chris can take it and catch up with me. :)
After worship, we were greeted by an older man named Robby. The nice lady told me that Robby is the resident hugger. He had on a button that said "Free Hugs." He reached out for me, so I hugged him and he said "I'm so glad that you're here. Have a GREAT week." He was so sweet and I thought that it would be nice to have a hug like that every week. Yeah, this could be a really great week.
We picked up the kids and they had had a good time playing with the other children. On the way out of the church I noticed a "Nothing but Nets" display as well as a table with fair trade coffee and tea for sale. Two thumbs up. As we were loading up in the van, I saw the man who was with the nice lady walking out of the church carrying a guitar. Excellent.
FYI, the church does have a contemporary service on most Sundays. It is mostly attended by youth with adult helpers. That could be good. We want to check it out.
Chris and I decided to rate our experience. With 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, we both gave it a 7-8.
Here are some stats:
Congregation and church size was similar to Lima Trinity (approx 300/Sunday, right Dad?)
There are 3 services on most Sundays in the summer. 2 traditional, 1 contemporary.
Sunday School is for all ages (babies-adult) and it is not during worship.
During worship, there is childcare for babies-pre-school and Children's Worship for Kindergarten and up. (Children's Worship starts after the offering, so that the kids are in part of the regular service. Thumbs up)
One more thing!! An important lesson!! On the way out of the sanctuary, the nice lady said that she was recently out of town and went to church. She said that a woman there found out she was a visitor and took her under her wing. The nice lady really appreciated it and decided that that was something that she should do for people at her church. I guess that sometimes when you've been at church for awhile, you just don't think about greeting new people, or maybe you just don't know how until someone shows you. I am thankful for the woman and the nice lady who are welcoming visitors to their church families. It made all the difference.
Could this be home?
For the church name and/or website, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org