We left our church of eight years. I didn’t want to. It is a wonderful Bible teaching church with excellent preaching and worship. Yes, there were a couple of things we disagreed with doctrinally, but we knew the issues when we got there and didn’t see them as dividing issues. We still don’t.
My husband had, through listening to online and radio messages, heard of a family integrated church and was very interested to learn more. Me? I thought it sounded very strange and was not interested in the idea at all! I loved my children attending Sunday School and other children’s classes and wasn’t interested in giving that up.
Jason bought DVDs about the family integrated church movement and we watched them together and frankly they confirmed what I already believed. I did not agree that family integrated is the only biblical way to organize a church, though I didn’t see anything wrong with a church choosing to worship entirely as a family either. My husband and I debated the issues nightly.
Jason decided that he’d like to visit a family integrated church just to see what it was like. One night he looked online and got so excited he could hardly stand it. He found a church that not only was it family integrated, but also sounded like they believed like we do on those issues in which we disagreed with the church we went to. “You’ve got to check out this website!” my husband urged. I opened the site ready to tell my husband everything I didn’t like about it. Great attitude I know! But as I read all about the church, I had to admit I liked what I learned. Since moving to the big city, I have always missed the close fellowship of a small church family. From the website we learned that they had a fellowship meal every Sunday. I was still not convinced that I would like giving up the children’s classes, but my husband was so excited we visited the church that Sunday.
We loved the small fellowship of believers right away, but what surprised me the most was that my children loved it. Having them all sit still for the service was a challenge, but afterward they could sit with other kids to eat lunch. They even played games! It was actually much more fellowship than they received in the very organized kid’s programs. For one reason or another they all told us they didn’t really like their classes at church and could we please go back to “our new church.” I was shocked!
We thought and prayed about our decision for months as we completed our responsibilities and fulfilled our commitments. And then at the end of that time we joined this small group of believers. I would still say that I’m not on board with the family integrated movement as the only biblical way to organize a church, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with Sunday School in and of itself. But we are enjoying worshiping as a family and the fellowship of our new little church.
On a funny note, one day I sent my daughter out to get the mail. She came in with a lone envelope. “I think this is from our old church,” she said, “It says, ‘A new offer for an old friend. We want you back.'” It was in fact from Discover card!
We will continue to miss all of the people from the church we left, but we believe that we are where God wants us right now and that is what is most important.