Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Transparent Tuesday

Wow, where to begin...

For a couple of weeks now God has really laid it upon my heart to strip off what is hindering and run the race that HE has before me. And, I feel like I have, but there is ONE thing that He keeps asking me to do and I have battled my own flesh to do it.

I finally realized that my disobedience was hindering me from the blessing, and well...here we go, the birth of a series of topics/thoughts/ideas that are coming straight from my heart.

I don't know if they will always be on Tuesday's, I don't know if it will be a weekly thing or a random thing, but I do know that I can no longer put off what God has laid on my heart.

I hope that through some deep, honest, and REAL conversations that we can all grow and be blessed. Be gentle...part of the Transparency is for me to lay it out there, and to be quite honest, that's just SCARY! (No, really, it is...) But I truly believe for us to grow into the person that God has created us to be that we will have to endure some times of "stretching", and well...here's one of mine.
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Transparent Tuesday - Looking for a New Home Church

This past weekend our family went to a great church here in the Ft. Lauderdale area. They are a mega church and have many campuses around our neck of the woods. We were sort of excited because this church has an outstanding reputation in the community and in the church world. We were also excited because a few of our really great friends are also going to that church, so we knew that we would be walking into 1) a new church, but also 2) that we would at least know a few people there.

Going to a new church is not a new thing for people...as a matter of fact, people do it all the time. The hard part about this "searching for a new church home" is that my husband & I were both pastors on staff (full time) at a large mega-church right outside our neighborhood. We had been at this church for over 10 years, I came to Christ at this church, developed a passion for serving and ministry at this church, we both gave our life and work to the Lord there, and my kids grew up in this church. My in laws were a big part of the development of that church as well and served there for 19 years...so, needless to say, when we felt God leading us out of ministry there it was a devastating blow to our family. But...we knew, in our heart of hearts, that it was time for us to move on.

So now, here we are, the average American family on the search for a new church family. It has not been an easy journey for us. We've been backstage and know all the bells and whistles, so it can be hard to "turn that part off" in our minds...but we know that God is faithful and our journey is getting close to an end. I truly believe that there is NO PERFECT church...so I go into the seach just seeking confirmation that we are finally "HOME".

If you are seeking and searching a new church home, you are not alone. But I can tell you this...God wants us in fellowship and community. He wants us to be a part of the Body of Believers. He wants us to give, to serve, to grow. It's not easy walking into a new church, but like Bill Hybels says, "The local church is the HOPE of the World".

What do you think...

Why do you think it is so hard for people to find a church home?

What is it about your church that makes you feel at home?

If you have not found a church home, then what are you looking for?
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Thanks for allowing me to share a peek inside of me. I have so many things I would LOVE to talk about with you all through these Transparent posts. If you have something that you would like to see brought up shoot me an email here -----> Melissa Mashburn.

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Also, I wanted to take a minute to remind you that we are starting a new BOOK group online tomorrow (Wednesday, April 23rd). Come back by tomorrow to find out more about it...


Sharing from the Heart,

20 Mel's World Friends Comments:

Mari 5:19 PM  

Hi Mel - it's so hard to find a new church. I think it's hard to leave what is comfortable for us. I want a church that holds to Biblical standards and prays for guidance for decisions. It's important that the people aren't "cliquey" and welcome others. I think my church is like this, but we went through a hard time of pain and pruning to change us! I wish you well in your search.

annie 5:45 PM  

We recently found a new church home. It was one of the hardest things we have ever done. I had been at our old church since I was nine years old! We tried several and they just didn't fit... but we pretty much knew the first time we went to this church that we had found a new church home. It's been fun to get involved in new ways and with people who haven't known me my whole life.

Cheri 6:11 PM  

I agree that it's hard to leave somewhere you've been so long and are comfortable at. Especially if you have family still there.
I look for a church that is friendly and it has to be Bible based.

Denise 6:28 PM  

Bless you for doing this my friend. We need to find a new church. I think what we look for is a church that is real, and filled with the love of God. Where God comes first, not money, or activities.

Mel's World 6:31 PM  

Mari,
It's so funny that you talk about "pruning" because that is exactly what it feels like.

Annie,
I totally agree...I think you can just "feel it" when you are home.

Cheri,
Nope, the in laws moved about 2 years ago, but they had already left before they even moved.

Becoming Me 7:21 PM  

Thank you for being transparent. I believe God calls us to be. Leaving a church home can be very difficult but if God is leading the move it can only be a good thing.

Praise and Coffee 9:20 PM  

Leaving a church that we loved was one of the hardest things I've ever been through. It truly changed me...for the better. I grew so much while seeking the Lord for comfort through it all.
Pruning is painful at times, but I wouldn't change a thing now looking back.

A good church is made up of people that genuinely care about one another and want to see the Word of God spread throughout our homes, community, city and nation.
A good church thinks outward not just inward.

I hope you guys have found a home!

We planted a church then after 6 years of pastoring handed it over to the leadership for a new pastor. It was a huge change for us, but a good one. We still consider it our home church even though we are traveling so much and attend church on the road.

Hugs,
Sue

SharonB 9:50 PM  

Sweet Melissa, thank you for your transparency. It is difficult, it is something God laid on my heart awhile ago, and it's still not always easy. Sometimes I find myself just taking a deep breath and doing it! :-)

God will lead you to a new church. He had to find a new one over 6 years ago and I remember walking in and it just felt like home. The people weren't overly friendly but the Pastor was real, he spoke the truth of the Word. That would always be my reason to choose a church. I'd choose a church based on what's coming from leadership, before it's friendliness anyday.

Monkey Giggles 10:15 PM  

Hey Mel, I have walked in a similar valley. It is a feeling of isolation. In a way we felt homeless. We thought what we were looking for would be easy to find. A bible believing, preaching, living church. However, we were homeless for almost a year. The Lord taught us many things during that year. Patience being #1. To be still...to listen to HIm. We have finally found a home and are loving serving and worshiping the Lord. Will be praying for you.

Rhonda 10:18 PM  

Mel - I love transparency. My husband & I have been at our church for going on 12 years. Recommitted our lives there. Developed deep closer-than-family relationships. Ministered together. My husband is on staff. Uprooting would be a challenge. I can understand your feelings.

I hope that you find a wonderful fit for you & your family.

Hugs!
Rhonda

Mary 10:36 PM  

We went through that 5 years ago. Very involved - heavily involved - in a church and when we felt God wanted us to move so we could grow to another level, the church there didn't take it well. It was horrible and took me a coule of years to work through - christians being that ugly.

But God was faithful and sent us to a great church where we've been, again, heavily involved - until about 6 months ago. We thought He was getting us ready to move again . He kept saying, "Change is coming" to us. So we naturally assumed it was us moving.

But our pastor just announced he's leaving. So instead of us finding a new church home, we begin the transition of a new pastor and new ways and new thoughts.

Thanks for being so transparent. If more people would do that all of us would be at a much different place in our walk with God.

justabeachkat 12:13 AM  

I think we've all gone through this at one point or the other. Since we moved often due to my husband's job, we also had to find a new church "home". In some cities, it was fairly easy. But in other cities, not so much. I pray you and your family find the perfect one.

Hugs!
Kat

A Stone Gatherer 6:40 AM  

I think it's hard for people to find a church because as soon as they see the warts (and every church has them) they get upset and leave! You are right there is not perfect church, but God clearly gives the church a job to do in scripture! I am reading in Ephesians now and up to and through chapter 4 there is so much about the church. It is important that the truth of the Bible is preached. I love expository preaching! Also the church needs to be about training the individuals to read the word themselves, not rely totally on the pastors. Our church does preach the Word, and desires to be used of God! So many that have come say they can feel the Spirit moving! Are we perfect, ah NO! But we desire to be used of God! God will show you where you will be planted! You are faithful disciples who desire to do his will, He knows where that will happen!

Heather Orr 8:00 AM  

I think it is harder to find a new church when your heart has been broken by previous church experience, or when you were so in love with a church and were forced to leave due to a move or other uncontrollable circumstances. None of us like change, especially when it isn't our choice! It's also hard to walk in to a new church without any expectations and just allow the Spirit to guide you instead of analyzing and evaluating it from every angle.

Our new church (Southside) felt like home the very first moment we walked in - and we weren't even looking for a church - we were just here visiting, not knowing that we would be moving here someday! Even though we love the church and the teaching and the style and everything else, the thing that has really made it feel like home has been our small group. We joined a group after living here for 6 days and it has made all of the difference!!

Praying for your search!!

Tasha 11:41 AM  

We moved here almost two years ago (May will be 2 years) went to a few churches and then stopped looking for a while. We recently started looking again. It took my husband and I having a heart to heart. You see he is a police officer and we live in a small town. With his job, he sees things and knows of things that I never really thought would go on in a community this small. Every church we visted at first had someone he had to deal with in a negative way. Some were leaders in the church. After we would visit, he would say no because this person or that person. He didn't give me names, but occasionally he would say that a member there did this or that. These weren't little things either. I think some of this was he was he just graduated from the academy and started working. Anyway, I finally told him that God is telling me to find a church. It had been pulling at my heart for a long time. He agreed and even said we could go back to one of the first churches we visited. We are now talking about becoming members at this church.

Mel's World 5:26 PM  

Oh my goodness...I am overwhelmed and in awe at how God can use all of our stories, our lives, and our every day stuff to bless others.

You all have blessed me with your openness and I can't wait to see what else we can come up with in our Transparent series...I have SO much more I want to talk about WITH you!!!

Much Love and Respect,
Melissa

AlaneM 5:38 PM  

Thank you so much for this! I am all about being transparent so this is right up my alley. Plus I am going through a season of 'leaving & cleaving' when it comes to church. We have been in our current church for about 6 months but I'm not feeling connected yet & it's hard. It's a very good church & it fits but it's just not home yet. The reason is that when we moved to this town we left a real family of believers in our old church home. That church still seems like home to me. I recently visited my parents & to get there I have to drive right past our old town. Going there was ok but coming back through...I cried! it's just so hard for me to drive right past. We went through a lot of stuff while we were there & our church was such an anchor for us. I found a group of women that were friends to me like I've never had before. I could be completley transparent with them & show them all my ugliness but they loved me anyway & faithfully lifted me up time after time. But as I was driving away from my 'home' I was listening to Christian radio & the pastor was preaching on...leave & cleave. Ouch!! God impressed upon me that I need to do just that with my new church. I have not gotten involved in anything there & I think that's going to be the key for me. I have stepped forward to be the librarian & hopefully soon I'll have a book/prayer group going as well.

Anyway, sorry for the book but you just got me thinking!!
Blessings to you.

Just Juliana 6:04 PM  

I know what you mean. You know, we are gong throught the same thing...After 10 years here we are lookng for that new home. No matter what... you have an amazing relationship with God and have an incredible ministry. Love you, Jules

Knit-Wit 2:14 AM  

We just recently went through the work of finding a new church when we moved to MT. After trying out about 4 or 5 churches we finally settled on one that we feel comfortable with. It is a small church with a similar worship style to our past church.

One of our criteria in finding a church was asking God where He needed us to be. The churches with solid programs in place and a full worship team really didn't need the gifts that God has given us.

CrownLaidDown 4:26 PM  

I'll tell you why it's so hard...because you are looking for a family to belong with and grow with in Christ and YET, it feels like shopping.

We have been there. When we moved to the Colorado Springs area, we looked and looked and found ourselves comparing and then feeling guilty that we were comparing. Aye. It was hard for about 3 months. Then God did what He always does, He led us and made His way plain. I'm so glad. We love our church family and their heart for loving people without condemnation. It has been a wonderful blessing ever since.

Praying for you!
holly

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Great Books!

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