Last weekend, my wife and I started looking for a new church after attending North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia for 6 years. We went to Cross Point, which is where Pete Wilson preaches and we loved it.
During the service, we found ourselves comparing notes between the two, trying to feel out this new place that over a period of years, if not decades, will play an important role in our lives. And I realized 5 things about finding a new church:
1. You will notice silly things.
At one point, my wife looked around and said, “I really like pews.” Not we’d never disliked the seats at our Atlanta church but there was something holy about sitting in a pew last Sunday. There, I said it, pews are holier than chairs. Don’t argue, that’s in the Old Testament somewhere. Probably.
2. You’ve got to be flexible.
Around 25,000 – 30,000 people attend North Point Community Church. (And yes, we knew all of them by name and we were all doing life together when we lived there. Quit hating on megachurches.) Can you imagine if that was one of the mandatory qualifications we used to find a new church? Churches that size don’t exist in Nashville, we’d have to commute back to Atlanta. When looking for a new church you’ve got to flex on some of the things that you think matter sometimes.
3. Your kids will chime in.
When we were walking back to the car, my four year old McRae, yelled out, “I’m starving, we didn’t get a snack at Sunday School!” Then my 6 year old jumped in and proclaimed the same thing. Now the truth is, my kids only have two speeds, normal and dire. They either don’t have to go to the bathroom or “Get out of the way, I have to go! They are either not hungry or starving. But when looking for a church, expect your kids to chime in.
4. It’s hard to go to a satellite of your old church.
Some people love going to satellite churches or partner churches that were started by their home church. I know people who have found great joy in that. I’m not one of those people. If I went to a church that showed video sermons of our former minister, Andy Stanley, I would feel like I was hanging out with my ex-girlfriend. Sure, we didn’t break up, but there would be a part of me that wondered what everyone was doing that was hearing it live. Was someone sitting in my seat? What songs did they sing? Did they have a video skit before the sermon started? Memories. Boys II Men. Richard Marx. I asked my wife if that was ridiculous and she said, “I will sob if we go watch North Point videos at another church.”
5. You have to go at least twice.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if you visit a church only once, you have an 87% chance of going on the Sunday they let the weird lady who went on a mission trip play a rain stick version of “Blessed Be Your Name.” Or that will be the “give your money to the church” Sunday. Or someone will dance with a snake. Promise me you’ll go twice. One visit is no way to get an impression of a church.
We’re really looking forward to going to Cross Point as we explore and figure out Nashville and Franklin. I am a huge fan of Pete, his wife was incredibly kind to mine and we already feel home there. But if they don’t make with some goldfish soon, I’m pretty sure my four year old is going to become Nashville’s youngest agnostic.
Did you ever have anything funny happen when you tried finding a new church?