Twenty-five years is a long time to be in one place. For the most part I lived in the same city for almost 30 years while attending the same church for 25 years.
If I had been married, I would’ve expected floral arrangements of irises and gifts of silver gravy boats or picture frames.
Like a married couple, I looked back at my long relationship with what people from a rural (or country background) refer to as their “home church”. It’s the church where you grew up, the place where no matter how far away you move if you’re back in your hometown you stop by to say hello to people who have known you since you were “knee high to a grasshopper” (really young). I had a lot to think about, more that I’ll share in later posts.
I thought about how I had personal history in almost every nook and corner of the building. Memories of children’s programs, moments of teen angst, visits from famous speakers and singers, heartfelt messages, memorable occasions — so much came flooding to my mind as I stood in the sanctuary thinking about the big move ahead for me.
It was time…..to move.
Moving meant making new friends, learning a new city, trying new things – a major shift out of the comfort zone of this introverted kid who used to sit in the back of the sanctuary journaling during church services.
This move was big for me.
Away from the familiarity and predictability of music styles, personalities, church events and the whole gamut of things that come along with being rooted in the same place for so long.
Towards unpredictability of music styles, sermon lengths, church events, orders of service and the whole gamut of things that come along with looking for a new church.
I knew about or had visited a number of churches within my city over the years so I knew people within almost every congregation I visited. For a metropolitan area of over 1,000,000 people it was pretty easy to know people running in similar circles. It was easy walking into a church where you weren’t a “member” but being greeted by a few folks you knew and feeling like you were right at “home”. That feeling would be hours away from me.
Although tempting to stay I was feeling a bit like Abraham (just without all the money and livestock). It was time to strike out to a new place. This new place happened to be a new city at a new educational institution in a new degree program.
That’s a lot of new.
But it was time….to move forward.