I think looking for a church is probably the most stressful and hard thing we deal with each time we move.
The move to Texas I actually drug my feet for a whole year before finding a church home. It was awful.
There is a history here that I won't really go into...but lets just say that we looked over and over for a year before we left Nebraska. We had given up. Prior to that we stayed in a church we didn't really belong in for 5 years because we hate looking. Also because we sat under a whole lot of preaching on not quitting. We didn't want to be quitters.
So here we are again looking for a church home. At least this time it only took 3 months to get busy. I must admit that is because our girls hound us over it weekly. I just have the hardest time forcing myself to go through this.
And we have looked around the area for certain things and were having no luck. We had one prospect but neither of us were thrilled about it.
So last week I was throwing dinner into the crockpot and thinking we had better go to church this coming Sunday. Songbird had asked about it - both me and dad at different times. She said she really needed to connect with some Christian teens. She needs the support and the accountability.
So I'm at the sink and I switch on the radio. And not 10 minutes later there is an interview with a youth pastor and his assistant pastor from a local church. They were interviewed about their youth program.
Exactly what we are looking for. Sounding very much like the church we left in Texas. Big on training up their youth to serve and be involved. A passion for reaching the kids in their community and throwing out the pre-conceived notions on what a church kid is supposed to look and act like. Big on meeting the youth of the city where they are at and serving them. Notice the theme? SERVE.
So the girls and I checked out Sunday morning. The teens don't have services on Sunday mornings...they serve in the church instead. Then they take over the whole church on Sunday nights for their things.
I normally keep the girls with me the first couple of visits to make sure the preaching lines up with what we believe. We've visited churches that were so NOT in line that I felt sick to my stomach for not knowing what my kids were being exposed to...so we don't do that if we can help it.
Unfortunately the worship was too loud for Mighty Mouse. I had to take her out. So I took her to kids church. Very nice set up...and huge. I did have to stop them placing her in the first group they picked as it was all white. I pointed to the group with another Asian, Blacks, Middle Eastern and Hispanic children. I apologized for picking the largest group but it was best from my daughter so they complied. They were in a large group at first...which was too noisy so MM wouldn't let me leave her until they broke down into small groups in smaller rooms.
After services Songbird said she liked it enough to try out youth that night. No problem. I left MM home with dad and took her back out. It is not close to our house so I packed up a book and computer and figured I'd hang out until she was done. This also gave me the opportunity to slip in and listen to the preaching. I had to be all stealthy because you know I'm not allowed to sit with Songbird.
I met the pastors and talked a minute. They asked me to stick around after the service to take a tour of the new building -- a building that is for the youth. It was amazing...and they hope to do a groundbreaking with a Toby Mac concert.
And as we were leaving we had people come up and introduce themselves in the parking lot even.
Checking out my little girl people.
That's a new one.
That I'm not ready for.
Because I hate being the parent that doesn't allow their kid to date at 14....when all the other church kids are doing it.
And you know, the Christian parents that allow their kids to date are much nastier than non-Christian parents when they find out you don't let your kid date.
Why is that?
1 in 4 girls is sexually molested by the time they are 18.
1 in 4.
Why would I put my daughter in situations where that is easily accomplished at 14?
I'm not sure I'll even do it at 16.
And we've had this discussion. We've discussed the heart scars left by broken relationships. We discussed the purpose of dating in the first place. We've discussed how easy it is to get carried away. Think you are going to control a situation with raging hormones is crazy. Just ask all those girls that ended up pregnant...when they did INTEND to have sex even.
Currently she tells me she plans to wait until college to actually date.
I hope that remains true. She will have to be very very strong to actually pull it off when all the other teens are dating.
I don't think we got it right with our first kid, so I'm hoping it goes a little better with this one.
Like it isn't hard enough to visit churches without this issue!
Little girls should not be allowed to grow up.
Especially not in the middle of looking for a church.