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Hi-Larry-ity #4: 5 Churches You Need To Avoid

June 21, 2013 7 comments

A couple of years ago we embarked on a church search.  We visited several churches during this time.  We saw some good churches and some that were not quite up to snuff.  We felt like we became experts on churches while we were searching.  Here are 5 churches that you need to avoid.

1.  Snake handling Churches.  Yes, I know this one is low hanging fruit.  There have always been plenty of jokes about snakes and churches.  We have more than our fair share here in East Tennessee.  So, yes, this one is easy.  The thing is, you still have to pick the low hanging fruit, though I’m not sure we should talk about snakes and fruit in the same blog post.  And yes, I will make a door on my way out if there isn’t one available.

2.  Kool-Aid Churches.  No, I’m not talking about the green Kool-Aid served VBS.  I’m talking about those that serve grape Kool-Aid during communion or the Lord’s Supper.  You have Kool-Aid for the Lord’s Supper?  Sorry, I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid.

3.  King James Churches.  No, I don’t mean KJV only churches.  I don’t really have any problem with them if that’s the direction they want to go.  No, I’m talking about a church that has a picture of Lebron hanging up as I walk in the door.  Yes, I know that is  a recycled joke from an earlier post, but this is the third one on the list and I’m needing something  funny.

4.  First Self-Righteous Churches.  These churches are known to have problems with bushy-tailed rodents that typically live in trees.  They tend to get loose and crawl up the britches legs of poor, unsuspecting parishioners.  This leads to unusual excitement within the church house leading to revivals where multiple deacons and even pastors are saved.

5.  Presbapticostalian Churches.  Don’t misunderstand me.  My church is a non-denominational church.  It’s made of up of former Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and others I’m sure.  But I’m not sure about a church where the pastor wears a collar, walks the pews, and considers quoting Latin and Greek as speaking in tongues.

There you have it, folks, the 5 churches you need to avoid.

What churches would you avoid if you were searching for a church?

Church Triage

Some of you might remember that my family and I searched for a new church at the end of last year.  Do you ever wonder how people like us make that decision?  We triaged churches until we found the one ended up choosing.  Here is how we did it.

First, we eliminated certain types of churches right off the bat.  These were churches that we could not agree with on essential matters such as the person of Christ and salvation.  We would not even be able to consider these type of churches Christian.  This is probably the easiest stage of the process.

Next, were churches that we simply disagree with on certain non-essential matters.  This could be something like infant baptism.  I can consider these people brothers and sisters.  I could join with them in something like an occasional community service, but I would not able to regularly attend or join their church.  I wish them well in their pursuit of Christ.

We move on next to churches that we share the same basic beliefs regarding essential and non-essential matters.  Perhaps the only difference in these churches would be worship style.  We went to one church that is doing great things, but we were not comfortable with the music.  I see this as boiling down to preference.  We simply preferred another type of music.

Finally, we boiled it down to two churches.  Both would have made good churches for us.  What tipped us over to the one we chose?  It was simply a connection.  We visited both multiple times.  It was the relationships in the one we chose.  The relationships came easy in it.

We triaged the churches in our area and those we visited during our church search.  We ended up at the church that God led us to.

What do you think?  Would you triage churches if you were going through a church search?

Church Visit #8

January 17, 2012 7 comments

Please join me today in my family’s continued search for a church home.

If you have been following these adventures, you know that we visited four churches in November and December.  We didn’t really set our hearts on one.  We visited a couple of them a couple of times.

In January,  a friend of mine was preaching at the church he is on staff at since the pastor recently resigned.  An interesting thing happened.  We liked the service despite having no expectations going in.

We went back the following Sunday and enjoyed it again.

This Sunday we again returned to this church.  We also did something we haven’t done since August.  We went to Sunday School AND returned for the Sunday night service.

So how was it?

The thing that stands out from the Sunday School class was that these people really love each other.  The teaching was fine, but this group is definitely close-knit.  Before going into the class, I told Jan that I was not going to say anything and just observe.  If you know me, you will understand that this is extremely difficult for me to do.  I love to talk about the Lord and the Bible.  I failed in my goal of not saying anything.

My friend preached again on Sunday morning.  He preached about God taking His people through difficult situations to get them where He wants them to be.  This was something that everyone could relate to.

In the Sunday night service, a lay preacher preached.  He spoke from the first nine verses of Romans and gave us eight ways to evaluate where we are spiritually, such as praying, reading the Bible, visiting orphans and widows, watching movies, tithing and watching movies.  There were others, but I cannot remember them all.

So, where are in our search?  Honestly, there are no other churches that we want to visit.  My kids are going with the youth group to a youth conference in March.  We are happy to stay here for now.  We are not quite to the point of joining and we haven’t “landed” yet but we are definitely hovering.

I like this church and it has great potential to grow beyond where it is today.  If things continue as they are this will probably be our new church home and I look forward to serving this church in some way.

Here is the question I want to leave you with.  I plan to change my series to something like  First Year In The New Church at some point.  When should I make that change?

What say you?

Church Visit #7

January 9, 2012 8 comments

I’m not sure I can really call this church visit number seven.  It may really be church visit number eight.  We visited this church last week, as well as yesterday.  I didn’t write about it because I honestly didn’t intend for this church to be one that we would consider as a possibility for where we would land.

I guess a good question would be “Why?”  Why wouldn’t I consider this church?  After all, I have a great friend who goes there.  I also have an old college friend that goes to church there.  Here’s why.

This church has had some struggles of late.  These issues won’t simply disappear overnight.

The church currently does not have a pastor.  Based on what I’ve seen in the past, I imagine they won’t have one for around a year.

Despite these two things, this church has zoomed to the top or our list.

The reason we decided to visit last week  was because my good friend is on staff there.  He was preaching the sermon, so I wanted to go support him.

A funny thing happened on the way home.

We all loved being there.  And we loved it again this Sunday.  There is definitely a sweet spirit in this church.

This doesn’t mean we are sold.  I have no idea if we will like other aspects of the church like Sunday school, Wednesday night services or anything else that goes on there.  However, I believe we are at a point of wanting to find out.

However, to quote Jan, it was the most enjoyable church service that we have been to in recent memory.

Let me describe our visit.

In many Southern Baptist churches, while waiting for the service to begin, an organist plays softly until the choir enters.  In this church some multi-instrumentalists took the organists place.

The choir entered.  Four singers stood in front of the choir, along with the worship pastor, to help lead the singing.

We sang a song and then had a greeting time.  My college friend’s husband walked from the opposite end of the auditorium to greet me.

We sang two or three more songs until the offering time.  While the offering was being taken up, the choir sang another song.

My friend then preached a message about the conquest of Jericho.  He even gave me a shout-out during one point that I had helped him with last week while we were on break (we work together and go on break together everyday).

We had a great time in church yesterday.

How was your church service yesterday?

The Weekly Roundup 12/17/11

December 17, 2011 1 comment

As usual, you are tuned in to the weekly round-up.  Today you’ll see what happened on the blog this week, plus I’ll give you a preview of the next couple of weeks.  But first, here’s what happened this week.

Coming in strong as one of my most popular posts ever and numero Uno for the week was Jon Stolpe’s guest post I’m Dreaming Of A Stretched Christmas.  It has continued to get strong action on the days following its original posting.  Thanks to Jon for spending time with the Deuceology folks this week.  Follow the links in the post over to Jon’s site and check him out.  He’s really good.  Also, if you would like to guest post, let me know.  I would like to start making that a fairly regular part of Deuceology.

Number two for the week was Church Search #6.  This series continues to be read.  It’s also fun.  Once we land at a church, I’m  going to shift the series to something along the lines of First Year In A New Church.

Third in hits this week was A Christmas Decision.

Fourth was My 10 Favorite Rock/Pop Christmas Songs.

Sliding in at number five is Christmas Lights.

Wanting a few more hits at number six is Skipping Christmas???

Needing some serious love from yesterday is number seven, Giving Up Your Rights For The Right Thing.

Coming up next week, I’ll be finishing up the Christmas blogs.  I plan on the roundup next Saturday.  Unless it’s just a Merry Christmas greeting, I’ll take Christmas off for all of the Christmas festivities and the Doctor Who Christmas special.

The week after Christmas will be pretty simple.  I have those posts lined up and I’m asking a lot of questions.  I hope you all can help me out.

Have a great week.

 

 

Church Search #6

December 12, 2011 6 comments

Yesterday’s church search returned us to one of the previous churches we visited.  You may remember that visit from my post,  Church Search #4.  We’ll now call this Church B in the church visits we are doing.

I dropped off Jan and Lauren at the front door, while Andrew and I parked the truck.  They had already seated themselves, and we followed.  As we entered,  I spoke to one of the elders that I had met on our previous visit.  Then I noticed someone I recognized.  It was a gentleman who camped at the campground I speak at.  He and his wife were there in 2010.  They retired to our area from Texas and camped while their house was being built.  He welcomed me and met  my family.

The service was much like the previous one.

One of the elders opened with a greeting and a scripture reading.

We then sung several Christmas carols, hymns and songs.  One song included a girl playing the flute with the pianist.  It was very beautiful, and I think, glorifying to God.

There was then a time of corporate prayer as two gentlemen stood in the back of the service.  Their prayers were different from most I have heard in my years in church.  Wrapped throughout their prayers was scripture used to emphasize what they were praying for.

The pastor preached again on the will of God.  The sermon itself lasted right at one hour.  It was extremely complex compared to sermons I have heard in churches during my life.  If I had to compare it to anything, I would compare it to a John Piper or a John MacArthur sermon.  Mentally, I am definitely not used to or generally prepared to sit there that long for a sermon.  However, I thought it was incredible to hear preaching that kept my attention that long.  I have sat through plenty of sermons that lasted twenty-five to thirty minutes that seemed longer and could not hold my attention.

We ended with a hymn.  Atypical of most of the Southern Baptist churches I have been a part of throughout my life, this church does not have  an invitation.  I actually like it.  There is no hard sell from the pastor to walk the aisle.  He seems to let the scripture and God’s spirit work in each person’s life.

We will now take a break from the church search through the next couple of Sundays and resume after Christmas.  Continue to pray for us as we seek where God wants us and where we will best serve and worship Him.

The Weekly Roundup 12/10/11

December 10, 2011 1 comment

Welcome back to another edition of The Weekly Roundup.  You can catch up on what happened on the blog over the past week and sometimes look forward to what is coming up in the following week.

What was the most viewed post this week?  Was it a Christmas post?  Or was it something different?  Coming in at number one this week was Church Visit #5.  You wonderful folks remain interested in our church search.  We will be revisiting another church tomorrow, so expect Monday to have two posts.  One will be a Christmas post and a church search review.

Next up, coming at number two, is I Love A (Christmas) Parade.  This one contained more pictures than words about our local community Christmas parade.

Your Christmas Jesus Is Too Safe got some action this week.  Check it out if you missed it.

Here are some posts that need some love from this week:

My 10 Favorite Rock/Pop Christmas Songs

Pearl Harbor and Christmas

Christmas Presence.  My Sister Wives, Mandrakes And Sex And Sex And Sex And Sex got more action than this one this week.

Since this included links to several Christmas posts, I’m not going to post an original Christmas post today.  I’ll get one in tomorrow.  On Monday, I’ll have a Christmas post and a church search review.  Tuesday will just have one.  On Wednesday, I have a special treat.  My pal, Jon Stolpe, will be stopping by to guest post.  You really need to read Jon’s  Jon Stolpe Stretched blog.  As always on Thursdays, Twitterific Thursday will return with a 140 Words posts.  Who knows about Friday yet.

If you would like you can follow me in a few other ways as well.  I am on Facebook.  Friend me if you read and want to see other stuff and nonsense going on in my life.  You can follow the Deucology blog on Facebook as well without seeing all of the other junk I do.  I’m here on Twitter.

I hope to see you throughout the week.  I appreciate all of you who read, even when I don’t know who you are.  Leave me a comment so I can see who is reading my stuff.  Have a great week.