I was stuck. I had left the standard American church behind in search of something better, more true to the vision I saw in the New Testament. And I had failed to find it; truthfully, I had almost given up looking.
But I started to feel a nudge, well, really nudges. I was lonely for spiritual company. People to discuss God with on a regular basis, iron to sharpen iron. My circle of local Christian friends was small and I wanted more.
More importantly, I felt like a hypocrite. If you had asked me what I thought an individual believer’s relationship to the church was, I would have told you that the church was vitally important, that no one is meant to seek Jesus alone, that we are saved to be part of a body. And I was doing the exact opposite.
Those nudges turned into pokes. God was poking me. Sure I didn’t have my dream congregation, but I had plenty of others to choose from. (My town is hardly short on churches.) It was time to start dying to my dream and waking up to the reality God had placed me in. It was time to start living what I said I believed.
One of those aforementioned pokes involved a friend from community theater inviting me to come to her church. And so I did. Eventually, I started going regularly. My reasons for picking Litchfield Christian Church were hardly spiritual. Frankly, I decided to keep going because I already knew people there.
And yet, God used my very unspiritual dislike of strange crowds to put me exactly where He wanted me to be. There were time I questioned my choice, and wondered if I had actually betrayed my principles by trying to live them out.
On the surface, LCC seemed rather complacent in their old-fashioned style of church. In many ways, they were what I had run away from. But as I became more involved in the church, I began to detect a stream of discontent with the status quo and a strong desire for change. We wanted to see new disciples coming into our church, and that wasn’t going to happen if we kept things the way they were.
As the church elders began to be more open about these desires for change and as changes began to actually happen, I knew for sure that our new mission and focus was something I could believe in, participate in, and contribute to.
I still get frustrated sometimes with church life. But it is a healthier frustration, one born out of community with others instead of isolation, a frustration of impatience more than impotence. After years of searching, I believe I am where God wants me to be.