WARNING:  Hot Topic Ahead!

About a year ago we had made a very hard decision to change churches. 

We, my husband and I, have a deep connection to the Lutheran Church.  My father is a Lutheran Pastor and I am a commissioned minister in the church.  My husband grew up in the Lutheran Church and that is where we met.  We have attended only Lutheran churches since we have been together. 

The Church that we attended in our former state, Oregon, was home for us.  We loved the people.  My hubby was a part of the congregation for many years, and I worked there at one time.  Of course, just like any church there are difference that arise on occasion but nothing that caused concern like not helping the poor, false teaching, stealing of funds, etc.

We moved to Arizona and had much difficulty finding a church connection.  My hubby hadn’t been to a new church in a long time (just new Pastors), but I had.  For several reasons we just had a hard time finding the spot we felt God wanted us.  Of course part of this was moving to a completely different type of city (small to large), another was our financial difficulties and stress, and grieving our former church all added to this problem.

After we had attended a couple of churches (again not what we were envisioning) we settled on a church that was a little far from home and not exactly a huge connection but it seemed to work and we needed to be in a church home.

After several years of attending and active participation we had built friendships and built the connection we had longed for.  Then, for reasons that I don’t feel right about going into, we came at a crossroads with new leadership and felt that we needed to change churches for the spiritual welfare of our family.  Every Sunday was a discussion about the struggle of staying or leaving!  It was agonizing.

We went and visited a few churches and most were not Lutheran (the shame of it all).  The Lutheran church thrives in many areas, but for us Arizona (our part of the city) was not one of them.  We wanted to be involved with a church that was very outward focused.  One that would encourage music that would invite those who have never attended a church to come.  A church that would not be difficult to bring a friend to as they wouldn’t be lost.  ETC

We found a church that my husband fell in love with right away.  It was a large (to us) Church of God.  There is some differences of theology but nothing that we felt would prevent us from attending there.  The Pastor was wonderful.  He knew my hubby’s name right away and that met a lot to him and me.   After a few months the Pastor came to let us know personally (even though we were very new to the congregation) that he would be leaving the church.  We were shocked but we felt this is where God would have us so we stayed.

We went through the vacancy and recently called a new Pastor.  The Pastor we called is very different, and to be honest I wasn’t sure about him coming.  After just about a month I have been growing spiritually just as I have been doing with the previous Pastor.  We really do know that God is doing wonderful things here and we are blessed to be apart of it.

I know many people have very strong feelings about changing churches.  I just have to say that this change has allowed me to grow so much more than I would have imagined.  Although I miss some of the traditional parts of the Lutheran Church service I have been challenged by the change of routine.  I see my faith in a whole new perspective.  My children are also growing.  One Sunday, my oldest came out of a service and said, with welled up eyes, that was an emotional service.  I said that is the Holy Spirit and we had a chance to talk about it.

Although we miss the Lutheran Church we feel that we are where God would have us.  And you know I don’t think God really minds if we go to a different denomination or not.  I think He just cares that we are there worshiping Him and serving.  Are we doing His will or not.

It’s so funny how we get so settled on our own denomination.  At this point, because I don’t attend a Lutheran Church, I don’t think I could work in one (as I previously have done) or be a missionary.  This is the same for most denominations.  I guess I wish that they would take an individuals spiritual growth into account rather than what denomination they have attended (or attend).  As I have told many people, I don’t want my kids to feel they are Lutheran, Church of God, Baptist, Methodist.  That is the place that they worship not their identity.  There identity is children of THE MOST HIGH.  We are Christians and not bound by the denomination in which we attend.

Of course, there is a purpose to domination’s, and I recognize that.  There are consistency and theological issues, but I do think we need to challenge ourselves and what we are and Who’s we are.  Although I don’t advocate changing churches and denominations, I do think it behooves (yes behooves) us to attend, every once in awhile, other churches so that we can go beyond tradition and let God move us in a way that we wouldn’t allow in our comfort zone.

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