Tag: <span>church</span>

Tag: church

How To Get His Number

God granted me an opportunity to meet with Chris pretty quickly. It was Thursday night when we sat next to each other at the 30s and 40s unmarried group, and it was that next Sunday that I saw him getting coffee.  This in itself was God-ordained. I never drank church …


How Chris and I Met 

Chris and I knew we would find the right person at church. It was too hard to screen people in the world for authentic Christianity, and it was certainly not working out on instagram for me. Neither tried Christian online dating, and we both had some failed relationships for whatever reason – distance, personality, life experiences. 

I am older, and when I came to our mutual church just 6 months prior, I decided against joining the Young Life group. Not that I had anything against them or thought that they would have anything against me, but I was not interested necessarily in dating younger men or hanging out with younger women whom I figured, would have very little in common with me. 

Fortunately, I the outside Bible study that introduced me to the church was still meeting and I was getting connected with others who were on the same journey. I was also on my own journey – I was volunteering at my previous church and started with an online church to build an online women’s group. I watched several different sermons every week, and tried to gather as much personal knowledge and inspiration from Jesus as I could – just so I could be more of an asset to any woman who asked for help, whether she was in the group, in the church, or in the world. 

But this new church was fascinating and you could say I drank the Kool-aid again – I left my previous church to focus on my online groups and I joined a women’s book study and Alpha course at the new church and quickly decided that I wanted to start an in-person Bible study. I even signed up to help with the kids’ camp and eagerly agreed to lead a class – I stunned the coordinator, who wasn’t used to people accepting leadership positions so quickly. 

I knew that I was put on this earth for a reason, that God kept me alive through the dumb for something bigger, and that my gifts were not mine to hoard – I thrive on encouraging others and I was determined to prove myself to myself – if I couldn’t find love on earth, I would certainly find love in Jesus. 

Imagine my surprise when a few months later, a friend invited me to a new group that the church was offering – 30s and 40s unmarried. How I even loved the name – it wasn’t saying we were single and depressed or looking for love, just, unmarried and looking for companionship with other believers of our age. I had missed the first meeting, but I was sure more interested in a Bible-study focused meeting than a social one. 

So I went and studied with others who were my age, especially men who were older (since I had been around older women, but not necessarily any guys my age). Every other week the group grew as we invited people from other churches and the news got around to church members who didn’t know already. 

By the 3rd meeting, I was introduced to Chris. He was handsome, if not a bit interesting, but his name was all I got. Not really paying attention, at the next Bible study meeting we were sitting next to each other. It was a pretty terrible night for me socially, so I purposefully sat by my friend on the other side and let her carry the conversation. Maybe that won Chris over? He opened up considerably to the group at the table and I noticed his finger nails were dirty and he had obviously come straight from work in his work clothes. 

But imagine my surprise when he said he was self-employed and God provided – he was never truly anxious about money (what a stark difference, opposites attract!). I was immediately interested and thought I wasn’t ready that night, figuring out a way to become his friend and see if he would accept an invitation. Honestly – I had signed up for AGW and learned the art of invitation was the female pursuit that did not threaten a man’s instinct to hunt (instead of be hunted). 


Are You Listening for When to Leave a Church?

When you have a common Catholic name, you take advantage of it when you’re trying to actually listen to God, especially about leaving a church.

When you’re deciding to leave a church, you must discern between your desires and His Plan – especially if they feel juxtaposed. If you’re not listening when you pray, you won’t hear His Voice. So how do you know when it’s time to find a new church, then gracefully begin leaving the church you grew up and volunteered with for so long?

I had some moments before church, I knew it would be a tight day, and I didn’t know when I would be “free” in the evening to review the work I had done Friday night. Such is the life of a salaried worker.
I’m not even sure what I said to myself putting on my makeup. Honestly, the 23 hours is a mentality of faith, lifestyle, and mindset for me, so I knew I had said some grateful small “thank God I woke up today” prayer as I got out of bed.
I heard fairly loudly (it’s been getting louder the more I pray, the more I leave space to listen, the more I say thank you, the more close I feel with my Father), that I should let my old church know that I would not come back to serve as a volunteer – much less that I’m leaving the church entirely.
I don’t know where this came from, the Holy Spirit usually does not make mental connections for me. Or at least, I’ve never heard them outright. Sometimes, I just wake up with ideas, I’m just sitting in the car and have to pull over – my biggest fear is that I’ve lost so many ideas, time, and influence by not pulling over and by not following through on those ideas.

I still have that scattered memory, where was I?

So I knew it was early in the day and resolved to send the volunteer coordinator a text when church was over.
And then I packed up and went out. I needed to be a little earlier than normal, I was worried about getting a spot and more so, taking a handicapped spot someone else needed more. Having a boot and needing confidence at the same time are surprisingly difficult for me to achieve most days.
I spent some time reading first, I’m not about to be 30 minutes early to anything anymore, unless I need to be. I polo’d a friend as I was going in – I’m not sure why I’m so silly to think that he won’t respond as I’m doing something else. He’s always so sweet and usually awake, then I want to talk as I’m going in between events. I rushed past the sweet greeter who asked “how much longer with this boot?” I don’t stop, merely giving him a side smile and trying to hide the sigh that came involuntarily. I wish someone had told me just how harrowing that question would be when you’re so lost, angry, and uncertain of your future when you’re injured and unhappy with the consequences. “When I stop traveling I guess,” I sorta yelled back, rushing into the building for the bathroom, convincing myself I could grab coffee before my tattoo appointment that was after church.

My new church sermon series has been about the church and how Jesus wants the people to function within and without if its walls. Once again, I heard from my pastor’s mouth – when you are leaving a church, be an adult, tell them your plans, and leave on good terms. Don’t gossip about their wrongs to me, because I’ll be waiting for you to leave and do the same to my church. If we’re not it for you, we’ll help you find the church that is as perfect as we can get – because we’re human, no church will ever be perfect and it’s erroneous to believe you can find that anywhere this side of heaven.
So convicted. I have to tell my old church. Today.

But after church, I had a few moments to eat, grab coffee, and think about the plan for this blog and how to word “I’m leaving this church”. I think, just because we’ve grown apart, why does it seem so hard to be honest with the very people that should understand?
My artist is light-handed and quick. 4 line-work pieces, only one I would consider small, and I was out in 2 hours (he drew for 30 minutes of that because I am not the greatest at expressing my artist intent). With the rest of the night in front of me, it was too much for my ADHD brain. I tried to nap, I failed. Or rather, I recommitted to my identity as a no-napper. I’m okay with that, but the headache was a little real, which made me not want to write or read or draw – so… work it is?

I grabbed pre-prepped food for Monday and Chipotle for that night. I sat for myself and read through my draft again. I checked emails, I checked Instagram, I talked to friends…

It was around 5p I remembered I had a text to send! I was nervous and scared to even say out loud that I was leaving the church, I got pretty close to staff and volunteers while I served – I guess that’s the point of building a community. The next best idea would be an email to the woman who had reached out when I rejected a bunch of days in a row when I originally hurt myself in October. Then my selfishness arises quickly. I could wait and go to the volunteer banquet in a couple of weeks. Why not? I volunteered all spring and summer, why not get recognized for that? Would I regret not going to the volunteer banquet the night before Vegas?
I don’t want to waste time, money, or energy – for me or them. I may regret it, but I won’t regret using that time to sow into something else (like sleep). So something very short to say I’m leaving and grateful for the time but bye – maybe please take me off the volunteer list? I found another church and I’d rather serve there, or really, I’m trying to serve with other people in a different capacity…

Short and sweet, make sure it’s pretty and grammatically correct – then the 5-second rule – send it before you can chicken out again. Ignore the response at first.
Any excuse will work remember? But at least I finally did send out my goodbye.

And that’s how an anxiety-stricken millennial can follow the Holy Spirit, gain insight from a pastor’s message, and try to leave a church gracefully – hopefully with bridges intact. I guess I’ll have to let you know how it worked out when I need to cross those bridges again.