It’s official! I did something. I did it with a bit of apprehension and a good deal of hope. Basically, I joined a new church. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me, it’s huge. A while back, I touched on experiencing some church hurt that completely caught me off guard and how that was a catalyst in possibly leaving a church I had been a part of in some capacity for twenty years.
About fifteen months ago, I met some people after attending a conference at a local church, and it has changed my life. This new community has welcomed me in with open arms. Some have even said that it feels as though I have always gone there. Despite this, I didn’t want to make any rash decisions or decisions made out of hurt, anger, or bitterness from my last church.
So, I have taken the past fifteen months to learn and grow under this new church’s leadership. I have connected with members on a heart level. I’ve broken bread, celebrated, and even walked through some hard valleys. It has filled my soul with such joy.
Last week, I had a meeting with the pastors and discussed me possibly becoming a member. The Lord literally told me everything my heart needed to hear. I was in awe of His kindness and attention to the smallest details of my life.
A few months ago, this verse came up in a sermon and I knew what my word would be for 2020: dwell.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Psalm 27:4 (NIV)
With this transition to a new church family, I knew that I wanted this new year to embody going deeper into these new relationships. Over the past couple of years, I have experienced disconnects in some of my friendships. I have poured out in friendship, but it hasn’t been reciprocated. It hurt, and it’s been hard, but I was made for connection. And so are you.
At the beginning of last year, the Lord called me back into wholehearted devotion to Him. That hasn’t changed, but now He is calling me back to deep devotion to community.
Navigating relationships of any kind is not easy, but it can be simple. Here are some things God has taught me that I want to carry into this new community:
Seek God first.
This is key. This is foundational. If our relationships with the Lord are lacking, nothing else fits into place. I truly believe I have let the Lord lead me in this whole process of transitioning churches. I didn’t go looking for a new church in reaction to being hurt. It actually came out of nowhere. When God divinely crafts His plans, there is so much peace attached to it. His leading comes out of those sweet times when we have just sat in His presence and listened to His still small voice. The Father wants to guide us intimately into the center of His will, and all we need to do is listen and obey.
Seek God together.
I am an advocate for the local church, and I love the verse that commands us to not forsake the assembly of the brethren. I actually have never felt guilt attached to this verse as some may have. I have actually been encouraged and challenged by it. No matter what has been going on in my life or in relationships or in the church itself, I have never wanted those things to deter me from gathering with the body. Again, not easy, but I do believe I have been intentional in this area.
Prayer and worship corporately has always knitted my heart and spirit with others. It’s been quite beautiful and powerful. I can’t wait to see how God moves in me and through me in this new space this year.
God created us out of unity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — for unity — one body, many parts.
We all have something to glean from each other, and we all have something to offer one another. May we keep our eyes and hearts open to the leading of His Spirit. He has a place and a people for you to call home.
If you have found your people, I would love to hear about them!
If you haven’t, I would love to pray for you!
God created us out of unity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- for unity -- one body, many parts. #community #church -@karina268: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Love this: “If our relationships with the Lord are lacking, nothing else fits into place.”
And your prayer: “May we keep our eyes and hearts open to the leading of His Spirit. ”
Amen, Amen and Amen.
Thanks so much for sharing, Karina!!
Have a beautiful day:),
Thank you Bomi for reading! May God strengthen your relationships with your people this year!
Amen! Thank you so much Karina:)
Karina – happy new year! I’m so happy you are happy in this new home. I’m not attached to any one church can you pray for me for God to show me which one to go to?
Thanks sister x
Jas! Thank you for sharing!
Father, it is your heart that we never walk this life alone. We are better together! I pray for right relationships for Jas in Your right timing. Open her eyes and heart to love and community. You are faithful. May she trust Your leading.
In Jesus’ Name.
Beth Williams says
Praying God will lead you & your family to a Christ centered, loving church. One that fits your needs & allows you to get involved some.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Praise that you have found a new church home! This line touched me, “God created us out of unity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — for unity — one body, many parts.” It struck me that that Godhead – three in one- is the ultimate example of Unity. We would be wise to follow suit!
Amen Bev! Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement! You bless me sister!
I recently relocated and am struggling a bit to find my community. I left an AMAZING church! They were a source of support during one of the most difficult seasons of my life and I don’t know how I would have survived without them. In my new area, I have visited a ton of churches. While I have been attending the same one for a while, I don’t really feel connected. Please pray that God will help me build community or show me where I am supposed to be.
Elizabeth, thank you for sharing! It’s hard, but God!
Jesus, You are closer than a brother. Would You kindly fill in the gap in Elizabeth’s season of transition? You are faithful to lead and confirm. Speak peace to her heart about where she should be rooted. Bring authentic community to her that feel like home. Give her patience. May she trust You and Your timing.
In Jesus’ Name.
Michele Morin says
I’ve belonged to a loving church family for over twenty years. “Belonged to” sounds like the right way to say it, because they often crowd my borders and, at times, the church has been the pebble in my shoe, and yet there’s the command to gather and to pour ourselves out for one another. On this fallen planet, I don’t think there’s anything more formative to the believer’s character and growth than showing up in the Body of Christ.
Congratulations on taking the plunge! May you find joy and peace in the long-term struggle of knowing and being known by a community of fellow-sinners.
Thank you Michele for your encouragement! So good! So true!
Gina Grabenstatter says
We have not tried to find a church closer to our new(4years) home bc we loved our old church so much.
I think we need that community and we need for it to be more convenient and closer.
Please pray for my family and I to find a local church that gives us what we crave from a church community.: worship with beautiful, motivational song, connecting through our community by doing service together and positive gatherings to keep us focused on what we can do to better serve on this earth.
I also pray for those who are in search of the right place of worship!!
Thank you Gina for sharing!
Father, I believe You have the sweetest community available for Gina’s family. Give them revelation and discernment about where to go. You meet every desire of our hearts and every longing of our souls. You are good and faithful. Lead them intimately.
Karina, I love the Psalm 27 verse you reference here. A most beautiful picture of our worship as we gather here on earth and one day in Heaven. Your transparency here is not uncommon as being apart of a fellowship is like family and can sometimes bring hurt and loss. We are to not forsake the individual gifts we bring to the body, but in fact to demonstrate for the benefit of our brethren through Holy Spirit. With Jesus as our head, we can show His love to one another and in return be blessed in our journey.
Amen Nora! Thank you for reading and sharing!
Jan Reader says
Thank you for sharing this. I love the verse that you referenced. After recently relocating to another state, I have been actively seeking a new church home. I have found a church that has what I am looking for and have visited several times. I am praying for God’s will in this.
Thank you Jan for sharing!
Father, thank You for leading Jan to community. You are pleased with her pursuit of Your Body. I pray You open doors of opportunity for deep and lasting connection in this new home. You are good and faithful. May she trust You with every step.
In Jesus’ Name.
Thank for your message Karina! I, too, made a switch in churches this year. For the longest time I was attending a very large congregation that you could honestly just remain invisible in easily. I struggled to find connection, which unfortunately also contributed to a lack of commitment to active participation in my faith outside of my personal relationship with God.
A girl I work with really seemed to love her church and I could see the joy it brought to her, so in my desperation for making connections and finding a new church home, I checked out her church. There, I have no only found a new home, but a wondering, warm and extremely welcoming group of members. As time goes on, I’m slowly making connections and becoming rooted there. 🙂
I love this Lacia! God is so good and so faithful! Know that He is delighted with Your pursuit of His Body. He will honor that. May He bless you with lasting and deep relationships that glorify Him.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Guess what a few years ago I felt the Church I had joined with my Husband. We both got water Baptist in this Church we had left down at Lough Erne. I brought my Husband out of the Church of Ireland Church that he was brought up in as child. Where we live. It would be known as along with the Methodist and others as protestant Churches with lables like the thoes who goe to Mass as Catholic. So we could see in our last Church God pointing out to us. Favorites being in it and we felt people saying do you go to protestant Church. I said to myself that wrong Church should have no labels. We all are God Children. Jesus loves everyone. He expectes us just the way we are. If you read your Bible he want to be with people no one wanted to know. He loved people of all walks of life. He never said we where this or this if we belonged this Church or this Church. Never put labels on People. We to him are just one big Churh world wide. That is what we are saved should be. No saying I am Elim and saved I am Methodist and saved etc. We are all on big Church world wide. No one have the on saved believing if you go mass your a Catholic and if you go the Methodist your a protestant etc. That is so wrong. That is way me I took my Husband out of the Church of Ireland and we left the Church we got water Baptist in at Lough Erne. Now go to the Salvation Army. We love it. As they expect you for who you are you don’t have any labels over your head. As been belong to Catholic faith your Catholic people think. or the protestant faith people think that. As Jesus would not want that. You are loved for who you are. In the Salvation Army. Your taught all about Jesus. Being the feet and hands of Jesus to the hurting world. Showing his love to people. If people ask what we are. I am or what Church I go to I say I go to Salvation Army who expect people of all walks of life. Love you like Jesus does. I am a follower of Jesus. I don’t say I am thing else. I don’t carry any other labels only the Jesus label. Because Jesus would want me to carry no other labels only His. Nother excellent reading today. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Thank you Dawn for sharing your story! It’s beautiful and encouraging! May God continue to root you in His Body of believers. He loves you and is well pleased with you.
Nancy Ruegg says
Upon retirement we moved four states away to the city where our older son and his family live (not too far from our younger son). They were looking for a church home too. Finding it proved a challenge for us, but we finally felt led to make our home at a vibrant church, only a few years old, filled with university students and young families–a great “fit” for our son and his family; not so much for retirees, but they welcomed us warmly and kept reassuring us they were delighted to have voices of experience to join their fellowship. We did love the advantage of worshiping with family again, after many years apart. My husband and I also thought that as other older people came to visit, they would see us and realize they weren’t alone in their age bracket. Now there’s a handful of couples 50+–wonderful people we’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know. With you, Karina, we are glad to have found our place of joy!
Amen Nancy! I love that God is right there with us wanting community for us just as much as we do!
Beth Williams says
Good for you for staying put for a while. Sometimes it take a bit to get a church going. People need to hear about & visit it. Thank you for following God’s lead in this way. You’ve helped other couples to decide to stay & helped grow your church.
your write up is great. I’m not part of a church because I walked out of my church after witnessing many things I could no longer push aside. we were there many years too and i as a pastor in many ministries….we then looked for other churches.to simply attend….its been a long hard journey. hearing bad jokes from the pulpit at one place to not hearing any sermon each Sunday but money talk at another church. to racial attitudes at yet another church….we decided to home church. we love it and still have a big community of friends and believers in our lives.
if we could find a church to attend we would love to , we aren’t looking for perfection but are looking for biblical knowledge & a honor of God. so far after 20 + places to look into we haven’t found it here. God bless those still seeking a home church and those who do home church too.
Thank you Krissy for sharing! Yes, finding a solid church can be a struggle. But, God meets us where we are and how we need Him to. He is with you in this process. He is faithful to lead. May You experience His peace in whatever He leads you to. He simply delights in your pursuit of Him and His children.
Prayers needed!! We joined a church 2 years ago – my husband’s selection- yet I’m the only one attempting to connect- he’s always making excuses not to go. We be made attempts to join in groups & activities yet struggle with connecting. I’m seeking a deep connection with others & finding its not easy. Is it the church culture? Is it me? Never felt so lost….
Praise & blessings always!
my prayers are for you. I was once told that church is like ice cream we have to find our perfect flavor and not struggle to have something we don’t like. perhaps your hubby feels awkward or other things. my own hubby pulled away like that too until I had a chat with him finding out his true feelings about the church we were in. it cleared the air and helped my frustration levels go down !! he sees things one way and me another but we have come to understand my want to be part of a group too. he doesn’t need that.
I attend different women’s bible studies at various churches and find that helps to belong
Karina Allen says
Trish, I totally get it! Thank you for sharing!
Father, You are kind and loving. Meet Trish where she is in this process. Would you surround her with the right people that can walk alongside her in the highs and lows. Let there be an ease when it’s the right people. May they feel like home to her heart. Stir up a desire in her husband for deep connection. Pull him up and out of his comfort zone of familiarity. Give him a hunger and thirst and a boldness. Tear away every excuse until there is only You left. Jesus, be Trish’s joy and hope in this season. Holy Spirit, lead her and guide her. You are faithful and will never disappoint.
In Jesus’ Name.
I also changed churches this past year. My dad is a pastor and I was feeling very suffocated trying to find my identity as a gal in my later 30’s who’s been divorced but no one here knew me pre-divorce. I have to echo your comments. I feel so loved and cared for. Like it’s my own family. It has been one of the best decisions and yet one of the hardest decisions I have made for myself with many, many mentors helping me along the way. My relationship with my parents has been the best it’s ever been thanks to mentors telling me to “finish well.” I am so happy for you!!! I know what church hurt is like and this current season is so refreshing. It’s almost tempting to think what’s going to happen next?!?!
Karina Allen says
Heidi! I love your story! Thank you for sharing!
I am all for this adventure He is taking us on! He is so good!!!!
Beth Williams says
Been praying for you in the tough seasons. Glad to hear you followed God’s leading & found community once again. We were all made for community. I have been in church my whole life. Even left one church as I didn’t feel I belonged anymore. The new church welcomed me instantly. I got involved with a singles group & other activities. Wanting to make friends. Over time the style & music level got to loud to really appreciate the songs. I changed. Went back to the other church for a few years. All changed when I got married in 2004. He goes to a Christian church. I had never been to a church like that. Blue Springs is a small local congregation with a heart for God. On my first visit with hubby we sat in the back near some friends. One of the elder’s wives came by & said hello after the service. She made sure I was welcomed. Made me feel good. Fast forward 15 years & we just love our church. We still have the same pastor. A few new families have joined us. We are mostly older people 50+. We do a lot for our community trying to show God’s love in this sin darkened world. I have several good friends there. We all pray for one another. My hubby & I “snuck” off & got married at courthouse while some where on a missions trip. Word got back. It was announced Sunday Morning & they threw us a bridal shower complete with homemade cake. They even gave us money when my FIL died. They are a loving, caring bunch of people who know the Bible well.
Blessings in your new church! 🙂
Karina Allen says
Thank you Beth for all of your prayers!
Your church sounds amazing! Praise God for bringing you home! He is so patient with us as we find our way!
Suzanne Kendrick says
Thank You for this. I have always struggled with being a part of church community. I am a loner at heart and am very guarded with my personal life as well as being very shy. That’s not a good combination for community. I am attending a church right now that I like some aspects of. The pastor and most of the people I’ve come in contact with are very nice and love the Lord. My problem is the overall atmosphere. My husband used to attend church but over the years has quit going. This new church is totally opposite of what he’s accustomed to. The music is modern and sometimes loud and the other Sunday, they had baptism and instead of the preacher baptizing people, the people who had brought them into the church were. I’m not sure even I agree with that. I just wonder if I should be going somewhere that’s closer to his comfort zone that he might attend with me. Please pray for me that God will reveal to me what he wants me to do.
Molly Gonzalez says
Dear Suzanne, Thank you for sharing your situation and uncertainty and I just wanted to tell you that we are praying for you for discernment in this time. I know what it’s like to long to go together with your husband and good for you for recognizing that! I definitely believe that desire is honoring to the Lord and that he wants to meet you both where you are.
If you would like to take some unsolicited thoughts, I would say two things. First, seek God through Jesus in his Word. Desire Him from your heart, and then go to the place where you see God being honored and glorified the most. Don’t focus on the externals as much as you focus on finding a Bible-teaching church where the Truth prevails and not worldly wisdom. I completely get the music thing, and being uncertain about the way certain traditions handle things such as baptism. But don’t through the church out with the baptism water. (ha)
Remember that becoming part of a church community doesn’t just happen overnight, and it be prepared for the possibility that it might actually take some effort from your side too. God might be asking YOU to make a change for the sake of being joined to a local church which is really a part of the larger Church body: Christ’s Body.
Praying for you my friend! I wish you could come to my church, you’re definitely invited if you’re ever in Ojai, CA! 🙂
Suzanne Kendrick says
Thank You Molly!
Very wise words Molly. Thank you for your comments.
Karina Allen says
Thank you Suzanne for sharing!
Holy Spirit, Your leadership is perfect. It is Your heart for Suzanne and her husband to be rooted in community. You want it more than they do. You will fight for it. Stir up strong desires in them to seek out this community no matter the cost, no matter their flesh, no matter their desire. Open doors to the right people in Your right timing. You are good and faithful.
In Jesus’ Amen.
We love you, Karina! We’re so thankful God has blessed you and comforted you through our body. He is so good! He is just soooooo good. He brought you right to us. This is a beautiful blog.
Kimberly Beth Bryant says
I would love it if you would pray for me. I got divorced in November and moved in December about a 1,000 miles away to a new job, new apartment, new life, new everything. The person who i’ve loved the most in the world who i thought would always be my people is no longer my husband and my heart hurts and i’m mostly moving forward but sometimes i feel lost and lonely. Everyone in my daily life is new, no one who really knows me. I’ve gone to a church a few times but it’s starting to not feel 100% right and i’m thinking of trying a different one next week. I went to look at cats to adopt one and although I miss my cat dearly, none of the “new” cats seemed like the right connection. I miss my people, i feel alone sometimes and at the same time trusting new people and letting new people in doesn’t feel great either.
Kat Leon says
What a huge adjustment to so many changes at once. It can feel like such a lonely journey. I pray that you will take this time to care for yourself and know that the Lord is with you even in the dark and empty places. I’ve had many, many of those places but I know He’s the one who’s always been my constant. Such a short time in which to find connection but I pray it will come to you in a loving and glorious way with new friends and women who will love and support you. I also hope you can find the right cat to pick you so you will have a sweet companion to love on.
Linda Boe’ says
Karina, I love this post. We are so happy to have you in our “family”. ❤️
Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered says
Wow!! I love your sharing this. I’m in the midst (along with my husband and three kiddos) of a huge Church transition as well. After 18-20 years it is NOT an easy thing to do. Practical reasons (locale) are the main reasons but when some minor “rough spots” become the “icing on the cake”, so to speak, allowing push come to shove… in making our decisions…it’s hard!! IS God choosing to “move us” this way – into his plan – because otherwise we might not have….?
I don’t know. Prayers are so necessary. Peace is here but change is sooo difficult.
Kat Leon says
Finding a new church can be a huge challenge. Too big, too small, too friendly, too impersonal….I’ve been through this a few times. I moved in 2016 to a completely new area. The only person I knew was my sister and her family. We connect at times but she just can’t provide the support I need or want. I’m still surprised by it at times. After trying a few churches I decided to try a new church plant. It’s very small and I usually like the ability to “disappear” in a larger church. This on has been a good fit. I have had huge loss of family in my life and it’s always a challenge to decide when and if to share since I want to be known for more than my losses. I’ve been very blessed by a group of men and women that have supported me in many different areas. If I miss a service or small group they text to be sure I’m ok. If I need a ride someone always reaches out. We call it “Journey” uber since our church is Journey. Their love, support and care has been a huge blessing after leaving friends and an area I had been in for 28 yrs.
Praying for those struggling to find connection since this is an important and vital part of life and being loved by community showing Jesus.
Karina what a wonderful article. So glad you have joined our church family