Thursday, October 10, 2013

Attending the Prodigal Church

I keep thinking about the chapel we saw at Montreat College, The Chapel of the Prodigal. 

Really, it would be the type of church you wouldn't have to attend every Sunday because if you did, you wouldn't be the prodigal.  When you come back to the chapel, a large party is thrown to celebrate your return.  Talk about some awesome potlucks!  As I have been thinking this through, I wonder if the older brother and his attitude helped the younger brother become The Prodigal?  Sometimes life with a know it all, judgmental, bitter, jealous, insecure, tit for tat type of person can help fuel the desire to go out and do some riotous living.  But I digress....
Why have I been giving this some thought?  No, I am too old and too tired for riotous living and we're not eating pig pods or anything like that.  Heck, I don't even know of a fatted calf in the general area.  But, yesterday something got my attention that surprised me.  Our church is participating with some researchers from Germany  who have commissioned a survey that church attenders and members can answer if feeling so inclined to help with the research.  Yesterday, I saw the link for it and decided to participate.  I couldn't even finish the thing because I was seeing in black and white the new truth of our lives.  As I went through the questions I realized the usual answers I would have given for attendance would be weekly and more than weekly but my answers were more like monthly or occasionally.  No Wednesday nights since health issues have kept me out of choir.  No Bible study attendance during the week because I participate in CBS and honestly nothing offered during the week even interests me remotely to make the drive back in.  We don't use the fitness and recreation center, haven't gone on a mission trip in a while and pretty much shut down attending events.  As I continued to answer the survey the thought in the back of my mind was, I am still recovering from being on staff and having to be at the church at least six days a week, but that excuse isn't even valid anymore.  In January it will be six years since I left my position due to health reasons.  Slowly but surely this year we've even stopped attending Life Bible Study which is just a culturally and relevant name for Sunday School.  Oh it's biblical too.   And it has been easier than I thought to become 'those people' who only come to a church service.  No one has called or checked up on us and I am not saying that because that's what I want, phone calls or a personal touch, no way.  It's easier to miss cause no one is calling making us feel somewhat guilty about our choice to stay home.  I kept on answering the survey and realized we had also become every other week church attenders.  Dang, we have just missed a whole month of Sundays.  Yet, my walk with the Lord seems stronger than ever.  I've never had clearer vision on what God has equipped me to do.  I'm loving the freedom of not having to look over my shoulder to see if I have invariably hurt someone's feelings or made someone mad in the lack of or in ministry choices. 
That is when I stopped taking the survey.  I didn't stop because the facts on the screen were so overwhelmingly truthful, that I vowed right then and there to get back at church, find something to do that fits in my giftings and re-right the ship.  No, it made me even more aware that we might just need to find a neighborhood church to be active and involved again.  Roy has had that mindset for quite some time but I have been resisting that whole idea.  We had fun visiting different churches this summer and maybe we need to extend that habit.  Although, it felt good to be at our for right now home church to see friends and catch up in between visiting.  Thankfully, some of our closest friends from church live nearby so we wouldn't have to give up seeing them.  Truthfully, we haven't heard a lot of people say, come visit, we love our church out here.  We've researched and haven't found what we might be looking for.  Some churches are too out there for us oldies and there are some churches that are still doing church like the 60's.  No, not for us.  We have thought all along we would not make a hasty decision and just be like Abraham, let God lead us and go to a place we don't know.    It would be great if our church had a Katy campus.  This area is growing like wildfire because of the energy corridor.  On the Rancho De Five website, they've announced that Second is adding another campus farther west than the west campus they have right now and that would be located just down the street from us.  It might be worth waiting for.  The other obvious choice would be to go to BCF and believe me, that has been a consideration, but once again, it is not our neighborhood church and that is what Roy would really like to do, go to a neighborhood church.  Maybe BCF will have a Katy campus soon.  Or maybe I can hope the Presbyterians open up a Chapel of the Prodigal out here in the Rancho area. 

No comments: