Churches That Promote Family Worship, Courting and Dating With a Purpose……..Are They Out There?

There is nothing cozier than a church that you call home.

There is nothing cozier than a church that you call home.

We live in the Tidewater area of Virginia, and we have been without a church home for a year now. We still love our previous church, as the pastor is amazing…….period. His sermons are relavent, funny, gripping, and most importantly, based on The Word. He preaches about things that steer you closer to Christ, and gives you points to think about to sustain you for the week. The music pastor there should be broadcast on the radio for all the world to hear. Seriously, he is that good. He closes his eyes, throws his head back, and completely loses himself while worshiping the Lord; all while playing his keyboard like a concert pianist. Never have you heard a voice like his!

So why, pray tell, would we ever want to leave such a marvelous hotbed of Christian goodness? Very simply, for the sake of my family’s spiritual well-being and for my children’s protection.

Pretty dramatic, eh? 🙂

Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Texas has an average of 40,000 people in attendance each Sunday.  Wow!

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas has an average of 40,000 people in attendance each Sunday. Wow!

In short, it was dramatic, and we did leave for those reasons. Yet, the church was not doing anything deliberately to us that would warrant us running and screaming from the pews. They were just TOO BIG. The youth group was gigantic, and our older kids got lost there. I am sure that the youth pastors were trying to gear their material to ‘reach the masses’, but dumbing down God’s word is not acceptable to us. Neither is bringing up all of the worldly examples in today’s society, in hopes of trying to get a point across about following Christ. My children do not need to discuss Lady Gaga in church. Good grief.

We have always been a very close-knit family, even before we began homeschooling again. Eventually, after my husband and I were completely frustrated with the topics that our children were coming home with from their ‘church time’ on Sundays, we brought them into our church service instead. Which brings me around to another problem area in some churches; the discouragement from the staff on having your whole family in participation with the congregation. Surely I can understand some reluctance from church leaders if you have a baby who is always crying during a sermon, or your toddler is constantly out of sorts. In that case, it is necessary to reevaluate whether or not the nursery should be utilized for your infant, and more time working at home on obedience training for your little wiggle worm. Even if it is an infrequent concern, you should always leave as quietly as you can until such problems are resolved. But, as a rule, why should our own children be ushered out of the ‘big people church’ and miss out on worshiping together as a family?

Our sweet baby Coconut on his first park visit, soon after his arrival to our home.  His broken arm and very damaged face prevented us from attending church for many months.

Our sweet baby Coconut on his first park visit, soon after his arrival to our home. His broken arm and very damaged face prevented us from attending church for many months.

Last year, however, our children were teens, so having them in the main church area was not the issue, nor was it really an issue at all. The kids were loving our Pastor’s services almost as much as Dave and I did. It was little Coconut’s arrival that finally put the last nail in the coffin of our family attending this particular church. That sweet child was so severely abused, that we could not take him anywhere for the first few months that he was in our care. I made the mistake of taking him to the park one day, because he loved being outside so much. At only two-and-a-half, he was such a ball of energy, and I knew he would enjoy the swings and slides. Let me just say, people DO NOT understand when a child looks like Coconut did. Forget polite stares, or even hostile stares……..people went into attack mode when they saw this boy’s face. I had my two teens with me, and they could not believe the boldness of strangers who marched right up to me and asked me what happened to my child. Sadly, the terrible bruising on his face was just a fraction of the horror; he had so many bite marks, pinch marks and bruises all over his body that he looked like a Dalmatian. On top of his physical appearance, the moment I took him into my arms, he did not want to come back out of them for six months. If a stranger so much as looked him in the eye, he went into hysterics. Taking him to church was not an option.

Our departure from church was directly related to having our first foster child, but at the time we figured it was just temporary. However, our new-found status as church orphans, came soon after. I emailed our pastor to explain our absense, and to ask him if he would pray for my new son, and the rest of us, as we learned to deal with this tragic situation. We were not emotionally equipped to deal with all of the problems and issues that Coconut had, but through much prayer and God’s grace, we labored on. In the preacher’s defense, he did email back with his promised prayers……but, we never heard another word from him, or any other person at that church. We were dismissed from memory the moment that we stopped showing up.

It was not a huge surprise, as there were no Sunday School classes for adults, no bereavement committees, no food ministries, etc. They had ministries, but it was for things like missions to Nicaragua which cost way more than we could ever afford, and a homework and child mentoring house in an impoverished neighborhood. Nothing that would help to create lasting friendships and bonds with other church members. Nothing that would bring us all together as a ‘Church Family’.

We ventured to a few other churches once Coconut was healed physically and on his way to being healed emotionally, but by this time I had done so much research on living for Christ, that I had very specific needs and desires for our new church home. No longer could I tolerate a youth group that was all about socialization and where grown adults who knew better, tried to ‘relate’ to teens in hopes of winning them over. We were just starting to teach our children about courtship and dating with a purpose, and we needed to find others who believed in the same things. We are still searching to this day.

I am not sure if this type of structure exists, perhaps I will just have to wait for Heaven to experience such a place as this, but here are my ideas of a great church for my family:

God meant for us to wait until we say I do......

God meant for us to wait until we say I do……

The members are willing to do all that they can to protect the purity of their teenagers. Setting up outings and events so that teens of this mindset can gather without too much temptation (because as a realist, I know it will always be there). My teens love interacting with their own age group, and want to know that they are not the only ones who are being taught this. Because they did not receive instruction about courtship right from the start, all of these practices are new to them. Abstaining from sex was the name of the game before, and now they realize that even kissing can cause serious attachments, which can lead to heartbreak. My husband and I both carried a lot of baggage into our relationship, and we want our children to know the dangers of casual dating.

I love all of the old hymns!

I love all of the old hymns!

Things are simple and old-fashioned. My family always jokes on me for this, “You are not living in the days of Little House on the Prairie”! I know that, I do, but I yearn for the more basic needs of a church. Things like reading straight from the Bible, singing hymns that do not require an electric guitar or keyboard, and a service that your whole family stands together as one. It’s not that I want to live way back in those times, because I don’t……..I like having medicines and I cannot live without Diet Pepsi. There was just such camaraderie among fellow believers and a togetherness that made you know in your heart that you belonged. Of course, my husband and I do not always agree on the music. He likes the loud and modern, and I could sing out of the old Baptist Hymnal all day!

When your sick, I will bring you soup. When we moved into our house, not one neighbor brought us muffins, and most did not even acknowledge our existence. Now that the world is so huge, we cannot possibly meet everyone in our immediate surroundings. However, that should be the beauty of your home church. God says in James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Taking care of each other is how we show love. If I know that one of my family members is ill, I will have a casserole or soup ready to be delivered. Such trifles are worth their weight in gold to a mother who doesn’t feel well, yet has many mouths to feed.

Pray for the dying, rejoice for the one's who pass on, and comfort those left behind.

Pray for the dying, rejoice for the one’s who pass on, and comfort those left behind.

When you cry, I will cry also. A lot of churches have bereavement committees. I want to be on one. The need for people to rally around a family when they have lost a loved one is huge. No person who is grieving should have to think about making casseroles and ham sandwiches to feed an army of mourners. I also want a church that will pray for me when I have a small inconvenience like a child who needs their tonsils removed, to a major heartache like a beloved foster child who must return to a not-so-great-home. Investment is all it takes. I will invest in you, and you do likewise.

Acts 2:44-47  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.   And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 2:44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

We will break bread together and have fellowship. As Christians, it can be hard to stay on the path of righteousness. We are all sinners, and no person is better than another, but yet, we still try as hard as we can to honor and obey God and His Word. Having friends and family who live out that walk for Christ every day with you is most fulfilling. If we stumble, they can help to pick us back up and if need be, point us back in the right direction. Fellowship of other believers in our Heavenly Father is the sweetest on earth.

I pray very often that God will reveal the church that He has for my family. Perhaps I am naive in my wish, but I must keep the faith that there is a church out there that will fulfill our needs. He called us to live this life, and I know He will always provide for those who believe in Him.

I would love to hear from others who have these same wants and needs from their church. Have you found your church home? Did you have to start your own, or conduct a home church like the Duggar’s have?

Thanks for reading and God Bless!

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14 responses to “Churches That Promote Family Worship, Courting and Dating With a Purpose……..Are They Out There?

  1. Hi – I came across your blog when I was looking for information about Josh Duggar’s new job. That aside, I really like your topics – particularly this article and another on foster care. I very much share your sentiments about simplicity in worship and finding “a church” where those old-fashioned values are important. I currently do not have a church home, though I attend a Baptist congregation semi-regularly. However – it’s sad – I don’t think I could tell you the first and last names of more than three people there, even after attending for more than a year; sadly, I don’t think they know my name, either. I’m not complaining now because I’ve learned to expect this, but I know I’m definitely not living the Christian life in community, as God has called me. I’ve experienced real Christian community during college and as a camp counselor at a Christian summer camp, but for some reason, the “churches” full of “adults” have not gotten the point yet: Christ has called us to relationship, not to a building.
    I’ve recently begun exploring the idea of starting a Campus Crusade for Christ ministry at my local community college, which is two blocks from my house. I’m also a single foster parent with a full-time teaching job, so I’m not sure when I would have time to lead. However, the need to build and be apart of a community of believers who really want to live out the Great Commission, pray for and take care of each other, and work to building the Kingdom of Christ, is such a strong desire that I’m willing to stretch and at least try.
    CRU is flexible enough to minister to college students and community members. Maybe starting a small Bible study with other foster moms, neighbors, or parents on your kids’ sports teams would also be a first step.

  2. Wow, that was a great reply…..I am definitely going to be praying for you. Perhaps God is leading you to start your own, and if that is the case, I will pray extra hard, for it will surely be a struggle…..but a good one! I so long for our church home, so please pray for me also…..God Bless.

  3. Pingback: » <b>Churches</b> That Promote Family <b>Worship</b>, Courting and Dating With a <b>…</b>·

  4. hi this article sure sounded like our lives for awhile! Our family was without a church for awhile too. We tried many… there is just so many beliefs and doctrines that were always different with every church. we finally came across the protestant reformed churches. im pretty sure there are none in your area but american and christian reformed also a good choice. we are happy with the message they give… and what Christine said… the `old fashioned`values really made us want to stay members of that church.

    you do a great job on this blog! i really enjoy all the posts. keep it up!

  5. What you’re looking for sounds like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Family is everything to them. Their church services are 3 hours long, with the most important Sacrament worship service for the entire family (crying babies and all), and then an hour of Sunday School instruction separated by age (this rotates from year to year from the standard works), and then an hour dedicated to just young men, young women, men, and women. During the week, there are also youth activities, and every so often church-sponsored dances as well. The women’s organization (Relief Society) is one of the oldest and largest women’s groups in the world, and no matter where you live, they provide every kind of service imaginable. Their motto is “Charity Never Faileth”. You will never move into a new congregation without being visited at least once by the pastor (he’s called a bishop), and from what I’ve heard, receiving a welcome meal is pretty much a given!

  6. I am reading your blog for the first time. I feel for you about trying to find a church. My family has experienced many of the struggles you mention. You and I sound a lot alike. You might try doing a web search on home churches. Also, many Grace or reformed baptist churches are conservative. My family is blessed to have found a church like the one God is calling your family to. God Bless! Hope this helps.

  7. Oh yes! One more thing! Because a wonderful work of God, my girls and I have attended the Duggar church and we have been to their home. We have also become friends with Michelle Duggars good friend Debbie Query. I would love talk to you about this. Let me know if you want to talk. I will email you my cell number. I am also on Facebook. Your sister in Christ – Amanda

  8. Pingback: Welcome Home!!!!……..We Have FINALLY Found A Church Home | Raising Servants of Christ·

  9. I think that you would find a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses warm and welcoming for you and your family. We believe similarly about purity and dating. We all attend at the same time and we are not seperated ever. If there is a little one that cries we all try to pitch in to help. If you are interested and our have any questions feel free to email me. But make sure if negative comments are made after mine that you judge for yourself and not take those words to heart. I hope you find what you and your family are looking for! Have a great day!

  10. Hello, I realize this post is a couple of years old. I stumbled across this post when I was searching for a support group or any kind of group that promotes courting. I, like you did, attend a great Bible believing, Bible teaching, AWESOME church. I love my pastor and LOVE hearing him teach every week. But I long for the simpleness of church that I grew up in. I want to teach my son to court instead of making mistakes in dating like my husband and I did. I want a church that has fellowship together instead of an Easter egg hunt that has literally thousands of people. I have attended this church for 3 years, and although we know our pastor and a few elders, we don’t know anyone else or have any friends!!

    So… did you find the church that you desired??

    • Hi Jordan, sorry for the long delay in replying!

      Yes, we did find the church…..and they are wonderful! However, we moved, so we are on the hunt again!

      I think finding a church helps a family figure out who they really are, what exactly they stand for, and reveals truths about the structure of that family…..more than any other exercise can.

      Be steadfast, listen for God’s whisper, and let the journey strengthen your family.

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