Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Strikeout

Today we made our first attempt to find a church. There are 20 United Methodist churches to choose from in our zip code alone, so we figure we have a good chance at finding one that we like. We haven't church-shopped in a long time, so we were a little wary of the experience this morning.

We chose today's selection because of proximity to our home and worship time. There's a church that's closer, but the worship service is at 10:00 a.m., right in the middle of naptime. We were still a little late to this service, but such is life with an infant.

Although I had a good feeling about this church from the website, we probably won't be going back.

There were some good points. The people were quite friendly, though it probably helps that we were carting around the world's cutest kid. The nursery was passable. We noticed when we picked Joshua up after the service that he had been crying, but it was too crazy to get the story from the attendant (we're guessing he was just tired and fussy). It is a multigenerational church that appears to make a concerted effort to be relevant to the community.

But the pastor. Yikes. He is not the one advertised on their website, so I'm assuming he was just appointed at the beginning of July, although he looks to be at or past the age of retirement, meaning that he may just be there temporarily His sermon was weak, to put it mildly, with either no point or too many, I still can't decide. But the worst was that after the service, as he stood at the door to greet people, he didn't even make eye contact with either Jay or me. He was talking to someone behind us, shook my hand as I stuck it out, and didn't look at me or say a word to me. How welcoming!

We have two more that we're seriously considering, so hopefully next week will be better.


Jennifer said...

How sad! You are very gracious to imply that maybe the church and the pastor was just having an "off" day, being one yourself and all... but how many people who aren't even believers, or new believers, have walked into that church and had the same experience? With no frame of reference for giving the benefit of the doubt? Sad.

gavin richardson said...

what no starbucks? definitely don't go back

The Thief said...

I had a similar experience the first Sunday after we moved to Kentucky. We were invited by a couple (who taught a young-married's Sunday School class) and that class was wonderful. But the church service was horrible and the sermon... ouch. I wanted to say something, but theonly person near enough to talk to was an older woman next to us on the pew -- and she turned out to be the pastor's wife.

Mary Beth said...

Gavin, I'm not a King of the Hill watcher, but that's quite funny. Are there any UMC's with Starbucks? If so, I may have to go denomination-shopping.

Brian, Jay and I were particularly well-behaved. We didn't start trashing the service until we were halfway home.

Jennifer, Yeah, I tend to think that pastors are a little more understanding toward other pastors, but I wonder how many other newbies have felt totally shunned by this guy.

Hammertime said...

Mary Beth,
Like you, I assume, when we move we look at churches with an eye toward service, since we know that God will have us serve in some fashion! We also ran into a similar situation at the last place we lived - a nice church, but no one there took the time to greet us! The pastor did, as he stood at the door, but that was it.

When a church is not even welcoming toward visitors, the problems there are serious! May you be blessed in your continuing search.

Jenny said...

I would offer for you the churches in our previous town (which is why we ended up in a Lutheran church in our current town):
#1: The vampire church. as in "AHHHH, fresh blood!" We wished to watch quietly from the sidelines for the first service, until a sweet older lady in the front row said, "There's a young couple here I haven't seen before..."
#2: The "woman must be silent church". "Ours is a church with no problems," the pastor proudly proclaimed (to Tim) when he and the associate came to call. I for one do not trust a church with "no problems..." When asked about the possibilities of small group Bible studies (something Tim and I both believe in), we were told that this pastor has "no problem with men getting together to study the Bible" (emphasis his, not mine.)
#3: The church where a sermon was preached on kindness. Yes, on how we should be kind to others. Um, duhhhhhhh.....

angela said...

Oh no! Well the good thing is there are 19 other UMCs in your zip code, so hopefully you can find a good fit. :) I would not be thrilled about the way he looked over you when shaking your hand. Gosh my two father pastor's ever were both at Dalewood UMC in Nashville and they made me *want* to be at church, even as a child. I loved their sermons and they were always so meaningful. I cried when they left and went on to other churches. Dr. Hill is now at Franklin UMC and I'm not sure where Brother Panter is now, I think he is retired.

Good luck MB, I know you'll find a good one!

The Thief said...

For some reason I am unable to comment in the correct section (in the developmental question post), so unfortunately my comment goes here.

Some 2 year old children share. I get to watch Jonathan and Mark share very nicely. They don't always want to share, and sometimes certain choice toys are hoarded, but that's when parents intervene.

It sounds like "Aaron" has an enabling mother; I wouldn't be setting up play dates with them anytime soon.

Jenny said...

Ha ha ha; I was writing a reply to the developmental question the same time as my brother "the thief"... Teeeeeee heeeee heeee....
I am emailing it for you to get because I got very rambly. It's a side effect of the former (preschool teaching) career.
But suffice it to say, YES, a three-year-old SHOULD share. NO, they don't by habit.

Anonymous said...

That's funny. I HATE chuch shopping. I just finished my search, it took me about 3 months, but I found a chuch I love with great kids programs. I would imagine it it hard for a pastor to find a church that fits them. -Darby