Let me explain… David and I both went to a big church with a big, thriving high school youth program. David had the privilege of going to the same church from the time he was a small boy – and growing up in this wonderful environment. I was blessed (although at the time it seemed like the very end of my life) to be there my last 3 years of high school. The effect that those years had on both David and I are long lasting… life changing really. The influence that the leaders (some of whom are still good friends) had on our lives is playing a part now in our decision to go back to a big church. Simply put, we want the very same thing for our kids!
Leaving First Wesleyan back in 2000 was a really hard decision… and harder on David since he’d been there his WHOLE LIFE, but it was really a good choice. Shortly after we left we started attending a plant church in Greensboro – also a Wesleyan church and here we felt at home. Here we made friends – good friends, lifelong friends. It was just where God wanted us to be, just what He wanted us to be a part of. It was a time of growth and a time of drawing David and I together and to the Lord… ahhhh, just what we needed at the time.
Then we grew – I mean we “grew” some children and our family now had kids! As time went on, and David and I talked often about what was most important to us and to our family as our kids great. We decided that due to the influence of those in our middle and high school years, we wanted the same for our most precious children as well.
For us, that meant leaving our beloved church – we’d been there 9 years. Oh what to do, what to do!?!?!? Our friends, our praise band (which is one of the best I’ve even heard! Seriously – they are awesome!) Our ministries there at the church – what would we do without all of those things!?!? So we prayed, and prayed HARD and LONG (like for a couple of years!) about what to do. Then we felt “released”, like it was not only OK to go, but it was time to go, like it was the best thing for our family. So we left. HARD – really, really, really hard… but off we went in search of a new church home.
I believe we’ve found it, and I’m not sure I can put into words just how that has made me feel. The anxiety of leaving, the fear of changing, the worry of leaving friends and all that was comfortable and familiar – it was so hard to think about all that, and then to actually decide that. But do you know how it is to think, and think and think about something… to pray about it for what seems like forever… it gets hard. It takes a lot out of you emotionally, I had all that! But now, going to Westover, it’s been almost like coming home. The Lord took care of all the worry and fear (just like He promises to). How can you come home to a church of over 2,000 you ask? Well, like I said, it’s our parents fault. First was huge. Big was something we were comfortable with even though we had gone small for so many years. Big was familiar, big was a church that actually came to seem small because we came to find that we already knew LOTS of people. David’s got clients that go there, I have “old” (not a reflection on my age) students and their families that go there, we have friends that go there, we have friends from our old church that go there and they have friends that go there… instant networking! Just what you need in a big church!
It’s been really cool. The kids program has been awesome, although Luke has had a bit of trouble adjusting. The sermons have been right to my heart, again, just what I need! And the ministry opportunities (which are many and varied) that have been presented are just the things that David and I have had a heart for.
A few things I’ve learned in the process of a church move:
The choices my parents made (and that I in turn am making for me and myself and our kids) have LONG reaching effects! Thanks to the Miller’s and the Winslow’s for having us in such a good church!
Changing churches doesn’t mean you have to change friends!
God is at work EVERYWHERE, not just at “my church”, or at one church!
My heart, mind and soul are being fed and called all at the same time.
My kid’s future is important, and I think where we go take them to church is very important!
I’m so blessed by our decision.
God is so cool! (I knew that one before, but it was just a reminder!)
So do you see how this is our parents fault! They took us to a big church, they made us comfortable with it, they showed us how to belong in a big church… so we just have to follow their example and do the same for our kids!
Thanks to both our parents for the heritage you’ve passed on to our children! We are endeavoring to keep that going, with the Lord’s help and guidance!