Keeping all age groups at any church engaged is never easy. Please take some time to read this from our special guest blogger, Megan Reddix.
For about 6 years I attended church with my husband, Zach’s family at Temple Baptist (now The Church at Newtown Road). We loved our church and participating in worship teams, youth groups, missions, and connecting with the congregation. Our church family continually supported Zach and I; visiting me during my two-week stay in the hospital and cheering Zach on during his baseball games. We celebrated our birthdays, graduations, and engagement with our church family.
Before Zach and I got married we were given the opportunity to move to Connecticut, so two weeks after becoming Mr. and Mrs., we made the move. We were excited to be living on our own, but almost weekly, we drove back to New York to visit our family and attend church. It wasn’t until Zach’s parents announced that they were moving back to Texas that we started thinking about attending church in Connecticut.
Finding a church was not as easy as I had anticipated. We wanted to find a church that not only served our spiritual needs, but our social needs as well. Like Pastor Andy mentioned during the first message in the “Doors” series, we needed to surround ourselves with people that have a similar, positive outreach in life. As twenty-something-year-olds, finding other couples with similar interests and a shared faith can be quite a challenge! After several months, we found ourselves at Fellowship. So how did we get to Fellowship? Luckily for you, I put together some guidelines!
1. Research, research, research!
Before we walked into any church, we did some research. We narrowed our search by distance and denomination; eventually expanding from a 10 to 30-minute drive and from Baptist to Non-Denomination. On each website, we read the missions and biographies of the church staff, we searched for opportunities to serve, and we scanned through photo galleries and podcasts of the latest messages. Of course, the mission of each church was our priority. How is the church led, how do they serve their community, and most importantly, what do they believe in?
2. make lots of visits
Don’t be afraid to stop into a bunch of churches! Sometimes you just know, this is not the church for us. Zach and I visited a handful of churches that just didn’t feel right. That’s not to say those were bad churches. They just weren’t for us. We also found a church that we visited for a couple of months before moving on. Visiting churches was a VITAL part in figuring out what did and didn’t work for us.
3. There is no Need to Rush
Take your time! Even when we started visiting Fellowship, we waited a few months before becoming members. Although we felt right at home the first time we visited, we wanted to make sure this really was the place for us. We brought family and friends to visit and we took our time getting to know the congregation.
4. Attend ‘Starting Point’ style meetings
Meetings, like Fellowship’s ‘Starting Point,’ allow visitors to really understand how the church is led. Zach and I attended similar meetings at two churches that were one-on-one with the pastors. During these meetings, we learned what was important to the church, to the pastor as an individual, and what was expected of us if we chose to become members. To be honest, this is one of the reasons we decided to move our search away from those churches. The one-on-ones felt very intrusive, especially for a young-adult looking to strengthen his/her personal faith. Many churches offer group info sessions that anyone is welcome to. Group meetings put no pressure on becoming members, really giving you the opportunity find your own place.
So, what was it about Fellowship that sealed the deal for us? Again, I’m glad you asked!
No Pressure Atmosphere
Zach and I never felt bombarded or overwhelmed as visitors. People were there to greet us and to help us get to know Fellowship, but we never felt singled out.
We wanted to be a part of a congregation that had couples around the same age as us, but it also became important to find a congregation that had a wide range of ages, from new babies to great-grandparents. This shows the vitality of the church and shows the versatility of the messages (that they can apply to all stages of life). Lastly, we found that pastors with younger children resonated better with us. The language of younger (but experienced in life) pastors and the style of their messages is far more relatable. Pastor Andy’s messages are clear, packed with supported material that we can apply to our daily lives, organized, and are often very funny!
No Judgement Zone
Zach and I are young. We were engaged in our later teens and married in our early twenties. We’ve faced a lot of judgement during our 8-year relationship, so it’s been nice to be seen as a Christian couple experiencing life together rather than how young we are. From our personal interests to our journey and growth in our faith, we have felt completely comfortable and accepted in our new church family!
Well there you have it! Of course finding a church is about strengthening our walk with Christ, but finding Fellowship was a blessing beyond words. We are so thankful to be a part of this family!