This is the recounting of my 18 year journey toward the PCA. Part 1 is here.
Being on staff with The Navigators was a good fit for us during the years we were with them. Most of those years were spent helping run their youth camp, Eagle Lake. Most of our closest friends then all met each other at camp during that time, and we all got married within three years or less of each other, beginning our families together as well.
The Navigators filled the community void we missed with the church. I’m not saying this was a good or right thing, and this particular recounting of my spiritual history is not about pros and cons of the parachurch/church. It’s just that I can’t tell my church story without inserting some of my Navigator background into the mix.
Being at Eagle Lake took us out of normal society for a good 3-4 months every year. In addition to his program director responsibilities, Craig
organized the chapel services at camp, scheduling various speakers (mostly older Nav guys), and leading the worship every week. It was what we knew and what seemed to work at that time, but it also made it hard to plug into a church intentionally during the rest of the year.
When we left the aforementioned Calvary Chapel church with our 2-week-old baby, we didn’t know where to go. We lived smack dab in the middle of Colorado Springs, so location wasn’t a big issue, as we could get pretty much get anywhere within 10-15 minutes. There was a Southern Baptist church within walking distance of our rented basement apartment, so we tried going there.
This lasted about five weeks, but boy, that pastor put the “Southern” in Southern Baptist. A couple weeks after we started going, two couples from the “couples class” visited us and tried to entice us into becoming members by telling us about their monthly game night. Little did they know that Craig has an allergic reaction to group games, so when they left I knew they had inadvertently sealed the deal on our decision not to go back.
We putzed around with various other churches as groggy first-time parents with a newborn during those winter months. Then May came and we moved back up to Eagle Lake. By the end of that summer, we started to remember that we weren’t really going anywhere for church and maybe we should begin thinking about it again. As we both liked John MacArthur, I sent an email to Grace Community Church
in California to ask if they knew of any like-minded churches in Colorado Springs. Indeed, they had a recommendation. We went the first Sunday we were back.
Craig, being the more discerning of the two of us, has always been slower to warm up to the various churches we’ve attended. I, the change-monger of the two of us, warm up quickly to just about anywhere, and then crash hard later. We joined this church and did our very best to get involved: we joined the couples Sunday School class and had people over for dinner. I attended the Tuesday morning ladies bible study. Daughter number two was born while we attended this church, and we had both girls dedicated there. I thought this would be our church forever.
About eighteen months after we started going, an issue came up between the two pastors that caused a church split. (The issue isn’t important to the telling of this story, so I’ll leave it out of the equation; suffice it to say, we did not leave that church over that issue or over the split). As the elected elders were completely ineffective (by their own admission), Craig met with both pastors on more than one occasion to try to help mediate the conflict. All this hit the fan and nothing was resolved when May rolled around, so we (gratefully) packed up for the summer and moved to camp. When it was August again, we moved back down the mountain and on to another church…or another church hunt.