This is the recounting of my 18-year journey to the PCA. Here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
So, after all the sagas of the past few years, why the PCA? It’s a question I still ask, probably because I used to be in the “reformed baptist” camp. There was a period when we considered going outside of the PCA, even here in St. Louis, but the denomination seems where we’ve been led and where we belong. For us, the reformed systematic best makes sense of the Scriptures, and its focus on the melding of the indicatives and the imperatives of the faith are what my recovering legalist heart needs on a weekly basis.
Before our family moved to Maplewood last July, the girls and I had gotten to know several families in our new neighborhood through various homeschooling events. A majority of these families went to a neighborhood PCA church right up the street from where we are now living (we had visited this church during our first almost-leaving experience 2.5 years ago and I was ready then to switch, but, as I said, we didn’t feel the freedom from the Lord to do that then). As this year has passed, our family has gotten to know these families even more, and whereas the girls knew many people at Church D, they had real friends in place at Church E. Thankfully, so did I.
Here’s the thing about me and friendships: they are hard to come by. I’m not the type who needs lots and lots of friends, but to even have one with the potential of becoming close is very important. I certainly had a friend like that at Church D (and am still good friends and plan to continue to be so), but being at the tail end of our time of serious life transition meant that I needed friends who were planted (or planting) here, with no immediate moves on their horizon.
I also desperately needed someone who would be in the homeschooling trenches with me. In light of this need, Church E seemed like a good fit because of the aforementioned already-established friendships. Two of them are part of our weekly Classical Conversations group with us; the others we see fairly frequently at various social gatherings we sometimes attend. In leaving Church D, it seemed obvious (for community reasons, at least) that Church E should be the first place we’d visit.
Church E is where we’ve been now for three months. The girls, who struggled with yet another transition in their young lives, were thrilled by the fact that the first Sunday we went to Church E, their two good friends from our Classical Conversations group were waiting for them at the front door. They took off with these gals and we didn’t hear another word about it (actually, we did hear about all the other kids they knew there and how excited they were to be in church with them).
Going to Church E isn’t this magical experience of “Ooooo, it’s the perfect place for us. Don’t we just fit right in here?” Not at all. As we’ve learned far too well firsthand, there is no such thing as a perfect church. The thing that is different here is that my kids’ level of comfort and familiarity is not directly tied to my own; in this regard, they are helping me, and I can feel the healing that comes because of that.
This period of anonymity is nice, too. Besides those we knew before arriving at Church E, few really know us or about us. Nobody is asking Craig to teach anything because of his Nav background or his book; nobody is offering me a contract with a blood-filled pen to step into teaching a children’s class. So far, we’re being allowed to be…and that’s been nice and needed.
While we don’t want to stay in the realm of simply being, that’s where we find ourselves right now, and this is what we need to heal from the past in order to ready ourselves for the future – a future we hope will be one of true community with those in this church. We hope this will be the church our kids will come home to during college…maybe later get married in…maybe one day call home.
11 thoughts on “Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple…(pt. 6)”
I don’t know what led you do this series of posts, but I have been fascinated with this story. I’ve read the whole series with two hats – as a friend and as a pastor’s wife. As a friend I think that even when we recognize that we are all wounded people, it hurts to hear of others being hurt.
As a pastor’s wife, we have never bought into the seeker sensitive church, but your story does make me think about whether our church is a place where someone can join the family and grow together.
I’m not really sure what prompted it either other than an insufferable lack of anything else to talk about lately besides our ceiling… Actually, I think I do know what spurred it on and I’ll probably get to that in my wrap-up. Whenever I have time to do that. Maybe tomorrow?
I’ve enjoyed this series too. We’re not much of church hoppers but have been through quite a few churches since coming to seminary. 🙂
I too enjoy the feeling of no pressing commitments – no one’s asking you to teach or . . .. It’s so easy to get burned out.
I’ve also enjoyed this series b/c I wonder if we’d feel more at home somewhere besides a S. Baptist church, we’ve talked about reformed baptist and PCA. What did you decide regarding infant baptism??
I have a whole bunch of posts embedded here in which I wrestled through this. Their format didn’t transfer well when I switched to TypePad (and I lost all the comments a long time ago during the Blog Crash of ’07) – so I’ll choose the most helpful and edit them back into readability and link ’em up later today.
I also have been enjoying this – I have never been a big church shopper in that I went to one church from kindergarten until I went to college, then one church during college, then one church during medical school. But I certainly identify with your switch to the PCA – I grew up Wesleyan, but have really come to love the PCA. But we will probably move soon, and Jeff may be looking for a job as a pastor, or he may enter graduate school to get a PhD, in which case we’d have a little more shopping to do. So it’s good to get some perspective about choosing a church. Here in Greenwood, there was only 1 PCA church, so that is where we went until Jeff got his preaching gig.
I also really love your commitment to be members and committed to one church. I also think that for numerous reasons, this is really important, even though it is not always easy, as you share here. Perhaps your journey will encourage others to be involved and committed to one church, even when that is a challenging prospect.
Megan–I am a friend of Rebecca Tredway’s, and found this thread through Haley’s blog. Thanks for sharing your journey. I think it is so helpful for people to read others’ experiences in trying to find a church home that is the right place for them, without being consumeristic (is that a word?) about it.
We were in St. Louis for four years while my husband did his residency. We, too, were amazed at the number of PCA churches down there, coming from Nebraska, where there were only 3 at the time…..in the entire state. 🙂
I am trying not to identify Churches A-E, knowing some of the St. Louis churches. 🙂
Oh no! Where’s the summary?? You totally have me hanging, I am really grateful for your sharing this story but I want to hear the summary! 🙂
I am really interested in reading this whole series, but none of the links for parts 1-5 are working…Wondering if there’s anything you can do to fix it?
I have had a similar journey. There are so many “systems” that man (led by Satan) raised up. This does not necessary judge these men to hell. Yet, the error against the Grace of God and His tremendous work of dying for all the sins of all men (yep, there go Calvinism, there is no evidence of limited atonment in the Bible, see 1 John chap 2:1-3 case closed.)I can’t listen to McArthur anymore because of his mechanical rendition of Calvinism….Calvary Chapel, chuck smith, no conversion testimony ever declared, he just morphed into the faith of his parents, 4 square, Aimee S. Mcpherson, warning signs there… and then Chuck just denied the fullness of God’s given Grace to true believers who admit they are wretches, and call upon Jesus, dying of self in to His Death, burial and Resurrection for them! I sense from what Chuck stated about some could walk away from their Salvation, BE HE knew He was going to stay saved by “his abiding power” that he might not be saved…
and then the unbiblical tongues stuff, and the second blessing deception and on and on. I do better just letting the Holy Spirit teach me that 99.99 percent of these system teachers who prey (not pray) upon the sheep, fleecing them with tithing burdens that have NO Application to New Covenant, age of Grace believers. I do wonder how many of these guys and women and lying Word of Faith-ers are saved…. Well that’s in God’s Judgment. But I warn people, that if they are not saved and you are “following their distinctives” , then you will go the same place they are going. Get saved and let the Holy Spirit teach you, as the N.C. from Jer. 31:31 and then written by HS in Hebrews chap 8 and 10, says that they all will know The Lord from the least to the greatest!! We need simply teachers to point us to be taught by the HS. not these super gurus, who I perceive are just hirelings, living for money, and trip to Israel, etc. etc.
Thanks for sharing your journey. I grew up in Tennessee and have spent all my 30 years as an adult in NYC as a pastor and church planter. I’m now the Campus Pastor at Brooklyn Teen Challenge. I wish it wasn’t so hard for dedicated believers to find church homes where they can settle down for awhile!