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IMHO church is important because we're called to meet with others.

 

That said, I like ours well enough, but the one we went to where we used to live was a better overall fit. Recently I went back there for a friend's funeral, and I felt much more at home. I don't know where else I'd go in our area.

 

Sometimes you have to deal with "close enough" and then emphasize discipleship in your own way. That's what we do. We go Sundays, but that's it.

Edited by G5052
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We haven't been for around ten years. As we can't stand the politics and control that go with it.

 

To be honest I have grown heaps more by not relying on a Pastor to feed me. We have devotions, prayers and bible reading most days. I also talk about God throughout the day when it's appropriate.

 

I do have a few strong Christian friends, who also don't attend, and we keep each other accountable and pray for one another.

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I would never stop attending church. I would probably just find a rather large one where it's easier to come in and be less noticed. 

 

It seems every family I've known who stopped attending church ended up having family problems, getting caught up in some extreme doctrine, or having children who seem totally unable to make it in the real world. 

 

I know it's just examples, but it's been overwhelmingly my experience. 

 

 

Edited by mom31257
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Yes, we have struggled with this a great deal. For our part, it was my introverted personality, combined with the fact that we were unable to find a local church that had not made compromises on what we feel are major doctrinal issues. We were very happy at our previous church, until it started to skid doctrinally. After that, we bounced around for a long time. For me, it was hard to connect anywhere. We were part of a house church for awhile, but there was no pastor there. It was more or less a Bible study, and there were no other children besides ours.

 

We ended up back at our old church simply for that reason -- we felt the kids needed to have a church home and we were floundering. I am not sure whether that was a good move or not; I feel like I spent a lot of time undoing the poor theology they were learning (especially dd). We have always included Bible study and catechism as part of our homeschool routine. TBH, I think I teach them far more proper doctrine than they've ever learned in church.

 

Now we meet with like-minded believers every week online. We work hard to build community despite our physical distance, and the format is better suited to my personality than b&m churches often are. It takes an extremely long time for me to feel comfortable around a group of people I don't know. I mourn the fact that my kids don't have a peer group at church (especially since they also miss out on having one at school), but after things changed at our church, we were black sheep anyway. Our solution is not ideal, but I don't think it's been detrimental to our children's spiritual health. At least, I hope not. They are still very young.

 

All that said, I think that choosing not to be involved in any church based solely on your personality/comfort level engaging is perhaps not the best thing. It would be good to find a place where you can be involved to the degree that you are comfortable, even if that just means going to Sunday services and nothing else. Perhaps over time you will feel more comfortable branching out. As believers, I do think we need a community of faith. But, I do completely understand where you are coming from, and I know it's not easy. I wish you the best in finding a place that meets your needs.

 

(((hugs)))

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My husband and I haven't attended church in about eight years. We've talked about it and we both want very different things out of a church and he's totally convinced that what he wants doesn't exist. As an introvert, I have a hard time attending alone. My kids attend with my MIL. I drop them off, and she brings them home. I like the fact that church attendance has always been voluntary. My parents forced us to go to church every Sunday, every Wednesday, every week. It wasn't even up for discussion. She was shocked when my daughter wanted to be baptized. I wanted to point out that none of her kids attend church. Not one. Maybe forcing church attendance on your kids isn't the best idea?

 

ETA: I feel for the past several months a pulling toward finding a church again. I hate that I'll be going alone but at the same time, choosing a church has been a huge source of contention in my marriage so maybe I just need to get off my butt and find where I belong and invite my husband to visit if he so chooses.

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I will say that my relationship with God has never been better. In certain churches, the leadership and teachings have been so harmful to my faith. I want to go to church for the community but then I remember that I never had close friendships at church. That I could never be myself because I was feeling so much doubt and at church you have to pretend to be perfect. These are thoughts that hold me back from trying to find a church.

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This is us.  We have struggled to find the right church for years.   At this point, we like the pastor and enjoy hearing the message but we find  we'd all rather watch it on the internet on Sunday mornings as a family.   We don't really see an advantage of going since you just come and go, nobody talks to you, and the kids are at an age where they go in with the parents so there is no peer group for them unless they go a different day, in which we'd have to make them go.  It is impossible to feel connected unless you join a "small group" but neither DH nor I have any interest.  I was looking into another church recently, and I really like that they have a calendar with activities where you just show up for things like Women's Tea, Zumba, Women's Circle, etc.  That would suit us more than joining a group where there is a commitment to meet each week or every other week but--the big but--their traditional worship style is not our thing and I don't know about their religious doctrine. And getting the family on board would be a challenge. 

 

I didn't grow up going to church although I went from time to time with a cousin, and DH's family had a falling out with their church, plus we are introverted and we disagree with many things in different religions, and all of that has made it hard to find the right place.  At this point, I think we are tired of looking.  But our faith is important to us and we focus on that at home.  Also, I have a group of ladies that I have known for years and we do our own Bible study together.

 

The biggest thing I regret is my kids not having a peer group so I would encourage you to keep trying.  My kids are older so we're just going to keep on doing what we're doing, I guess.  My oldest son is interested in a Christian college so he has gotten something out of all of our skipping around.

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I would never stop attending church. I would probably just find a rather large one where it's easier to come in and be less noticed.

 

It seems every family I've known who stopped attending church ended up having family problems, getting caught up in some extreme doctrine, or having children who seem totally unable to make it in the real world.

 

I know it's just examples, but it's been overwhelmingly my experience.

I was going to respond to the thread but didn't get to it. This was basically what I was going to say. I have watched this scenario happen to a friend of mine. I have felt very convicted by seeing what she has gone through with her kids that it is important to be part of a local body.

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I was brought up this way. My parents never took me to church but if you were to ask my mom, she would say we are christian. 

 

For me it became difficult when I got to challenging problems in early adulthood because I didn't know where to turn because I didn't have that foundation of going to church. Several times I could have used the help that a church can provide, like working through problems, or even knowing where to go to get help. In my early 20's I sought out a church and found one. Sadly in 2011 my husband and I almost became unchurched when we had tried 3 churches in 2 denominations and couldn't find a good fit. My husband was wanting to call it quits but I refused knowing that being unchurched would be the worst for me as I knew I was going to have a VERY difficult pregnancy coming up. So reluctantly he went with me to one more church and we have been there ever since (it was a VERY good fit for us). 

 

I get that you are an introverted family. We have VERY few friends ourselves and no common friends at all (no families that we go to visit as a family). We are VERY happy just sitting at home as a family unit and doing things together. However I am so glad I am taking my children to church. Even if later they decide to become ____ I know that they have the foundation that I craved but never had growing up. If they have an problem that they can't (distance or whatever) or don't want to come to us (I really hope they don't but hey, I get that things come up) I want them to be able to go to another "home" and find the help they need. Church to me is that other home, complete with family, for them when they need them. 

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 I want to go to church for the community but then I remember that I never had close friendships at church. That I could never be myself because I was feeling so much doubt and at church you have to pretend to be perfect. 

 

This is my experience also.  I have been trying really hard to hang on, both for the fellowship and the spiritual support, but not being able to be myself and always feeling the need to watch what I say and to whom I say it is so draining. I have also watched it have a negative effect on my daughter.

 

Unfortunately, I have very closely held and not always mainstream beliefs so it would not be easy to just "find a new place".  And, I have seen too many families lose their spirituality all together when trying to go it alone.  It's a struggle right now and I'm not sure how it will end up.

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We home churched for awhile.  At the time I wanted more Bible instruction than game time and the larger churches were all about fun.  We did the small churches, but no kids.  We did the larger churches, but no Bible lessons.  We are in a medium church now.  I like it, but soon as we joined they wanted all of us signed up to serve.  I finally had to be firm about not teaching SS.  I don't like others kids enough to want to teach them LOL.  They don't want my help in my kids youth classes.  I ended up greeting with DH.  He however hasn't learned to say no...and somehow ended up an usher this year as well.  DD does the nursery and DS is now making lattes.  I couldn't skip a Sunday if I wanted.  And I kinda don't like it.  Yes, tons of social stuff going on.  Sometimes we are invited to the family get togethers, but I noticed less and less.  it's led to some awkward last second invites.  Which makes me want to leave...except then they would be out volunteers for all the stuff we are part of!?!??!?!!  

 

i hope you keep looking for a church.  We once were part of a denomination I hadn't considered before.  The people were amazing, and I just kept teaching our beliefs at home if I felt something needing clarifying.  It was good.  I hated we moved away.  

 

 

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I think as Americans we have a very democratic idea that Church should be a perfect fit, for the people, etc etc. It can be hard to find the perfect fit. But if Church is where you go to worship God in a communal environment a lot of the other stuff doesn't matter. No, I wouldn't go to a church preaching things I didn't believe, but beyond that, I'd go. I do go. I go to show God that I value him enough to set aside that time for him, that I can suck it up and sacrifice for him. 

 

I see no reason why one would have to pretend to be perfect to attend church...it's a hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints! I also don't consider it a social club for me to make friends. It's for me to worship God, and as I'm Catholic, to receive the Eucharist. Everything else is gravy. Yes, I prefer a choir that isn't off key, or a pretty environment, or a priest that is a gifted speaker or what not, but those are not why I go nor are they reasons not to go if they are lacking. 

 

I spent a LOT of time out of church because I couldn't find one my husband and I both wanted to go to. Turns out he just really didn't want to go. I finally realized that and started back at the Catholic church on my own. I'd much rather have him with me, but that's not a good enough excuse (took me a long time to realize this.) If anything, that voice in my head finding flaws with the homily and telling me I really should just spend time at home with my husband is NOT of God. It's coming from someone else entirely. 

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We stopped attending about 14 years ago.  We attended a home church for a few years after that, but it was too far away to really work long term.  We would like to find a church but the biggest difficulty is my youngest son and his severe food allergies.  We tried a few churches and thought we could just avoid food related activities, but it doesn't work.  Sadly pretty much every church we tried centered much of their stuff around food related gatherings, so we never got to know people.  We tried talking to people about making it a safer environment for our son, but none of the churches we approached were really open to that.  It makes me sad really.  It just became too much and too disheartening so we gave up.  We are now at a point that we would like to start looking again.  My DS is going to be doing a food challenge in a few weeks to see if he has outgrown his peanut allergy.  If he has it would make a world of difference for our family, although I am sure there would still be some lingering hurt on my part that it took DS outgrowing his food allergy for us to really be wanted in a church.  If he hasn't outgrown it then we are really kind of stuck and will likely continue as we have been.

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I struggle with some of the same sort of things. I often do not look forward to going to church. I am a pretty big introvert too, but honestly I think it's not just church. Everything in the general culture caters to, and rewards extroverts. 

 

Anyway, I go to church because I think it's a good and healthy thing to do as a bible believing Christian. Randy Alcorn (who I appreciate) has a couple of good pieces about this, including one about Christiandom's beloved C.S. Lewis, who was not fond of attending church! 

 

http://www.epm.org/blog/2015/Nov/2/reluctant-churchman-c-s-lewis

 

http://www.epm.org/blog/2012/Sep/19/why-we-need-church

 

http://www.epm.org/blog/2014/Feb/17/jesus-local-church

 

 

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You know, its really hard to find a church.  We moved for my husband's work a few months ago, and have visited only one church in almost 4 months.

 

Its a big area here but I'd like to find something local.  I don't want to miss what the Lord has for me, but as I research church websites, so many are either super conservative--dresses only types, or others have women pastors, or they are just vaguely shallow, or they will not accept my believers baptism which was in a church that doesn't immerse, or they love Mark Driscoll, and its just easier to stay at home and connect as a family.  And we've grown so close in the last couple of months, its unbelievable. 

 

The church we visited was very nice, but the music was so terrible, I cannot imagine going there.  Is that shallow and judgey?  

 

I'd just like a medium sized church within 15 miles of my house where my kids can make friends that are their ages, has that mix of Reformed/Evangelical/3rd wave teaching we love, is not legalistic in dress or music or having a beer once in a while, doesn't make us wear "church clothes" on Sunday, and has great sounding, deeply theological music that draws me into worship.   I'd love to find a forever friend for myself, but not holding out hope, since I am a committed homebody.) 

 

I found a church this week that sounded great, but they make a point on the website that they do covenant membership, which is a big ole red flag in my book.  (We were part of Sovereign Grace for 10 years, and we are very aware of spiritual and child abuse issues.)  I don't want to be love-bombed and signed up for every activity either.   Neither do I want to go door to door soul-winning, I just find it awkward and very fake.

 

I just hate the church visiting gig.  So much. 

 

 

 

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Sadly, many of my family has resorted to this for now.  I say sadly because we really do enjoy being part of a church community.  However, we all seem to live in an area where there isn't as much to choose from.  In the past we'd choose a church anyway and just make the best of it (when our kids were younger and all living at home).  However, as I get older, I realize how important it is for me to be part of a community of Christians that's open to evolving interpretations of Scripture and what it means to be a Christian.  I really want to be challenged.  We do go to a particular church often that's out of town, in a city where most of our relatives are and where our daughter attends college.  But that's 3 hours away from our home.  

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We never could find a solid church. I finally quit looking ... long, convoluted story. It bothered me at first, but I came to see that it was probably best for our particular family. One deciding factor was that I just got fed up with wasting every Monday morning UN-doing the incorrect teaching of shallow pastors, when we were supposed to be doing school. It was so frustrating that if *I* - no Bible expert by any stretch of the imagination - could see the blatant errors in the teaching we were receiving from these pastors .... I can only imagine just how bad it really was. But I digress ....

 

I added Bible to our list of hs'ing subjects. We studied it together, listening to sermons on tape, praying and singing together. Dc and I did all this while my dh was at work because he's not a Christian - a fact I discovered many years later when dc were older. It worked very well for us. All 5 dc are solid Christians. We also read Christian biographies aloud, studied hermeneutics books, and whatever else I could find to help us. Because we were using WTM, I let that be my guide and set up our Bible study time similar to that.

 

I think one of the biggest and most important things we did was discuss what we were learning and hearing in our sermons on tape. Not just in our meeting times, but ALL the time. We learned together how to apply what we were studying in our Bibles, making those connections across the curriculum in all areas of life and academic subjects. I have come to believe that whether one attends a church or not, that constant dialogue between parent and children does as much to teach the children as almost any of today's pastors can do. And so many people neglect that part of a child's development - their spiritual development - which I think is a huge mistake, because when (if?) those kids go off to college, you can bet they'll be bombarded by all kinds of people looking to 'recruit' for their particular religion/cult. My kids see it all the time at the large college they attend. I remember hearing that kids around the ages of 18-20yo are often 'searching' for some kind of spiritual foundation to believe in. And those 'recruiters' definitely seem to be aware of this, even if the parents aren't.

 

Anyway, dc are grown and in college now and doing really well. All 5 are very discerning, strong Christians. I have no regrets and dc tell me they don't either. It might have been nice for them to have grown up in a solid church. But we moved around a lot anyway, so that was never going to happen, even if we had been able to find one. I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to for our particular family.

Where do you get your sermons on tape?

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We stopped attending about 14 years ago.  We attended a home church for a few years after that, but it was too far away to really work long term.  We would like to find a church but the biggest difficulty is my youngest son and his severe food allergies.  We tried a few churches and thought we could just avoid food related activities, but it doesn't work.  Sadly pretty much every church we tried centered much of their stuff around food related gatherings, so we never got to know people.  We tried talking to people about making it a safer environment for our son, but none of the churches we approached were really open to that.  It makes me sad really.  It just became too much and too disheartening so we gave up.  We are now at a point that we would like to start looking again.  My DS is going to be doing a food challenge in a few weeks to see if he has outgrown his peanut allergy.  If he has it would make a world of difference for our family, although I am sure there would still be some lingering hurt on my part that it took DS outgrowing his food allergy for us to really be wanted in a church.  If he hasn't outgrown it then we are really kind of stuck and will likely continue as we have been.

 

This is terrible. I am so sorry your family was treated this way. :(

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Wanted to address the idea of not liking the music. I get it. I think it can be distracting and if you can find a church with better music, awesome. But I wouldn't stay home and not attend church at all just because I didn't care for the music. I think if we start down that path we are being led in the wrong direction. Jesus was beaten, shamed, and killed on a cross for us. The martyrs of the church died to worship our God.  If we start thinking listening to bad music is too big a sacrifice to bear in order to attend worship services we need to reassess. 

 

 

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Wanted to address the idea of not liking the music. I get it. I think it can be distracting and if you can find a church with better music, awesome. But I wouldn't stay home and not attend church at all just because I didn't care for the music. I think if we start down that path we are being led in the wrong direction. Jesus was beaten, shamed, and killed on a cross for us. The martyrs of the church died to worship our God.  If we start thinking listening to bad music is too big a sacrifice to bear in order to attend worship services we need to reassess. 

 

This is beautiful.  (So was your other post upthread.)

 

I think music is the biggest complaint I hear from people.  Sorry we don't have the exact music you want.  You like the preaching, the friendly people to talk to during coffee time, the Sunday School teachers, but aren't coming back because the music doesn't suit?   OK then.  Hope you find what you're looking for.

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Wanted to address the idea of not liking the music. I get it. I think it can be distracting and if you can find a church with better music, awesome. But I wouldn't stay home and not attend church at all just because I didn't care for the music. I think if we start down that path we are being led in the wrong direction. Jesus was beaten, shamed, and killed on a cross for us. The martyrs of the church died to worship our God.  If we start thinking listening to bad music is too big a sacrifice to bear in order to attend worship services we need to reassess. 

 

I have a hard time with music.  It isn't though a matter of musical taste, it's a matter of meaning.  Songs that have really far-out theology, or a worship service that is more like a rock concert, these are matters about what we think church is.

 

It is easy to make it about taste, and I agree that is dangerous.  I've attended churches where there was essentially no music because there was no one in the small rural parish who could play or sing strongly.  But I've left parishes where the musical choices seemed to indicate deeper issues.

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I think some denominations, and some congregations, are more extroverted in general, and others more introverted.

 

I'm an orthodox Anglican - typically we are an introverted lot. 

 

Baptists, on the other hand, seem to be more extroverted.

 

If you are finding the churches you are trying are strongly extroverted, maybe it would be worthwhile to try something that looks really different.

 

That being said - church takes some effort for us introverts.  But it can I think be especially worthwhile, as it provides a community you see regularly in a neutral setting, which is what most introverts need to get around to having a friendship.

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We have learned not to put all our eggs into one church basket. Though we have arrived at a place we love, we are also part of an unaffiliated group Bible study, and work at maintaining relationships with other believers through getting together socially and through electronic communications. We feel it's more well rounded than thinking all our expectations can be met by one source (well, aside from the one source of the Lord!).

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Our music is so beautiful that I have to really work on being able to sing without weeping. An elderly widow really helped me with this this.....when I told her some songs get me so emotional I can barely sing them she bellowed back to me, "not me! I am determine to just sing them out loud!"

 

:).....so as she is sometimes a very sad person since losing her husband five years ago.....I always think of her when I get weepy...and I just sing out!

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Oh, to be more to the point about the kids. Church can be great for discipleship, but I see that the responsibility of the parent. This is not to say the church shouldn't provide discipleship, it should and it should be more than entertainment. In our case, the teaching is doctrinally correct, but we supplement with more focused study.

 

Something we like about church for our kids is that it's a place for them to develop and enjoy a like-minded peer group.

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Wanted to address the idea of not liking the music. I get it. I think it can be distracting and if you can find a church with better music, awesome. But I wouldn't stay home and not attend church at all just because I didn't care for the music. I think if we start down that path we are being led in the wrong direction. Jesus was beaten, shamed, and killed on a cross for us. The martyrs of the church died to worship our God.  If we start thinking listening to bad music is too big a sacrifice to bear in order to attend worship services we need to reassess. 

 

I totally agree with this.  And I feel super shallow even going there. On one hand, my brain tells me suck it up--its not a salvation issue, and on the other hand something in me would die a little each Sunday if we made it our church home.  Everyone sat while the singer was doing her thing and no one opened their mouths but my tribe. And I use the word singer lightly..  Maybe everyone was just sitting there waiting for it to be finished, I don't know.  

 

I've been in many churches, from the Mennonite churches I grew up in with 4 part acapella harmony, to Sovereign Grace churches with meaty lyrics and good tunes suitable for congregational singing.   At the Calvary Chapel church we attended when we were first married, everyone participated, even if they could not carry a tune, and it was wonderful worship although not great musically. I have sweet memories of one of the elders worshiping with his eyes closed, hands raised, and just so off key.  

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I would never stop attending church. I would probably just find a rather large one where it's easier to come in and be less noticed. 

 

It seems every family I've known who stopped attending church ended up having family problems, getting caught up in some extreme doctrine, or having children who seem totally unable to make it in the real world. 

 

I know it's just examples, but it's been overwhelmingly my experience. 

Can you explain what you mean by 'family problems'. 

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I think we're getting off topic here; probably this is not what the OP was looking for.  But...

 

I have a hard time with music.  It isn't though a matter of musical taste, it's a matter of meaning.  Songs that have really far-out theology, or a worship service that is more like a rock concert, these are matters about what we think church is.

 

It is easy to make it about taste, and I agree that is dangerous.  I've attended churches where there was essentially no music because there was no one in the small rural parish who could play or sing strongly.  But I've left parishes where the musical choices seemed to indicate deeper issues.

 

But that's reflection of the church's theology, right?  If the songs have far-out theology, the preaching most likely will too, right?  The churches I've been in that feel more like a rock concert than a worship service had a very different vibe altogether than the types of churches I normally attend.  It's not just the music.  It's the emphasis on the worship leader rather than the preacher; the sermon that's almost an afterthought, the casual prayers. 

 

Sometimes in church we have songs that I just can't stand.  It's the tune, though, not the words.  If I read the words, they are good.  Sometimes it seems like Yoda wrote the song - the words are forced into such weird order, but they are theologically rich.  So, I just grin and bear and horrible tune and try to focus on the meanings of the words.  Then the next tune may be something beautiful like "Be Thou My Vision" and it's all OK again.

 

Apologies to OP if this is going in the wrong direction.   I hope you find what you are looking for. 
 

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We attended regularly until about four years ago. My youngest is ID and was bullied badly. I tried to get some changes, but nothing changed. Ds started locking himself in the can when we got to church. So we stopped. I started bringing him only to another church, but after a year and a half the politics really bothered me. It was a very hateful place. So I quit. Dh decide that church was needed. He takes youngest to another church and that is fine.

Older children haven't gone in 4 years. Oldest is 21. At college he has several friends who plan to attend seminary. He finds this ironic since he doesn't go to church. Dd is 18. I suspect she may begin attending again. She wanted to come when I changed churches, but I wanted to gauge what was going on with teens there before I brought her. In addition to the politics, the teen program seemed oppressive and seemed to supersede parents.so even though they were nice to my youngest I thought the environment would be bad for dd.

I just don't have the energy to be in a church environment and not feel negative now. Maybe I'll go back. Dh seems to like the one he takes youngest to.

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I consider myself to be a fairly conservative Christian and have become quite frustrated in finding the right church for my family. We are a family of introverts and it seems most churches these days are very much geared toward attracting extroverts. I find myself feeling very uncomfortable being pressured into joining groups, etc... I am perfectly happy just reading my Bible at home but feel my children need a church home. Has anyone else struggled with this?  Does anyone have worship at home with their families? If so, how do you do it? Does it seem to meet the needs of your children spiritually?

 

I've had this problem in the past (and a lot of others, lol!).  My last church did a lot of programs to draw in unchurched kids, but I don't like that model, and there were not as many actual mission efforts (feeding hungry people and clothing naked ones, for example).  And with everyone so busy and separated, it's hard to shepherd your children or build meaningful relationships, either one.  I'm currently in an Eastern Orthodox parish, but I had a time where I thought I was just done with church.  I also spent over a year researching and attending every flavor of Christian doctrine I could find.  I now have an interesting perspective on church; I expect less in some ways and more in others.  And there are pitfalls with this tradition, as there are everywhere.

 

I'm not recommending you walk that path, though.  That's just my short story.  I think you can have both--engaging in home worship and prayer and study as well as a place to go Sunday mornings.  What I love about the "higher" church places is that they all have a coffee hour before, after, or in between services.  Hopefully this will catch on in the more relaxed evangelical churches, because it gives people a space and time (and free refreshments) to just chat if they want.  Or to just sit in the corner and watch people.  ;)  The point is it's a place to be together, on a regular basis, without everyone being directed and distracted by an activity.  Meeting only once a week is more biblical, too.  ;)

 

I'm just rambling, though.  None of this is what you should do.  Take it with a grain of salt, but I hope it helps somehow!  I hope God directs and blesses your path and that you find what your family needs quickly and easily.  :)

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I consider myself to be a fairly conservative Christian and have become quite frustrated in finding the right church for my family. We are a family of introverts and it seems most churches these days are very much geared toward attracting extroverts. I find myself feeling very uncomfortable being pressured into joining groups, etc... I am perfectly happy just reading my Bible at home but feel my children need a church home. Has anyone else struggled with this?  Does anyone have worship at home with their families? If so, how do you do it? Does it seem to meet the needs of your children spiritually?

 

 

I believe, biblically, we really need a community - for support, for encouragement, and for accountability.  And I think that while we tend to be "me" centered and think on whether or not the community is supplying that FOR us, it's actually our responsibility to provide that for others IN OUR OWN individual way and giftings.  As well as to put ourselves under teaching so that we continue to strive to learn.

 

 

That said, *we* don't attend church.  I believe all of it wholeheartedly and my family doesn't attend church.  Ironic, isn't it?  We are spiritually mixed in our family and I don't think the benefit outweighs the impact it would have to have only one parent attending.  It really casts one parent in a different light and sets them at odds from what I've seen.  

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When we began, I got tapes from one pastor's church we listened to. We also listened to 2 different pastors on a local radio station.

 

Today, I listen via internet. The main 2 pastors we listened to were J. Vernon McGee and John MacArthur. McGee was/is great for the big picture as he goes through the Bible in 5 years. I recently got his entire 5 years of sermons on a thumb drive. McGee passed away quite a while ago.

 

MacArthur is great for the details. He goes much more slowly through the Bible, verse by verse. He's still alive and kicking, so it's nice to also hear his sermons on current happenings, occasionally.

 

One of the things I did with dc as we listened to any and all pastors' sermons was to examine anything we had doubts about. (ie. Bereans) Like someone said upthread, no pastor is perfect. So I taught my dc how to 'research' Biblical doctrine (just like we did in all our hs'ing) whenever they came across anything that a pastor was preaching that seemed questionable or a little off. The BIG errors were easy to spot as we studied our Bibles more.. It was the subtle, misleading things that I tried to teach them to catch. And that was probably way more than you ever wanted to know ....... :blush: ..... but I'll leave it up here for now.

Thank you for this. I do appreciate the detail. We've never found a church we felt comfortable with. For years, when my kids were little, I read out of a children's bible. We probably went through it 7 times from the time they were toddlers. Then, it felt like they had outgrown that and I didn't know what to do, so I basically did nothing. I'd love to try listening to some of these sermons with them and see what they think.

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I believe, biblically, we really need a community - for support, for encouragement, and for accountability.  And I think that while we tend to be "me" centered and think on whether or not the community is supplying that FOR us, it's actually our responsibility to provide that for others IN OUR OWN individual way and giftings.  As well as to put ourselves under teaching so that we continue to strive to learn.

 

DH used to do the mid-week study at our church, and it was really, really good (no surprise). But he's had to permanently step down, and it's gone off base here and there of late with different leadership. DH has tried to address the issues off-line, and at this point change is not looking likely. There are some trends and viewpoints among the leadership that we're uncomfortable with that we hear in the teaching and how decisions are made. Not big things, but subtle things that aren't right in our opinion.

 

I actually started the teens reading some quality Christian books because they've noted that the teaching isn't challenging them, and they like books.

 

I plan to find a daytime women's Bible study again, maybe as soon as next fall. There is one that our piano teacher and a friend go to sounds like a good fit, only 15 minutes away too. Very diverse in who attends, but solid. I hope it keeps going. Having something mid-week would be nice.

 

Just thinking aloud. I agree that we all need community and teaching. Putting it together is the challenge.

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I can't imagine being a christian not going to church!! And I really can't imagine not having my kids immersed in a church. There is NO way I would be as deep in my faith as I am if it weren't for church. Its not about the music or even the preaching- its about gathering together with a group of believers that love God. Its about what the church can do TOGETHER. Its about praying together, worshipping together, being held accountable, learning together....The power of prayer from an entire church is just.....amazing. Yes, my kids learn more from whats modeled at home (my pastor has told us this- Sunday is just one day) but its great that they get to gather and pray with other kids their age and hear their struggles and be involved in church activities and feel like they are not alone in their walk.

 

If Christians all stopped going to church and we didn't have the church, where would we be??? We have invited non christians to church that come home asking questions about the message, that come back because they love the sense of family and togetherness, that just want a place to feel welcome- I couldn't do that if I didn't attend church!! My kids have invited friends to youth group that are the ONLY place they will ever hear about God and see christians together in action. I have had people who aren't christians help and donate to church causes and activities because they believe what we are doing is good- that might be the seed that is planted in their lives that might draw them to God one day. 

 

No church is perfect, no pastor is perfect, every Sunday won't be perfect- this is a fallen world. Church isn't meant to be perfect. Its meant to be a place where a group of sinners meet- it can be messy :) No ones being sent to hell for not attending and I don't believe that people who don't attend have less faith or anything like that (my Gram didn't attend much mostly due to health issues and she was one of the strongest Christians I know) but I do feel we are called to be a part of one. 

 

 

 

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Yeah, a lot of people simply don't need that togetherness feeling, and in fact find it rather exhausting. It's not about needing church to be tailor made to one's exact specifications, but feeling so often, especially as an introvert, that church (and sometimes life) is tailor made to someone else's exact specifications and we're just expected to get over it and fit in.

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I can't imagine being a christian not going to church!! And I really can't imagine not having my kids immersed in a church. There is NO way I would be as deep in my faith as I am if it weren't for church. Its not about the music or even the preaching- its about gathering together with a group of believers that love God. Its about what the church can do TOGETHER. Its about praying together, worshipping together, being held accountable, learning together....The power of prayer from an entire church is just.....amazing. 

 

Gently saying here...that this amazing experience is not everyone's experience.  It's great that you DO have a sense of belonging and all those things that come from being a community.  But not all churches are successful at that for countless reasons.  

 

For example, at our church, we happen to know several people from OTHER, past churches we attended together.  After going to this current church for over a year, we haven't met anyone beyond those we already knew on a Sunday morning.  It's basically file in, have a pretty great church service, and then mill around awkwardly to see if there was anyone to talk to.  Honestly,  unless we'd grabbed a complete stranger and said, "HEY, let's be friends!" it was not going to happen.  You had to either take a chance on one of the Bible studies--not as a family, but individually--because you certainly weren't going to be personally invited or basically MAKE people notice you in some way.  We no longer do a greet-your-neighbor type thing during the service for some reason, either.  This is a GREAT church.  But it's huge and, as is human nature, grouped off into people who already know one another (parents of kids at the same school, for example) and if you don't know the "way in", you are out in the cold.  It's a side effect of being so large, being in the neighborhood it is, etc. even though the teaching is the best of any church we've been to!

 

I realize this probably sounds like a bunch of excuses, but it's possible for people to not have that sense of community and for it to not really be anyone's "fault", it just isn't there for them.  We are trying to find another church, but it's been almost 6 months now and there are only so many choices!  I'm back at this church for a study on The Pursuit of God and it's just OK.

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We haven't attended church for about three years (minus a six month stint in the first half of last year). We are all introverts. The church dh and I were raised and married in is currently focusing on teachings that are directly harmful to our family. Dh would prefer that I take the kids anyway and just discuss those things with them, but since he doesn't attend (social anxiety) I'm not interested in going. I'd go if he went because I do value communal worship as a family enough to overlook some things I don't like.

 

There is a smaller church I like whose teachings more closely align with my beliefs, but it's an hour away and right now that's just too much.

 

I'm not at all worried about children floundering in the world due to not having a church home. I'm still teaching them ethics and morals.

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Wanted to address the idea of not liking the music. I get it. I think it can be distracting and if you can find a church with better music, awesome. But I wouldn't stay home and not attend church at all just because I didn't care for the music. I think if we start down that path we are being led in the wrong direction. Jesus was beaten, shamed, and killed on a cross for us. The martyrs of the church died to worship our God. If we start thinking listening to bad music is too big a sacrifice to bear in order to attend worship services we need to reassess.

It's good to avoid being too picky, but music is my spiritual language. Music is how I hear or speak to God. Nothing is more spiritually powerful to me than quality sacred music. The church I was raised in has some great hymns and some lackluster ones. My family is extremely musical and my dad was deliberate about including music from other Christian traditions in our home. So, there are workarounds for when Sunday services don't have the best music. I feel especially edified, however, when they do.

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Saw this yesterday but just now getting around to commenting.

 

Church is... Complicated.

 

A few years ago, I could have been the person up thread who can't imagine not being at church, being a part of something, being involved.

We were VERY involved in our church since moving here within a year of getting married. It was the church dh grew up in , the church my children were then born into.

We were involved, we were a part of something (the church community/family, whatever you want to call it) and loved it. Dh was on the board, we volunteered in the nursery, the youth group, became parts of small groups, did the musicals in various capacities.

 

But when a church begins to change theologically, there is nothing you can do.

 

We stayed on for a few years, hanging onto hope that the doctrine would straighten back out and yes, staying because it was comfortable and easy. We never talked to other members/people at large about the problems we saw in the preaching, the politics, the way they were beginning to run the church, but we discussed concerns with the appropriate people.

 

Finally, dh was ready to leave. It took me a few more months because I was so comfortable there - I knew everyone, everyone knew me; but truth be told, I was skipping out on the preaching often, helping in the nursery, etc. I was avoiding it because I knew the decision to leave would be hard.

I prayed that something would come up and we would need to move. Because moving to another place entirely would be easier than staying in our same little town of 5,000 people with very few churches and leaving the one we called home.

 

When I finally came face to face with the fact that we needed to leave, I was sad for awhile. But as I was, I realized that the things I was mourning - the memories I had - those were things that weren't there anymore anyway.

Let me be clear: THIS WAS NOT BECAUSE WE DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

Because, you know, that's what people say. People who get upset because you leave automatically assume that the problem lies with the person leaving, that they 'must not like change' or that the church needs to 'get rid of the chaff'.

We weren't a part of some good ol' boys club who wanted to do things the way they'd always been done just because.

And tbh, it's frustrating because what bigger change could there be than the choice WE made? The difficult realization that we couldn't stay with people we loved at this church that was important to us? To choose to leave, to choose the difficult road - THAT was change. It still IS change that we walk through every day, and we left over a year ago.

Because when change = watered down doctrine, false theology?

Sure. Then I guess you could say change is bad.

 

Around here, as I already mentioned, there are very few churches. VERY few. We tried everything within a 45 minute radius. There was little to be found.

At present, we do attend a church regularly. However, im not sold on it. None of us are. We attend only on Sundays. There are many problems with the church, the pastor, etc - and by all means, there is NO such thing as a perfect church! - but right now we are in the place of trying to figure out if the doctrine is so bad that we should go ahead and leave with the knowledge that there is literally no place else to go.

 

So that's where we are with our church journey right now. Part of me still wishes we could move, just to have more options available. But the likelihood of that - and the reality of whether or not I would REALLY want to move... Probably not happening.

I'm an extrovert, so some of our problems are different. I want a church where I can get involved, etc... And this one doesn't provide an opportunity for that. We are trying, still - we haven't given up yet.

But part of me thinks that soon we will have to. I'm just not sure about it right now.

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I think some denominations, and some congregations, are more extroverted in general, and others more introverted.

 

I'm an orthodox Anglican - typically we are an introverted lot.

 

Baptists, on the other hand, seem to be more extroverted.

 

If you are finding the churches you are trying are strongly extroverted, maybe it would be worthwhile to try something that looks really different.

 

That being said - church takes some effort for us introverts. But it can I think be especially worthwhile, as it provides a community you see regularly in a neutral setting, which is what most introverts need to get around to having a friendship.

:Iagree: Orthodox Anglican here as well :seeya: I was just talking to a friend the other day and speculating whether personality has any bearing on denominational (or not:-) choice. That would be a fascinating study, lol.

 

We have struggled off and on with crummy preaching (not heretic, just not good), crummy music (although I don't appreciate rock band stuff at church... I find it irreverent... I do however realize other people are edified through it... To each their own), etc. Their are two things that motivate Dh and I to stay the course through these things. 1) We have history with our church folk, it is like a family... Love, fights, everything. 2) A big priority for me as a parent is for our kids to have a church home. Kind of like Cheers, where everyone knows your name. A friend of mine who is thinking of leaving their current church told me that her teen daughter said to her the other day, "Mom, I am going to be out of the house in a couple of years. I always thought I would have a church home to come home to as well as my real home." That rooting can be really important to young people. As a middle-aged introvert, I sometimes forget that. When I look back honestly, having adults in my life who knew God and knew me was more valuable than I can express.

 

That being said, I think someone who doesn't have the personal ties that bind have a less clear path ahead of them.

 

The other thing is what Katie said so beautifully earlier about sacrifice. I actually needed to hear that this morning, so thank you :wub:

 

As far as the volunteering/service in the church. I was actually one of seven founders of our church. I spent countless hours, with that team, meeting, praying, planting, developing. Once we were up, I directed vbs, led church wide Bible study groups, made food for events, worked on the website... It was my gift to God for Him to use to His will. My kids were young.

 

My life has shifted in the last few years. Homeschooling, living with and caring for in-laws, etc. just getting to church is difficult for many reasons right now. About a year and a half ago, I struggled mightily with guilt in this area. I finally just acknowledged that what I am giving to God for Him to use is different in this season of my life. It is not public service, it is very private. It is not exciting or dramatic. It is tedious in many ways. I am trying to grow through that.

 

But, I had to let go of the guilt. So, I basically informed the people that mattered to me that I am not available for service at church. I also let them know that I will be there when I can. If I am not there in body, I am there in spirit. I did this very matter of factly and without making excuses. If someone doesn't like it, they can keep it to themselves. People have just learned not to ask.

 

That being said, I don't spout my opinions off much either, lol. It is a lot easier to tear something down than to create it, and if I am not busy creating, I am going to keep my mouth shut unless something really questionable is going on :lol:

 

This was an incredibly hard place to get to. That church is part of the body of my life's work. It is like a child to me. And I believe in the important of a community of believers. The Spirit works through the body. But, often the church puts such emphasis on community and very little on solitude. I need that ratio flipped in my faith walk right now.

 

I suppose what I am trying to say is that, just as the church body is fluid in its makeup, we can be a little fluid too. The most important thing to me is setting my eyes on God and reflecting Him to my kids and other people. If I find myself drifting from that, I know I need to come back within the body.

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Oh, and since that did get off from the original topic, I wanted to mention that I do have one or two friends whose families do the church at home thing. From what they have said, the learning etc. works well. They did find that their kids needed to build more relationships with other believers, so even though they still do church at home, they also have their kids go to a youth group at a church that they have found to be a fit belief-wise.

 

Good luck to you. I know these questions can be a little crazy-making:-)

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I think we're getting off topic here; probably this is not what the OP was looking for.  But...

 

 

But that's reflection of the church's theology, right?  If the songs have far-out theology, the preaching most likely will too, right?  The churches I've been in that feel more like a rock concert than a worship service had a very different vibe altogether than the types of churches I normally attend.  It's not just the music.  It's the emphasis on the worship leader rather than the preacher; the sermon that's almost an afterthought, the casual prayers. 

 

Sometimes in church we have songs that I just can't stand.  It's the tune, though, not the words.  If I read the words, they are good.  Sometimes it seems like Yoda wrote the song - the words are forced into such weird order, but they are theologically rich.  So, I just grin and bear and horrible tune and try to focus on the meanings of the words.  Then the next tune may be something beautiful like "Be Thou My Vision" and it's all OK again.

 

Apologies to OP if this is going in the wrong direction.   I hope you find what you are looking for. 

 

 

That makes sense, and I would say it is often, but not always true.  It makes more sense if you think in terms of a denomination with a fairly laid out theology.  Sometimes the teaching remains the same, but a bad trend or an insensitive pastor, music director or congregation, can get the music into a bad place.

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Gently saying here...that this amazing experience is not everyone's experience.  It's great that you DO have a sense of belonging and all those things that come from being a community.  But not all churches are successful at that for countless reasons.  

 

For example, at our church, we happen to know several people from OTHER, past churches we attended together.  After going to this current church for over a year, we haven't met anyone beyond those we already knew on a Sunday morning.  It's basically file in, have a pretty great church service, and then mill around awkwardly to see if there was anyone to talk to.  Honestly,  unless we'd grabbed a complete stranger and said, "HEY, let's be friends!" it was not going to happen.  You had to either take a chance on one of the Bible studies--not as a family, but individually--because you certainly weren't going to be personally invited or basically MAKE people notice you in some way.  We no longer do a greet-your-neighbor type thing during the service for some reason, either.  This is a GREAT church.  But it's huge and, as is human nature, grouped off into people who already know one another (parents of kids at the same school, for example) and if you don't know the "way in", you are out in the cold.  It's a side effect of being so large, being in the neighborhood it is, etc. even though the teaching is the best of any church we've been to!

 

I realize this probably sounds like a bunch of excuses, but it's possible for people to not have that sense of community and for it to not really be anyone's "fault", it just isn't there for them.  We are trying to find another church, but it's been almost 6 months now and there are only so many choices!  I'm back at this church for a study on The Pursuit of God and it's just OK.

Do we go to the same church?  You have explained perfectly what I was trying to say in my previous post.  We aren't looking for a "social club" but more of a feeling of community and fellowship.  When I talked about one church having a calendar of events, it wasn't that I expect them to entertain me but it would be nice to have a way to meet people, to become part of the community .  You can't have fellowship, direction and accountability if you can't meet people at the church.  A smaller church might have been a better fit for us although we love the pastor's teachings and my kids get a lot out of that. 

 

 

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