Saturday, June 17, 2023

Switching Churches Can Be Refreshing

Brooklyn C&MA

Over time, things change, including churches.  I grew up in this church, got married in it, and served the Lord for many years in Hobby Club, as a Sunday School teacher, Youth Director, AWANA worker, Bowling League secretary and Church Secretary. We left the Brooklyn Christian & Missionary Alliance church because every week something seemed to bother me.  I came home upset and at times, even angry.  This should not be!  It was hard to leave but was time to try somewhere else.  

          PHBC is so sprawled out, I couldn't get the whole thing in one shot!

Since my sister attended PHBC, we tried there first and stayed.  When we first started attending Parma Heights Baptist Church ("PHBC"), we were very impressed with it and enjoyed the services.  Soon I started teaching Sunday School there and joined the puppet team with my husband.  It's a very big church which was quite different from the one we left which took some getting used.  We liked the preaching, the music, the cleanliness, the adult Bible study class, the opportunities for service and the fact that there were a lot of people who volunteered for things.  PHBC has a wonderful children's pastor and a top-notch children's ministry.  Special events such as VBS, Sports Camp, Summer Shake-Up and the Fall Festival brought lots of kids from the neighborhood.  

After COVID hit I tried teaching for a short time once we were able to return to church; however, some weeks I had only one kid come and the most I had was four one week.  I did not feel comfortable without them wearing masks and the church wanted to keep it optional, so I gave up teaching the class.  Around January of this year due to a variety of changes, we became restless, dissatisfied and I found myself actually dreading Sundays.  It was time to see what else was out there and if we could find a worship service we liked better.

Church at West Creek
After praying for direction from the Lord, our plumber who also attended PHBC and left a few years ago mentioned they were going to The Church at West Creek and liked it there.  After trying out the United Methodist Good Shepherd church that was just one street away from us that my husband really liked but I didn't, we gave The Church at West Creek a try the last Sunday of March.  Our first impression included the following:

  • Wow, this is so small.  It looks the the church on "The House on the Prairie."
  • No pews, they only have chairs.

  • They sure don't have many children (I counted 10)
  • I liked that the windows were clear glass so I could see outside.
  • They prayed four times in that service and the Pastor included specific church members in his prayer.
  • The Pastor had a special kids time with a short intro to the sermon.
  • The Pastor is really young, 29 I think, greeted us when we went in and was dressed very casual in a plaid shirt--we were quite early.
  • There were only about 50-60 people in the service (the same amount as at Brooklyn C&MA)
  • No orchestra, but a piano and violin.  Sang hymns and could hear the people singing! 
  • Had several different scripture readings related to the main text--lots of cross referencing and people from the congregation dis some of the reading.
  • The bulletin had the scripture listed for next week's sermon so could read it ahead.
  • It reminded me of the Brooklyn C&MA church I grew up in before it was expanded.
  • The sermon wasn't boring but very good on I Peter 1:13-21.
  • The people were very friendly, at least six different people came over and introduced themselves.
  • People sat together and hung around afterwards talking--we could see they were friends.
  • They usually have communion every Sunday, not just once a month.
  • I wondered what kind of security they had--it's so small and was relieved to know they did have plans and tried to be prepared!
  • They have "community groups" twice a month meeting in homes for a meal and Bible Study.
  • They have a lot of free books in the back for anyone to take including Bibles.
That afternoon after our first visit, I looked up the church on the internet and read about it's history and viewed it's leadership.  I was looking for a church where I could develop some close friendships and I believe this is it.  We have decided to attend here regularly now and become members of The Church at West Creek.  I don't dread Sundays anymore and actually look forward to them again.  Praise the Lord!  I took one of the books from the back table titled PRAYING THE BIBLE which revitalized my prayer life.  (Clicking the link will take you to my book review of it on my book blog.)  

I am still planning to serve in a limited capacity at PHBC with food distributions, children's ministry, and attend some of their Bible studies, special events, Autumn fellowship meals.  Both churches are good and strong in different areas.  The doctrine is the same for both.  I don't think there's anything that says one has to just attend one church, so for now I plan to be active in both. 

What is your church strong in?  Have you ever changed churches?  What do you like best about your church?  I'd love to read your answers to these questions in the comments.


Brian's Home Blog said...

I haven't been in quite a while because I didn't like the direction they were taking. I'm needing a new faith home.

Karen and Gerard said...

Brian, definitely look around. It's actually kind of fun visiting other churches, just be sure to pick one that proclaims the gospel and believes the Bible is God's word.

Lois Krause said...

I enjoyed your blog! We also attended Brooklyn C&MA before kids and when they were young. The dynamics of church changes when new pastors come in. It was a hard decision to leave because that church was like a big family! Everyone really did care for each other. It took us several churches over 4 years to finally find a church we felt we could serve in. Stayed serving there for 13 years and then we got a new pastor and we had difficulty with his view of ministry. The church was quite small and after much prayer we decided to leave. That was another difficult move because we were very connected with the people there. We were dreading Sunday as well because we had 40 jobs between 4 of us. The next church we attended was much bigger and I was connected as I worked with the pastors wife at school. We stayed there for 10 years but never found close friendships like I needed. Ed was more connected than I was. After the pandemic, our small group fell apart and we were feeling very lonely. A new pastor started during the pandemic and more and more of the older folks were not attending. One day I was driving through Lakewood and saw that this Lutheran church was changed to Parkside Westside. Checked out the website and saw it was connected to Alistar Begg church in Bainbridge. We have been attending there since and we are liking it a lot. For being a church plant, it is very large, but we are finding some connections and we love the pastor’s sermons. I have been raised in the church and he really gets me thinking about my walk with God.

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