The search for a church
October 11th, 2012 | Ian Richardson
Reminiscing last Sunday night as I returned from church, I was whisked back to last year at this same time. It was the second month of my freshman year, and I was still in the process of finding a new home church. As a pastor’s kid from a small town in rural Iowa, I had literally grown up in my local Assemblies of God church. It had always been — and still is — a place where everyone is like family; even if you don’t walk in that way, you leave that way.
It is a place where all generations attend the same service, and potluck dinners are a monthly staple. The worship service is a blend of hymns and modern choruses, and yes, we actually open the hymnals. So, as I moved to Evangel, I found myself wondering how I could ever replace this experience — the only church home I had ever known.
At least there wasn’t a lack of choices in Springfield. I’ve heard that you could attend a different AG church each Sunday for a year and still not reach them all. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. After a few weeks of trying some different places, I found myself at Central Assembly of God. I’ll never forget that first Sunday morning. Right away I was struck by the fact that there were twice as many people on stage during worship as there are in my entire congregation back home. But, as I looked around, I saw people of all ages. Even though it was entirely different, there was something about the place that reminded me of home.
Looking back, I realize that I will never be able to replace what I had growing up. But I have found a church that I can love for different reasons. Though Central may not have church-wide potluck dinners every month, the qualities it shares with home are even more important: sound preaching and a passion for worshiping God.
When moving to college, it is vital to plug into a local church. No amount of Evangel Chapel services or online podcasts will replace experiencing God in the church setting on a weekly basis. But when it’s time to make the move, don’t be intimidated. Ask around and try a few different places. Take friends. Pray about it. You probably won’t replace home, but you will find a place that God can use just as well in new, exciting ways.
Want more? Read how local churches have partnered with Evangel’s Adopt-a-Student program, which connects students with local Christian families and provides a “home away from home” for the students to visit.