Sunday, July 5, 2009

Success In Our Church Shopping Endeavor?

ChurchIt has been just over eighteen months since our move to Indianapolis, and we have been searching for a church where we could feel at home ever since. At times, we thought we had found just the right church, only to later question whether God was calling us to that particular church or not.

Today, we made our first visit to Heartland Church in Fishers, Indiana. Usually, when I write about our "church shopping" experiences here, I don't actually share the name of the church. That's because usually my wife and I have not felt that we were moved to attend the particular church I was writing about, and I wouldn't want to say anything that might discourage anyone from attending any specific church that is trying to do the work of the Lord.

Today, our visit to Heartland Church (@HeartlandIndy on Twitter) was a very positive experience for the entire family. When we first pulled into the parking lot for the 11AM service, the lot was virtually empty. We began wondering what kind of turn out there might be. From the moment we walked into the church and approached a man standing by an information desk, we all felt right at home. We first met Ed, who introduced himself as a full-time volunteer staff member who works with small groups. We introduced ourselves to Ed, who then introduced us to another staff-member who helped us to get our kids checked into Adventureland, where they would attend their own age-tailored church services.

My wife and I then made our way to the sanctuary, where we had our choice of nearly any seat in the house. We picked comfortable seats on the aisle in the fourth row and waited for the service to begin as people slowly made their way in (there turned out to be many more people there when the service was over than we had thought there were).

The worship band was led by Rick Stump, and they played popular contemporary Christian tunes that made my wife and I feel right at home. Best of all, they didn't seem to be performing, as we have felt that many bands at the churches we've attended were doing -- they seemed to be worshiping the Lord.

The sermon was delivered by Rick's father (I believe his name is Gary), and was delivered in such a way that anyone listening could feel a part of the discussion. He did not teach down to us, did not teach at us, did not speak over our heads. It was a very informative, very enjoyable sermon.

After the service, the most important test of all: the kids' reaction to their individual services. When I asked my son if he liked it, he said, "Did you love it?" When I said yes, he said, "Me, too."

Enough said, so far. They didn't observe Communion today, but many churches don't observe Communion more than once a month, or every other week. We'll see how that goes down when the time comes, but based on the rest of the experience, we are both more likely to be flexible with the Communion service. Most churches we've visited observe Communion by dipping the Communion bread into the cup. We have always preferred taking the bread and the cup separately. I guess we will learn in time what method Heartland Church employs. In the meantime, we'll be returning to Heartland quite regularly, I believe.

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