Periodically, someone new moves to town and joins our Christian school family. Inevitably, as I chat with them, talk turns to church.
Recently I had this conversation with a new member of the staff. She shared what congregations they had visited so far, and her impressions on which ones might be a good fit for their family.
It would seem this is a natural time to for me to extol the virtues of our church... And I can't - or don't.
In this case, the woman mentioned a church that preferred contemporary worship and their family seemed to be looking for something with a little more balance. We have that! I thought I might mention our church when there was a break in the conversation. Then she said another one they tried was too old. Oh - never mind our church then. My son is in a small Sunday school class of 3rd through 5th graders - if he isn't the only 4th grader in the class, he's one of only a couple. We have a older congregation. When my husband and I taught Sunday school, we had 25 students in a fifth and sixth grade class. My son has 5 or 6 kids total who regularly attend his class. A week ago, he was the only student in attendance that day. It's a hard sell for young families. I'm concerned it could become a hard sell for OUR family as my son gets older.
Another time, the person I was talking to mentioned their old church and how they loved the Biblical teaching and Biblical foundation of the congregation. Now, our pastor preaches Biblical messages, and The Word is spoken in our church. But we also have pockets of folks who don't think the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We have people who don't believe in the Virgin birth. My school family is more conservative, politically and in faith, than my church family. Many days I feel as though I live in no man's land in between the two. And it makes it hard to bring the two groups together.
I feel like I should be a better advocate for my home congregation - I love the people at our church. I probably frustrate our children's program staff because I don't attend the meetings they hold for parents during Sunday school. But it's because I am not willing to give up my Sunday school hour - I look forward to that time every week. I look forward to learning from the women I meet with every week - learning from their life experiences and their insights as well as learning about myself. I am proud of the things our congregation has done in the last 10 years to reach out to our community - our After school programs, food pantry, community center, outreach in Africa, etc.
I guess I just need to find a place of comfort in that no-man's land between these two faith communities in my life....