Prior to relocating to Atlanta this summer, I sought out churches that had similar characteristics to the church I fellowship at in Chicago, Jesus House Chicago. I started looking as soon as I knew I was coming to Atlanta last year, but websites don't tell you everything about a church. So I started asking people too. I wanted to find that one perfect church for me and go there the entire summer. Then Pastor Isoken informed me that that's not how it's going to go down, in so many words of course. I would have to visit a few churches to get a feel for the right one for me.
And so I did that, literally (almost too literally). I visited a new church practically every week. The first week, I just picked a church, cold. It's been so long since I was a visitor. Then the following weeks, I accepted invitations or went with someone.
- City of David - Week 1
- Jubilee International - Week 2
- First Baptist Lithonia - Week 3
- RiverStone - Week 4
- Victory International - Week 5
- World Changers International - Week 5
- Jubilee International - Week 6
- International House of Prayer - Atlanta - Week 7
- Jesus House Chicago - Week 8
I appreciated experiencing different churches and seeing how they conduct different parts of the service. The opportunity to "church hop" does not come along frequently (or ever) when you're a member of a church and have responsibilities in departments within the church. I was able to see what's going on outside of the not-so intentional but partly intentional comfort zone.
Ahh but last weekend, I went home! Fabulous time! It was great to see everyone. And likewise, I went to my home church. There really is no place like home. I've been going there since I was 12. And I feel the love every time I come back from any type of hiatus - school, internship away from home, etc. and even when I'm gone; messages, calls. It's like Cheers; everyone knows your name. I even took pics of different highlights and uploaded them onto facebook, kind of a like a groupie :) gosh!
So in that vein, along with a few other factors, I decided I would watch Jesus House Chicago livestreamed tomorrow.
I'm currently revisiting that decision since tomorrow is the First Sunday of the month, Thanksgiving Sunday, and Mama says (referencing the great Book) "do not forsake the fellowship of others."
Well Sunday morning is quickly approaching and I'm at the same decision phase that I go through every Saturday night stroke Sunday morning that I've been here. I could either go to one of the aforementioned churches or pick a new church completely and inevitably be the visitor or the new[er] person with either decision.
But tomorrow I don't feel like being the visitor or the new[er] person. I just don't feel like it. *shrugs* I just want to get my praise and worship on and my lesson, Pastor B style.
Now, it boils down to two options:
1) Virtual attendee of the Familiar vs. 2) Visitor to the Unfamiliar.
1) Safe route vs. 2) The unfamiliar route
To some people, it's just church, to me it's deeper, a little more complex and very symbolic of decisions to come.
To be continued . . .