Aug 16 2009

1st time at the church nursery, and maybe a church home

I believe the most important thing a parent can do for a child is to bring him to the Lord and to know Jesus. It’s a huge responsibility, and parents shouldn’t take it lightly.

This upbringing certainly starts at home and should be a regular part of home life — and an active church membership can enhance the entire family’s relationship with God.

Though we had tried to find a church home in Pittsburgh, we just couldn’t seem to find one that clicked. Ya know? Some actually seemed like social clubs instead of churches.

Then Johnny was born. We knew we had to kick our search into high-gear soon enough. It was a challenge getting up and out the door, and we didn’t go to church as a family until Easter this year.

We moved to a different part of the city, and I was hopeful that we’d find something for us here. I think we have!

We are seeking an active church with young families. One that emphasizes teaching the Bible. Sounds simple enough, but plenty of churches we’ve visited only mention a Bible verse here or there in sermons and don’t exactly teach or spend much time in the Word.

Talking with some friends and doing some internet research (and lots of prayer!) we visited a Baptist church. Sometimes the Baptist denomination has a bad rap. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, during the sermon, the first thing the minister said was, “Turn to your Bibles to the book of Ezekiel.” I had never been to a church where members actually used the Bible during the sermon. Isn’t that something? And I loved this.

He read a chapter and then gave a sermon on it. It was fabulous.

The only trouble? About 20 people were in attendance. For their one service. They were nice and all, but we wanted a larger church that had children Johnny’s age.

We went to another and it, too, was Bible-focused and friendly. Liked it, but still just a handful of kids and no other babies.

We went to a third church, and we weren’t sure if we’d like it because the web site was really dynamic and emphasized different activities, but we couldn’t find a statement of faith or anything affirming it was more than a social club. We visited anyway, just to see.

We weren’t disappointed. The church is much larger (about 1,000 in attendance for its three Sunday services) and definitely has a strong children’s program. It seems that young children are encouraged to be in the nursery or other kid activities during the service. Children from grades 1-5 stay for the first part of service during the music time and leave during the sermon.

Younger kids are grouped by age and are led in age-appropriate activities.

Johnny is in the youngest batch of kiddos and when he’s maybe a year or so old, he should be ready to move on to the 1s and 2s. There’s more structure and usually a Bible lesson in those classes. It just continues on up!

In the nursery, the staff emphasize play and exploration.

I stayed there the whole time today so I could observe him and the caregivers. He had missed his morning nap, but he was still a mostly happy boy. It was so great to see him among others his age! There were five babies during this portion of the day.

The staff was attentive and loving and everything I’d hope for in a nursery setting. As long as Johnny doesn’t seem to mind, I think I’ll leave him in the nursery next Sunday. I’m comforted in that they have pagers and can alert parents if necessary.

This is a completely new denomination for us, but we do like it. If you’re curious — as a child and young adult, I had only attended United Methodist churches. Shane had been to a variety of denominations with various family and friends, including Pentecost, Holiness, and a hodgepodge of others. He never really “joined” a church and he wasn’t set on any particular denomination.

We visited some United Methodist churches around here, but just didn’t feel like it was the right place for us.

We then attended some non-denominational ones and a Presbyterian church. Still no match.

We then went to a Baptist church, the one I mentioned earlier with about 20 congregants.

Shane filled out the attendance pad and included our address, and when we arrived home today, someone had beat us to our door and there was a gift bag containing info about the church. What a surprise! It contained a summary of the church’s beliefs and more info about the programming. I’ll have to suggest they post it to their web site.

Anyway, we’ll be going back to this church and if things continue to go well, we’ll meet with one of the pastors to learn about membership.

2 Responses to “1st time at the church nursery, and maybe a church home”

  1. It is pretty sad how rarely Bibles are used in church. When my husband and I moved to the suburbs this year, we figured we would be finding a new church home instead of commuting 30 miles. Tulsa is buckle of the Bible belt, after all, and there are churches on nearly every corner. Nonetheless, we now happily make the 30 miles commute twice weekly and I now realize why our nondenominational church home is nearly 20,000 strong.
    We’ve had multiple guest speakers comment on the wonderful swishing noise when everyone flips to the scripture references. They sound surprised.

  2. After Josh & I got married, the best thing we did was find a church home and get into a small group. Seriously. It gave us a circle of like-minded friends in approximately our stage of life, regular social interaction, and a place to connect. I know you’re not “newly married”- but you have said you’re lonely in the new city. For us, church has been the best place to find new friends. Hopefully you’ll find a place to connect soon.

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