I spent the last year or so trying out various, (twelve), churches in Idaho, and have finally found one that seems like a fit for my family and I. What a process… I used the go back 3 times (or more) rule unless it was just not a fit from the first time. I did have a few near walk outs – but tried to remain open-minded in most cases. When looking for a church the rule is you go back three times because you never know what that church is really like on just the first visit. It could be a guest speaker, or a different format for this week only, etc. Another thing to keep in mind is I went to at least two churches that were between pastors – so chances are they both are entirely different churches today than they were when I visited. If I hadn’t found a church to be a part of, I might have gone back and reexamined those other two churches again with their new leaders. Church shopping is a funny thing. I had almost given up entirely and had resigned myself to having a home church with only my family when this last one came into view.
To be clear, I was not looking for a “perfect” church because there is no such thing on earth. Let’s face it, if I found one, my attendance would make it less than perfect and even more so over time… I was instead looking for a group of believers that I could grow with where I didn’t immediately feel out of place. A pastor with whom I could discuss scriptures with and pray with, who was approachable and available for such a thing once a week, who knew the Bible fairly well. A place where there were at least a few kids the ages of ours, so they were not the only ones, but not so many kids that ours were lost. I was looking for modern-ish worship, not full fledged rock concert, but also not A cappella (voices only)… I’m fine with one person and a guitar, not so much with one person and an organ. I was also looking for a place I could see myself and my family becoming a part of – not just Sunday only.
I went to many churches, and they just didn’t feel right. I listened to many sermons – some good, some strange, some off the internet, but the one thing I heard in almost every church was this: “Christians don’t cuss”. It was the number one thing mentioned from the pulpits of Twin Falls Idaho as I was attending various congregations. I was like: inflation is rampant, the government is nuts, jobs are being lost, people are hurting, people are dying, we had a disease ravage our land, ww3 seems to be at the doorstep, sex trafficking is a major problems, drugs are epidemic, major cities are being overrun with crime and poverty, spiritual warfare is on the rise including people being tormented by demons, and to top it all off, suicide here in Twin Falls is a city secret because it is high, and no one wants to talk about it… But hey, Christians don’t cuss. To say the church has dropped the ball is such an understatement that I won’t say it. The church is playing the wrong game on the wrong field – they have the ball, the football, but they’re standing on a pitching mound the next park over…
I am not saying I found a church addressing all that stuff mentioned above, and I am not saying they are not going to preach a sermon mentioning Christians shouldn’t speak like the world. I am saying I found a group of mostly like-minded people where the leadership is like-minded and now it’s time to get busy seeking God for what He would have my family and I to do here in the new fellowship he brought us to. Church attendance is both privilege and responsibility. We get to go to church and be with each other as we walk out the mystery of faith. We get to be part of people’s lives. We get to be part of a body, or part of a body part which will not function well without us. The responsibility part is that our attendance and being available is important to the body of believers we are called to be with. We are all growing in the knowledge and wisdom that is Jesus Christ. We are all working out our salvation with fear and trembling, I believe I was guided to find this church, and that I didn’t feel right at the others because they weren’t where God wanted my family. For now, this is one less issue my family and I are facing here in our new hometown.
As for the other issues here, I’m not sure how to answer that. There are many things I appreciate about Idaho and specifically Twin Falls, and many more where I scratch my head and wonder what I just witnessed. I think the people who live here should read the drivers handbook more closely – because I have… and let me tell you it is amazing how people drive here. I was raised on the SMITH system which is quoted extensively in the drivers handbook and yet people do not drive like any of it matters – they tail gate, or sit in your blindspot, never leaving enough space for others to react in emergency situations. It’s stressful driving around town. And then there are the helmet-less motorcycle riders. I get it, it’s your right… but the way people drive around here you would be an idiot to ride without a helmet. We’ve had several deaths lately involving helmet-less riders and traumatic brain injury… Did I mention the suicide problem? Anyway, then there is the restaurant situation. Let’s just say I prefer to cook at home – thank God for a gas stovetop. All in all, it’s not much different than Carson City Nevada. I’m sure over time it will grow on me as I continue to find my place. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He moved us here, so now is the fun part of figuring out why.