July 15, 2014 by Kara Nichols
I’m living in a city with hundreds (possibly a slight exaggeration) of churches and yet I’ve struggled to commit to one. Lately the issue has been that I don’t want to pick sides. On the one hand, I come from a Baptist background for which I have much respect. On the other hand, I have family members and friends who are charismatic, including my new counselor. I am very sensitive to both ways of believing.
The easy thing to do, I think, would be to saddle up with the non-denominational Christians. And that’s where I might end up. But I think I need to visit more churches. What’s more important than finding out which side I’m on denominationally is that I know God personally. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. And in Him there is no condemnation. I am free because of His sacrifice. Because God made a promise with Himself, the new covenant reigns. I’m not bound by the old laws. Even the 10 commandments (Ever done yard work on a Saturday?)
There is one pastor and author who I almost exclusively agree with and that’s Andrew Farley. Sometimes I entertain the idea of moving to Texas to be in his church. Thankfully podcasts exist so I don’t need to. I think I will re-read his book The Naked Gospel this week. It was the first Christian book I read after my dabbling with Buddhism. He’s teachings are clear and beautiful in their simplicity.
I guess in the end it takes all kinds. Baptists, Charismatics, you name it. Maybe like how it takes a whole village to raise a child. I will continue to pray for guidance as I look for a church. I’ve given myself until the end of the year to lock into a place because I really need community.
What a luxury, to have so many go churches to choose from. This coming Sunday I will visit a church that I’ve been to once. It’s non-denominational with a leaning towards the charismatic. There were maybe 75 people in the service (which I liked), the worship was great, the preaching was spot on, and I was greeted kindly and made to feel welcome. They offer small groups during the week and a prayer night. I could see myself calling it home.
The bigger issue at hand is that I’m not sure what to believe, and in essence I’m not sure who to believe. I’m torn. I see the good in many denominations. This leads me back to non-denominational churches, which is where I felt comfortable for a number of years. But I don’t want to be just comfortable, I want to be challenged, I want to grow in my faith. I don’t want to bounce back and forth between what loved ones tell me is true, I want to stand tall in my own beliefs. Lord, show me the way.