Confessions of a Church Hunter

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We just moved to Richmond, Va. Along with hunting for a house we had to also “hunt” for a new church. I know that some of you are our friends and know how involved we were at Water’s Edge, our church in Lake Charles.

Water’s Edge was one of the reasons it was very hard to leave Lake Charles. We had been on the launch team and seen it grow from about 25 people to over 1,200 people in under 5 years. It was such a special journey and we met some awesome people along the way.

So as our journey with God moved us out of Lake Charles, we knew that God had another special church family for us in Richmond.

How did we find a church?

Well, being a child of the information age – we started with the internet.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Google it!

You can tell a lot about a church from their website. What types of people are they trying to reach? What is the music like? What do people wear? What messages have they preached on recently? What ministries do they focus on? Are they doing any service or outreach? Are they updating their website???

We saw a few churches who looked a little more traditional than we are comfortable with. We saw some churches who hadn’t updated their website in over a year. We saw churches who had a different view of church vision or focus than us.

But then we found a church… Their vision and mission was just like what we knew at Water’s Edge. They played some of the same songs that we were used to as well. They were a strategic partner with North Point (Andy Stanley‘s Church in Atlanta). We were pretty impressed.

Adam was able to talk to some of the church leaders before we came to our first service. It was neat to hear the same mission and vision of reaching others and serving.

Bible Study (18) (1280x1189)

We have been to 4 services now, and feel pretty at home at Journey. Adam was able to play bass for the first time this Sunday, which is always a treat for him. I was able to meet some ladies from the church for lunch this past week. We are excited about Group Link coming up this fall.

I know that God has a plan for us here in Richmond. It is such a relief to find a church where we can serve, grow relationships and also be challenged in our walk with God. Sometimes it is fun to get out of our comfort zone and see what trusting in God is like – which is always a struggle for a control freak like myself. He has surprised me how he has taken care of us and all our worries thus far. We serve an awesome God.

Live Oak

And one of the things I hate dislike (and this is purely personal and not from anything in the bible at all!) the most about church hunting and being a visitor is the “everyone stand up and greet someone next to you” or “shake a hand near you and let them know you are happy they are there” dance… No one is genuinely wanting to shake my hand or greeting me – they are just doing it because the person on stage told them too. If the greeters are doing a good job, I’ve already been greeted several times before I sit down (and as a visitor I am ready to be
“anonymous” once I find a seat).

It was such a personal relief that Journey doesn’t do that… and I still feel completely welcomed and comfortable to be there.

Journey does a great job of greeting starting at the parking lot. I think I saw 3 -4 smiling, waving people before I even got out of my car. This was way more welcoming then a 2 second hand shake after the pastor (or whoever is on stage) tells people to “be nice right before the service starts, but don’t get too friendly because we are about to start singing”.

And I am still totally impressed by the nursery – I think Aidalyn likes it too! We had no tears today when we dropped her off and she was all smiles when we picked her up.

I just want to say, “Good Job!” to Journey, because I think they are doing a great job from a visitor’s perspective.


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Angela Parker
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  1. I also don’t like the forced “friendship shake” and greeting! I don’t know why churches feel the need to do that! But I think it’s great to do a good Internet search! I hope this church continues to feel like home! Debra

  2. So fun how God made us so different!! My favorite is the “hand shake” time! My husband & I both love meeting & greeting people & talking with them, even if it is only for a short time!!

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