I have a strong desire to attend a church; the problem is I don’t know where to start. There are so many denominations and I don’t know enough about them all to decide which is right for me. I feel Catholicism doesn’t suit me, and I mean no disrespect, but it seems too ritualistic for me and I don’t understand the who concept of worshipping Mary. I don’t deny that she is an important part to Jesus’ life, but to pray to her? I don’t know. And that is my biggest problem; I don’t know!
I did find a church I like, I download their sermons and they really speak to me. Unfortunately for me the church is located in the UK and I am in the USA. It is the London Colney Baptist Church (LCBC), and I’ve got to say it is nothing like what I thought a Baptist was. When I hear the word Baptist I think of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) with their “God Hates Fags” campaign and picketing at funerals. Not something I want to be associated with, but this LCBC is nothing like that. Of course this only adds to my confusion. If not all Baptist churches are created equal then how can I tell the difference between them by name alone? It is partially this confusion that has kept me from going to any church.
So in an effort to find a church I started a Google search and I have found that many local churches have websites and some of them have downloadable or streaming sermons. While all the websites have a “Mission Statement” and a “What We Believe” page, I have found that they are all very similar. Many are word for word the same. The sermons are what I think are most beneficial to getting the feel of a church, and I am glad to listen to different varieties. I honestly haven’t found one that I didn’t enjoy.
There is a church near me (Northridge) and I was invited to attend on a couple of occasions. So I looked them up and started downloading their sermons. I have been listening to them for quite some months now, but I still haven’t gone. My main reservation about this church is the size. It’s HUGE! It even has a coffee shop inside. While I can list many reasons for not going… well, they’re really excuses such as; my daughters are still asleep at the service times, parking is rough, etc. My biggest fear is that I have had many troubling experiences with members of another large church in the Lansing area. Still I know that not all Baptist churches are the same so surely not all Big churches are the same. And you really can’t fully judge a church by a fraction of its attendees. Again I am reminded of Romans 14:10 –
“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
So for Easter Weekend Northridge has a ton of sermon times (4x on Friday, 3x on Saturday, 2x on Sunday) and since I know I like their sermons this leaves me with no excuse not to go. I’m a little scared, but I’m mostly excited.