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Church Hunting

Two months ago, we moved for the fifth time in two-and-a-half years. The hubs and I are thrilled with our new location; we love the dramatic decrease in traffic and how quiet it is once you finally hit true suburbia. Besides the usual pains of moving and the extreme pain of breaking a lease, we have transitioned here rather smoothly.

But on Sundays, we’ve had to face what I believe is absolutely the worst part of moving: finding a new church.

We aren’t strangers to church hunting. When we first moved to Maryland after leaving our beloved church in Morgantown, WV, we looked for a solid three months before we found McLean Bible Church, Montgomery County Campus.

Leaving our church in Morgantown was difficult, but leaving McLean has been significantly harder. It’s not that our church in Morgantown didn’t have solid teaching, because it absolutely did. It’s that McLean’s teaching is through-the-roof solid (David Platt, anyone?), and the people we have met there and served with have been so insanely in love with Jesus that they made me more in love with Jesus. And that just felt right.

So far, I’ve narrowed our church options here to three. Each church only has one service on Sundays, each church is very small, and each church seems to have a small-ish population of people in the same stage of life as us—which, to be fair, is true of most evangelical churches, since there seems to be very few married couples our age who don’t yet have children.

I recently read a Desiring God article entitled “Love the One You’re With.” As tempted as I am to drive an hour every Sunday to continue attending McLean—a church I love and will always love—I know that we can be used here in our new city, and we have to love the church we’re with. Even though it hurts to leave, it’s encouraging to remember that this isn’t our home. We are sojourners, nomads, wanderers, and we must serve God however we can in the different places He puts us. Our only permanent residency is in heaven—and we’re already part of that church. Oh, how my heart longs for it!

I leave you with lyrics from one of my favorite Thrice songs again, and this time, I have a good feeling you’ll enjoy it, so take a watch and a listen after the lyrics.

In Exile

I am an exile, a sojourner—a citizen of some other place.

All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror,

But I know one day I’ll see face to face.

 

I am a nomad—a wanderer; I have nowhere to lay my head down.

There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on;

I’m not settling for this unsettling town.

 

My heart is filled with songs of forever—

Of a city that endures, where all is made new.

I know I don’t belong here; I’ll never

Call this place my home, I’m just passing through.

 

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Natalie Liounis

Natalie Liounis

Natalie is a ginger and lover of Jesus, dogs, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, cooking, and hockey. She lives in Annapolis with her husband and dog, and she coordinates the writing center at a small community college on Maryland's eastern shore. In other words, her dreams have come true.
Natalie Liounis

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3 Comments

  1. Diane Tarantini on November 24, 2017 at 1:54 PM

    Great post, Natalie. I for one cannot imagine moving FIVE times, especially at your young age!! And the church search can indeed be so hard!! I hope you find a place that feels like home.
    I’m curious, where did you attend when you all were here in Motown?

    • Natalie Liounis on November 24, 2017 at 5:46 PM

      We attended Chestnut Ridge. So we went back and forth between Chestnut and McLean when we moved the last several times. But I’m happy to report that we have decided on a church here 🙂 It’s less than a year old, and it’s TINY, so we’re excited to be part of a church in its infancy!

  2. Gretchen Hanna on December 1, 2017 at 12:00 PM

    Wow. Thank you for the reminder to bloom where we are planted. On a post I read yesterday, Brandon Hatmaker (a pastor) encouraged church employees/leadership to not be bitter when one of their staff left. He said something to the effect of “God works in other places, too.” I think this society and our global access to so much through the internet makes us tempted to want to do what the other guy is doing in the next town (which may be amazing, like in your circumstance); however, God works in other places, too. May this be the last move you need to make for a good while, friend.

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