Why I Switched Churches

I love High Tide Church.  When Carolyn and I were looking for a new church home early last summer, I was excited to discover that High Tide (in Frankford, Delaware) is only about the same distance away from Ocean Pines (where we live) as the south end of Ocean City.  We visited a worship service there and decided to plug in.  Pastor Andy Ehlers is a genuine man of God, and he preaches the gospel with both humility and boldness every week.  The children’s ministries are fantastic, the music is wonderful, the people are friendly, and they have some really cool glowing trash cans on the stage.  But after four months we decided to switch churches again.

Why?

Because it was too far away from where many of our unchurched friends live.

When my family was looking for a church home, there were several nonnegotiable factors we considered: Our church must have an urgent sense of mission, be doctrinally sound, have a solid children’s ministry, and be a place where we could use our gifts to serve.  High Tide was all that, and had a bunch of nice extras too (like the music and worship environment).  But we had overlooked one hugely important factor: Although High Tide wasn’t too far a drive for us to go for worship on a Sunday morning, it was way too far for our friends in West Ocean City that we wanted to invite, and probably too far for our friends in Berlin.  It just didn’t sit right to join a church where we were not able to bring along the people we have relationships with here in our community.

So I called Pastor Andy, and in that phone call he proved that the Kingdom of God is his top priority.  He told me, “Living as a Christian means living incarnationally.  That means we need to belong to a church in the same community where we live, work, and play.”  Rather than giving me a sales pitch for High Tide, he encouraged me to find a church that was situated in the same community where we live.  Sound advice.

And finding a great church in our community was easy to do, because SonRise Church in Berlin meets all the criteria I mentioned above.  We had only passed it over in the first place because we were looking for something new and different.  We had new and different for four months at High Tide, and it was perfect for the season of transition we were in.  However, now that we’re at SonRise we’re able to hit on all cylinders as church members.

Last Sunday our decision to switch churches was confirmed.  Our five-year-old daughter, Laura Marie, was baptized at SonRise.  We had a pretty good turnout of friends who came for the baptism, which might not have happened if it had been in Frankford.  Plus there were kids from Laura Marie’s school who were there to see her baptized, something else which would not have happened in Delaware.

I still love High Tide and miss worshiping there, and I miss the Ehlers family, but at SonRise Church we have found a place to truly call home.

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Published in: on November 19, 2014 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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Church

Yesterday at CrossWay we began a two-week miniseries called “Creed: Church.” The theme yesterday was the church as a family; next week we look at our mission.

We opened with a video that Carolyn made, set to “Creed” by Rich Mullins. I was so impressed with her work! She did an excellent job, which you can see for yourself by watching the video here:

The church is many things, but it’s primarily a family–the family of God. Everyone who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ is actually a member of God’s own immediate family! Amazingly cool stuff.

The Bible itself is a story about family–about God’s family. He made the first people to be His children (Luke 3:38 calls Adam “the son of God”), which has been His plan ever since. God promised Abraham that he would be the head of a huge family, not a giant corporation. His promise continued through Isaac, through Jacob, through Judah, through David… and on down the family line to Jesus Christ. And through Jesus, His plan is to bring people into His family.

There are many elements that define a family, but three stand out: shared experience, a common language, and reproduction. Sound personal? It is.

The church–as a family–is also defined by these three things. We share experiences together, develop a common language, and reproduce by telling people about Jesus so they can experience a new birth.

The church has done all this throughout history, since its very beginning as recorded in the Book of Acts. Yesterday we read and talked about Acts 2:41-47 to see what the early church family did, so we could learn more about what we should be doing. They were essentially devoted to four things: Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and food. Oh yeah.

The podcast will be up soon, which you can access through the link on the right of this page (if you get this through email, you can find the link by going to this blog’s site).

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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