I really don’t like the name of this post, but it’s actually what we did once we settled into our new home in Oregon and got Jeffrey all set up and ready to go at his new school (Jeffrey Starts Middle School). We missed our family and friends from up in the Seattle area, and we knew we needed to get connected to a church where we could make new friends and grow in our faith.
We had been warned by many people that it would probably be very difficult to find a good church in Oregon, because Oregon was known to be even more liberal than where we came from. So we were prepared to take as long as we needed, thinking it was going to take us months and months and months. Well guess what? NOT!
Gary and I had never been into any set “religion” (i.e. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian), and as a matter of fact the church where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord was a wonderful non-denominational church (Friends … Forever).
So we prayed and relied upon a tried and true method that had worked for Gary and myself twice before (yes, this is indeed goofy) – we went and started pulling out church names from the phone book (Well if We’re Going to Have Kids)!
Gary chose one first, which was a fairly new church not far from our home. It was a wonderful Baptist church, and we met the pastor after the service. He was delightful, and his sermon was right on point with our beliefs. Definitely in the running!
The next week we let Jeffrey pick, and he chose a non-denominational church also close to where we lived. They had a guest speaker that week, but the worship was a’rockin’, and again we felt like this definitely could be a good choice.
The following week was my pick, and I chose an Assembly of God church that we drove by often. Again the sermon was right on target, and after the service the pastor came up and introduced himself. He asked us our story, and we were very honest with him about just moving to the area and not being sure where the Lord wanted us to plug in as far as a new church.
But quite frankly it was what the pastor did after we shared our story that made us eventually decide to join the Assembly of God church. What was it, you ask?
When we had told him that we were basically – well, church shopping – he put his arms around us and began to pray. He prayed for us as a family, and he prayed that God would direct us to where He wanted us to go. In no way did he try and push us into joining his church – he wanted what God desired in our lives. Quite frankly he blew us away with his humility and love. Definitely fit into the principles taught in 1 Corinthians 12:18 where it states that God places people just where He wants them.
We did end up not making a final decision on churches for a couple of months because we really wanted to make sure, and were floored that just about every church we visited had good solid foundational preaching.
However after a time, we really felt that God wanted us at Redmond Assembly of God – and we were so blessed there!
A big thing for us was making sure that Jeffrey felt comfortable joining the youth, so one Sunday we went to meet the youth pastor.
Gary and I had trained ourselves to watch people’s faces when they communicated with Jeffrey, and often we could tell right off the bat whether things might work out or not. This young pastor? He came over, made a bee-line to Jeffrey, gave him a “high five,” and basically said something to the effect, What’s happening my man?
He was treating Jeffrey exactly the same way we had seen him treat all the other kids Jeffrey’s age. Okay, we were SOLD!
Things were definitely starting to shape up in our new town and state, and we were really getting excited as to just what God had in store for us in Central Oregon.