Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Transitioning to a New Congregation

I had thought that I was done with blogging, but I was mistaken. I've discovered that I may need to write a little more every once in a while.

This is a week of transition for my family. Nearly a month and a half ago, we decided to move from one congregation to another.

Eleven years ago, Janet and I became involved in Tulsa Urban Ministry, a cooperative effort of Churches of Christ in the Tulsa area to serve and to reach the urban poor of our community. In March 2002, the urban ministry became the Contact Church of Christ. We have served in the church in a variety of ways since its beginning.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed our final Sunday as members of the Contact Church. Janet taught the 2- and 3-year old children's class during Sunday school. I presented the Communion message and prayer. Our son Christopher helped serve the Communion and take up the offering. It was a nice moment, because we left serving a congregation we love.

A few months ago, we started attending Cedar Ridge Christian Church on Wednesday nights. The Contact Church does not have Wednesday evening programming; and we wanted to expose our son to more Bible teaching during the week (than what he was already receiving at home), so we checked into the Cedar Ridge Church. From that first Wednesday evening, our son connected strongly with the other kids and with the teachers in his Bible class. He absolutely loved it and was eager to return each week. He loved having fun with other boys his age, and he loved the challenge of learning memory verses and the books of the entire Bible. He was rewarded each time he was able to recite a memory verse (or the books of the New Testament or Old Testament), each time he showed up early, and each time he brought his Bible with him. He was able to participate with others in packing shoe boxes full of toys to ship to poor children overseas as Christmas gifts.

After several weeks, Janet and I realized that Christopher needed to be in a congregation full-time in which he felt connected to friends who were a positive influence in his life. And the truth is, Janet and I have enjoyed being with the Cedar Ridge Church, too. One of Janet's old friends from her hometown happened to see us walking through the halls on our first night of visiting the church, so we already had a personal connection within the congregation. And I especially appreciated the congregation's solid conservative theology as I attended Bible classes and heard online sermons from its website.

Over the last few weeks, we have told a couple of the Contact Church's leaders about our decision to move. They have been very understanding, realizing that we have made a difficult decision to move to another congregation, especially since we love the church so much. We appreciate their understanding and friendship. (And we plan to visit a few times a year.) We also look forward to working with Cedar Ridge Christian Church as members of our soon-to-be new congregation. (The children's minister has already asked us to volunteer, even though we have not formally joined yet. I imagine it's just a matter of time before we'll be back to teaching more kids about Christ again.)