There is nothing quite like church shopping.
To be honest, the whole process is daunting.

Shortly after one of our moves across the country, we started the process of searching for a church.
I started out optimistic.
Then a year went by…
And because of various circumstances and life events, we were still searching.

We heard about a small church plant that was starting up across town.
It was in the very early stages.
They were meeting in an old movie theater at the time.

Hey, why not?

So we went to the movie theater church.

Movie theater church was different.
I could not put my finger on it at the time, but something was very different from all the others.

The atmosphere was the most comfortable place I had ever been.
There were certainly no pews or dress codes.
There was an amazing sense of authenticity among the people there.
It was simply a room of twenty-somethings, some with kids, some without kids…
All with the same purpose in mind.

A true community

There certainly was no organized ‘children’s church’ yet.
The kids were all put in the same room (supervised, of course) while the adults were meeting.
Just a bunch of kids in a room, getting to play with one another.

When we went to go pick up our kids that first night, my three-year-old was running around like a crazy person
In his underpants.

One of the workers looked at me, a little unsure on how to tell me that
“He wouldn’t keep his pants on.”

It was great!
Seriously

You know why?
Because he was himself. He felt just as free to be himself as we felt free to be ourselves with the other couples.
There was no act.
There was no pressure to be someone you were not.

And I knew instantly
These were our people.

We did have to have a talk with our three-year-old about wearing pants and all that, don’t get me wrong.

But we were finally home.

Sometimes we tend to put such a huge emphasis on ‘programs’ in churches.
There are some we will not even try unless we know how good of a children’s program there is or what they have to offer us.

When we do that, we are totally missing the point of church.

That was what I learned from our years at movie theater church.

Sometimes we get all caught up in what the church has to offer us
Instead of focusing on it being a tightly-knit community of people following the same purpose:
Which should be helping one another grow together as we learn about God, how to live a life that reflects our relationship with Him, and ultimately to point others to Him
In a way that is real.

Everything else is just a bonus.

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