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Trying to find a church in small town

Discussion in 'Conservative Christianity' started by Maryek, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Maryek

    Maryek New Member

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    Hello all,
    A few years ago I moved to a small town in Alaska and haven't been able to find a church that feels right for me. The only way to leave town is by boat or plane so I can't just try churches in the next town over. I was a member of an Episcopal church in my hometown, but this particular church was quite conservative. That is not the case with the Episcopal church in my new town which is quite liberal. I am a conservative Christian who prefers a traditional worship service. I have considered joining an LCMS church, but there are two hangups I have with them: I have a hard time accepting the practice of closed communion (my old church allowed all baptized Christians to take communion) and I have never believed that the pastor has the power to forgive sins (The priest at my old church announced God's forgiveness but never said the phrase "I forgive you of your sins"). I know LCMS wants everyone in their church to be in agreement so I wouldn't feel right about pretending to agree with them just so I can go there. I feel like basically stuck between going to a church that is too liberal for me and one that is slightly too conservative. Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do?
     
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  2. coffee4u

    coffee4u Active Member

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    I would find a church that holds the most important things correct and let the small things go. I would not attend either of those. What other churches are there?
     
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  3. dailyprayerwarrior

    dailyprayerwarrior Member

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    First of all, thank you for sharing your struggle. Secondly, there is no perfect church. I like the advice already given. Find a church where the most important things to you are upheld and cover what is missing for you in Christ's love + grace.
     
  4. Maryek

    Maryek New Member

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    There are a couple of non-denominationals (which are basically Baptist), ELCA, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. I've visited almost all of them except Baptist (I was raised Baptist but not very interested in going back to that), Methodist and Russian Orthodox.
     
  5. devin553344

    devin553344 I believe in the Resurrection

    +2,182
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    I would go to the Catholic church and ignore any imperfections.
     
  6. Anguspure

    Anguspure Kaitiaki Peacemakers NZ Supporter

    +1,661
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    I have a similar issue, although my issue is more related to limited time availability as well as geographical isolation.
    My thought is that we should connect to the Church that is geographically closest to us. Note that the letters to the Churches in the Bible were addressed according to location, not denomination. Further to this our purpose for connecting to a Church should be about what we can offer and how we may contribute to the community, not about what we get out of it. If you want music or teaching that tickles your ears, the internet offers boundless possibilities.
    Finding and connecting with a real community of believers is also necessary and a whole lot more difficult to do.
     
  7. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +7,548
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    Pentecostal
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    When I arrived in Auckland NZ after spending around 8 years in Baptist churches, I wanted to go to one within walking distance from home, and the only one was a Presbyterian church. I had misgivings at first, but found that it was Evangelical and the preacher preached the gospel. It took me a little while to get used to the more formal way Presbyterians run their services, but I too, spent some years in an Anglican church in another city, so I am used to liturgical services. But my church had some aspects to it like processing the Bible in at the start of services, and singing the Lord's prayer; but all else was not much different from the Baptist churches I fellowshipped with. So after a few weeks, I became as mad as the rest of them!

    Going to a new church always feels strange at first, but there is a stage where you get bonded in and become part of the hard core of the congregation. If I went somewhere else, which I am intending to later this year, I would be preferring fellowshipping at a Baptist church if I couldn't find a good Evangelical Presbyterian church close to where I am going to be living.

    So, I would start going to the Baptist church and give it three months. If you are not bonded in and are accepted as part of their church life, then you can conclude it might not be the church for you. It seems that out of all of them, the Baptist church would be the one that preaches the gospel more clearly than the others in your locality.

    I have found that because my faith is in Christ and not in churches, I don't care where I fellowship, because I can worship God in any church because it is God whom I worship from my heart in spirit and in truth, and even if everyone else is just giving lip service to the liturgy or hold liberal beliefs, I don't have to be like that. Also, I believe, as a true Spirit filled believer, I can make a difference to the life of any church that I decide to fellowship with.

    Even in that liberal Episcopalian church, you will certainly find a hard core of believers who love the Lord, His Word, and His gospel, and birds of a feather will flock together, and you will quickly find them once you start going there and people start to get to know you.
     
  8. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would go to the church were people love God the most. In a small community that maybe the church where the people love each other the most.
     
  9. Anguspure

    Anguspure Kaitiaki Peacemakers NZ Supporter

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    Of course another approach might be to ask the Spirit where it is that He wants you to go.
     
  10. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +7,548
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    I don't do that, because the Scripture says:
    "Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
    but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you"
    (Psalm 32:9).
    The Holy Spirit is not a micro-manager. He has given us a new heart and spirit so that whenever we use our common sense and think about the pros and cons about a decision we are to make, He will lead us whether we are aware of it or not.
    The Scripture says that those who are led of the Spirit are the sons of God. This means that as sons of God we are led of the Spirit all the time. We may be aware of using our own judgment concerning an issue, and plan our own way, as the Scripture says, that a man may plan his way, but his steps are ordered by the Lord.

    I chose my church because it was the closest, but after a few weeks, I knew that the Spirit had led me there. I didn't ask the Spirit to put His bridle on me and His bit in my mouth as if I was a dumb horse or mule who can use its brain and needs to be led everywhere.

    If we get too dependent on the "Spirit" to guide us, we might end up following the wrong spirit!
     
  11. Anguspure

    Anguspure Kaitiaki Peacemakers NZ Supporter

    +1,661
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    Possibly, but we should also listen to His voice, Yeshua himself did nothing apart from that which His Father was saying. Nothing wrong with asking a friend of mine what He thinks is best.
     
  12. coffee4u

    coffee4u Active Member

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    I would try the Baptist church first and then the other protestant churches if I needed to.
     
  13. Maryek

    Maryek New Member

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    I've been considering trying the Baptist church, but I just never felt that was the church for me as a child. My parents are Baptist so I was taken to a Baptist church as a child and teen. I much prefer a litugical service on top of the fact that I have doctrinal issues with the Baptist church as well. I suppose I just need to find a congregation that is ok with me not agreeing with them on everything. I do enjoy Catholic churches but communion is important to me and I would never be able to receive it there since I am not Catholic and don't think I would ever become Catholic due to not completely agreeing with their theology. Thank you to everyone who has responded
     
  14. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member

    +2,233
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    Here is a radical idea.

    Why not talk to the ministers/preachers of those churches whose believes you share about how they would view your worshipping regularly with them.
    Would they chase you out of town for your heretical believes or welcome you with open arms?
    or something inbetween.
     
  15. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +7,548
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    I apologise for getting a little off topic, but I always warn people about listening to voices because many in the Charismatic movement are listening to any voice that gives them directions, and this is because the Charismatic attitude is that anything supernatural has to come from the Holy Spirit. This has given rise to the mainstream Charismatic movement, in many areas, being riddled with the occult with its associated voices.

    I firmly believe in asking the Holy Spirit for help in making decisions because that is what He is there for, and if the Holy Spirit directs to go to a particular church, and you know beyond doubt that it is the Holy Spirit, (gained through experience and maturity in prayer and the Word), then go for it!

    When I had a problem with my church last December and decided to take a six month break from it (I was burned out after 20 years of active leadership service there), I sensed that the Holy Spirit telling me it was time to go back, make peace with a person who was not very nice to me, forgive him, and go and sit under his ministry to show that I meant my forgiveness of him. When I went back and heard his sermon, he preached exactly what I believe concerning the gospel, and this little voice in the back of my mind which I recognise as the voice of the Spirit, said: "See? You can trust Me when I advise you to sit under his ministry to show your forgiveness of him."

    Before that, when I went back to church after the six months, the guy wasn't there, and as an elder of the church I was invited to take part in the prayer that the Lord would bless the service. I was asked to say the prayer, and just as I was about to start, this came to my mind very strongly and clearly: "WHEN YOU STAND PRAYING, FORGIVE!" That hit me like a ton of bricks! I had to confess to my brethren how I had trouble forgiving the guy, but I will acknowledge that I am willing to forgive him. Once I said that, I felt free to pray and not feel hypocritical about it.

    So, the Holy Spirit does speak. When Satan dropped a condemnation bomb on me recently over some failure on my part, I asked the Lord, "What can I do?" He came back to me, "By grace you are saved through your faith, and it is not of yourself, it is my gift to you, so gird up your loins and believe it!" It is remarkable how the feelings of condemnation took flight very quickly!

    I know when I first joined my Presbyterian church in 1996, I walked in the door, heard the sermon, which I liked, and the Holy Spirit said to me, "This is the church for you!" That was 23 years ago, and twenty of those years I have been an elder, worship leader, treasurer, and preacher! So, when the Holy Spirit speaks and we obey, God blesses us.

    But we must be sure that it is the Holy Spirit that we are hearing in our heads, and the only way to be able to discern that is to be people of prayer and of the Word. Then we will be able to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit apart from the voices of world, flesh and the devil.
     
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  16. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +21,956
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    Hi, Maryek.

    That's quite a potpourri of answers that have been given so far, wouldn't you say?

    As I look at the question, I first try to answer with your own issues in mind, not urging some church on you that I like but which is unlike anything you are looking for.

    That accomplished, I think the Methodist church would be the closest to your previous church and your personal preferences.

    Methodist churches generally rival the Episcopal ones these days in being liberal, but they are not all identical. The liturgy, etc. would be toned down, somewhat like a 'low church' Episcopal parish, but the essentials remain, which is not so surprising given that Methodism came out of Anglicanism. And the two issues you identified for us would be solved.
     
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