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Sunday Morning

July 11, 2010

-Dollywood Chapel, my new Church.

The last time I went to church was at Dollywood.

Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s theme park in East Tennessee – complete with wooden roller coasters and giant chili dogs.  We went last month (GOLD. PASS. MEMBERS. PEOPLE.) for a family weekend.

Dollywood holds a Sunday Service once a week   My extremely godly husband herded our family into the small chapel next to the Wild Bird Sanctuary and Glass Blowing shop on Sunday morning.  We all sat for thirty minutes on wooden pews, sang hymns, and listened to a sermon.  It was lovely.

Next week we were still traveling.  The following Sunday I had a bad cold.  The next Sunday Jon-David was sick.  The next week I slept in…and so on.

This morning I realized it has been weeks since I went to church.

How did this happen?  My church attendance has become extremely sporadic over the last two years.  Even though I was very connected in church through college and even as a young mom, I have slowly grow cold in my relationship with a local group of believers.

Among other things, it’s really embarrassing.  All my friends all really plugged in a church.  They may not love everything about their churches, but they go every week.  They serve.  They show up.

I don’t. Not anymore, not really.

I have a list of excuses – and some of the excuses are quite good.  But the bottom line is I miss being a deep part of a church.

I miss being in a home group. I miss meeting together weekly with a group of people, always forgetting to bring my dessert, and feeling accepted anyway. I miss sharing prayer requests.  I miss being annoyed by the prayer time running over.

I miss regularly getting lost in worship, the way that only happens in a corporate setting. I miss the unity that comes when a large group of people is focusing together on Jesus.

I miss discussing sermons with Hugh throughout the week, talking excitedly about the new things we are learning, and occasionally having heated discussions.

I miss people knowing my name when I walk in the building, knowing my story, loving my anyway.

I don’t want the next two years to look like the last two years with church, but I’m not sure where to start.

Maybe I could drive the four hours to Dollywood every weekened?  It’s the only thing that’s really worked lately.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2010 8:04 am

    time to roll up your sleeves and pray about which ministry to join. Don’t be limited by what you think you’d like to do or what you’ve done in the past… pray about them all. Then, take a deep breath and sign up. I find that a little accountability mixed with serving in the church makes me feel less like ‘optional company’ and more like family. It gets me there, and makes me more comfortable when I am there. It doesn’t have to be your ‘life calling’- but just taking a simple baby step might make all the difference.

    (understanding that’s easier said than done… and NOT judging…. girl, you’ve had quite a lotta months of trials. just giving you a friendly nudge:) )

  2. July 11, 2010 4:19 pm

    What about and United House of Prayer for All Peoples? I hear they have a couple large congregations in Charlotte. Sometimes B is our pastor and we do home church with our workers.

  3. July 11, 2010 8:28 pm

    I know the enemy loves to get us separated. To cause us to pull away from the church, to pull away from other believers. Maybe it’s kind of like in the wild…how it’s easier to pick off animals on their own as opposed to the ones tucked in with the herd? And maybe I’m just nuts and my mind wanders to random thoughts. 🙂
    Praying for you…for you to feel connected, to feel like part of a family. That was one of my prayers last year as we were in church transition. And I am so thankful for the church family He has placed us in.

  4. July 11, 2010 10:12 pm

    I’m a preacher’s wife and the truth is that I struggle with church. There… I said it. I am feeling like I live in a congregation of apathy and I don’t know what to do about it. I have taught lessons, I have spent hours serving, I have done this and done that… on and on. At the end of the day, I am so totally frustrated. I try to keep my chin up for my husband but he is discouraged too.

    I understand your struggle to plug in. I really, truly do. Praying for you.

  5. July 18, 2010 7:08 pm

    Um…I am your friend and I don’t go to church…but Dollywood sounds great! Lets go there together sometime!

  6. July 22, 2010 3:33 pm

    Hey Jess, I haven’t mentioned this before because I thought you were plugged in at your new church, but some dear friends of mine have started a church in Mooresville about a year ago and I have always wondered if you might enjoy going there. They meet at 10:30am on Sundays at the Fairfield Inn Marriott in Mooresville, NC. It’s off exit 36 on I-77. You can call the pastors Martin and Dora at 704-929-5879 for other meeting times and locations.

    You know I am not into pimping the church or pressurizing you into going, right? I just know this couple well and I know their hearts – and believe me they are precious. Down-to-earth and very un-religious but very passionate about worshipping Jesus, and about the word of God.

    Be free, OK?

    I have always loved your heart and your honesty and I am soooooooo glad that you are writing again. I missed you. 🙂

  7. July 29, 2010 6:11 pm

    its been 11 months since i was baptized, and i’m super happy in my church. it was NOT always that way for me. It took me 24 years to find where i belong, and i know how hard it is being ‘lost’ out there and looking at all the churchs. the important thing is that you keep looking!!! i’m praying for you girl!!!

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