A church home is no different. Once we find a place that we consider "home", there is nothing like being able to settle in and be part of the family. Those who have had difficult experiences in a church home often find it less than appealing to search for another. We have been so blessed to have settled into a new home in the past year.
We were part of the same church family for 11 years before planting a church in a nearby rural town. After four years we appointed a another pastor and returned to our original fellowship. The concept of "you can't go home again" had never hit me harder than it did at that time. Try as we might, we never fit in upon our return. It was a lonely, painful struggle to settle in and find our place in the family. When it became obvious that we needed to move on, we left completely and spent a year healing. We visited a couple of local churches but didn't find any we could call home.
That changed right after Christmas when the Coffee Guy sat me down and said he was ready to get serious about being back in church. We had done a bit of searching here and there over the past few years with no clear answer. We tried a place the first Sunday in January and although we felt welcome, our second visit confirmed that we needed to keep looking.
The next place we went was a chore to keep my heart in the right place. The sound was cranked up, someone I knew stuck her arm straight out and said "I am NOT hugging, I have a cold!". Then I saw a woman whom I had taken up an offense against in my heart. I kept threatening to slip out but stuck with it. By the time we got to the end of the service, I had softened and decided to give this place another chance. After a few weeks we decided to try the "newcomers lunch". On the way out of the lunch the pastor stopped us and invited us to sit back and rest but not for too long because they had plenty of people for us to minister to. We were home.
If you are in search of a spiritual home, let me encourage you to not lose heart. Every follower of Christ has a place where they belong. Sometimes that place will seem peaceful and other times there will be strife amongst family members. Afterall, what family doesn't have things to work on that will help them grow?