You heard what happened the last time we tried to visit a new church. Church hunting can be a disheartening (and dangerous) thing to do. But we're still hoping to find a home, so we've been searching online, trying to find a place.
Then last week, I got a phone call. It was a pastor asking me to come speak at his church, as they're doing the Hope Lives series. That's my second invite to speak. I've always had this secret dream of being a speaker, but in dreams it seems so much hazier and far away and much easier to deal with. For various reasons, I decided to say no. But I checked the church's web site out, and it looked like just what we were looking for: smaller, friendly, focused on relationships, so we decided to visit it.
I told Mike in the parking lot that he wasn't allowed to give away who I was because that'd be weird. But the problem is that I'm not a very good liar myself and I think very slow on my feet. So the very first person we ran into introduced himself and asked us how we found out about the church..."Uhhh......," I stalled. "I talked to the pastor about it." He said, "Oh, and how do you know him?" Flabbergasted by his quick rhetoric, I stammered awkwardly, "Umm, I wrote this book and umm, you're doing it...." It was embarrassing.
After the service, as we turned to go, a man dashed over to meet us before we could escape. I really appreciate that. For years in my old church, I would struggle with meeting the new people who would come, thinking they would think I was weird for talking to them. Now, as a seemingly professional church hunter, I thank God for those people. The pastor also came over and blew our cover, saying, "Hey, did they tell you who they are?", but they were so friendly and he prayed for us and made us feel welcome.
As we left, the same man we'd met on the way in asked me if I was going to speak or something. I didn't know how to tell him no, we were just there because we're looking for a church and you just happen to be doing a series on a book I wrote (though, come to think of it, I could have said just that). So instead, I stammered some more, explained that I'd been asked to speak but wasn't going to, that I had decided it wasn't a good idea, blah, blah, blah...Mike said I made it sound like I was struggling with alcoholism and couldn't be speaking in churches at the present time or something.
Despite my embarrassed stammering, we really enjoyed the church. It seems to answer all of the things we have been looking for in a church. We'd love to return and go to a small group...but now I don't know how to make the entry. Being the author of the series they're doing isn't exactly how I like to introduce myself into situations. It's weird. Can you see me going to a small group doing the book as a study? Someone will answer a question, and I'll cough, look down my nose at them, and tell them they got the answer wrong. I mean, seriously, who wants to do a book study with the author there?
Anyway, we hope to return...but maybe in a couple of weeks.