“So, where do you go to church now?”
If you have ever switched churches or crossed over denominational lines, this question probably strikes fear in your heart. I feel like it is a passive aggressive way of saying, “So, you don’t go to my church anymore. Have you left the faith? I’ll pray for you.”
Whenever someone from a previous church asks me about the church I currently attend, I always feel the need to respond and defend. For instance, last Friday, I bumped into a family friend at dinner. The small talk began, and he then asked, “So are y’all still going to [Such-n-such] Church of Christ?” Obviously, he had no intentions of condemning me; he was simply curious.
“No, we go to Cross Point Community Church now,” I responded. The conversation could have progressed on to another topic at that point, but I felt the need to explain and defend my current position. I quickly continued, “We joined a community group there and we teach Sunday School to the first through third graders. We just love it.”
To cover up the gigantic elephant in the room (that may not have even been there in the first place) about switching denominations, I gave a quick defense argument to justify the switch. While crossing denominational lines seems like a small act, to some, it is up there with re-writing the Bible or ignoring the Constitution. At one point in church history, nearly every church felt as if theirs was the only church that was getting into heaven. The other denominations destined for the lake of fire with the rest of the non-Christians.
It wasn’t enough to beat the Baptists to heaven, but we also had to get out of church early enough to beat them all to lunch. Raise your hand if you thought (or still feel) that way. I would like to hope that very few people still feel this way, but you never know.
In college, I started attending a Baptist Church, and whenever I would go back home, people would ask me which church I attended in Abilene. “Well, I actually go to Beltway BAPTIST!!!!!” No, I didn’t speak in all caps, and I certainly didn’t yell my answer, but that is most likely how it was received. You could have heard the communion cups snapping at the mention of a Baptist Church.
Damage control: “But the preacher is great. He speaks straight from the Bible, and we even had 3 baptisms last week.”
Whew, that was a close one.
When my parents came to visit, I was very nervous about breaking the news to them that we would be going to a Baptist Church the following day. “What time are the services at [Generic] Church of Christ tomorrow?”
“Well, uh….Actually…Er…We’re going to Beltway” (I omitted the Baptist part) “But Max Lucado is preaching tomorrow, so it will be great.”
Case closed. Max Lucado to the rescue. Upon hearing his name, the waters were stilled, and all was at rest. Most of this awkwardness was probably unwarranted. Yes, it was a different experience, but I could tell that my parents were pleased that I was going to church in the first place. To my knowledge, the location/denomination was not an issue. One Sunday at that Baptist Church, my Church of Christ grandmother (in her late 70s at the time) tugged at my arm during the worship time and said with a smile, “I don’t know any of these songs, but I really like the words.”
Have you ever had to confess that you switched denominations?
How was it received?