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How to Find a New Church

There is wisdom in staying put. Of letting worship grow to a comfortable familiarity. Only then can we realize the deeper call of worship, which is to be part of a worshiping community. And being part of a community means staying put, rolling up your sleeves and not leaving when the next best thing sets up camp a few towns over.

I think there was a deep significance to the fathers of our faith setting up hilltop altars for worship and to churches being made of stone that lasts for centuries. These forerunners of our faith new that worship was to be passed on like a torch from generation to generation, and that place was deeply important to that.

I wrote these words several weeks ago, the same week I accepted a job that would move my family a few hundred miles away, leaving the church plant we have been a part of behind. Talk about ironic.

As I have casually perused the websites of churches in the area we will be moving to, I realize that none of the churches we will visit in the coming months will be “the same.” When the place changes everything goes out the window. You have to re-learn and adapt to the new community. That’s why leaving one place for another should never be taken lightly. At the same time, moving does happen for a reason. We all have had to move in order to come to a place of stability at one point or another.

What mystifies me is the art of finding a new church, and I am looking to you for some help:

How have you gone about looking for a new church in the past? 
What are dealbreakers and what are the quirks you learned to live with? 
How many weeks do you try out a church for?


Prayer for the Fifth Week of Pentecost

Glory be to God,

His light shines on all, both good and evil.
No one can hide from the light of his love.

The power of his Spirit hovers over the earth,
giving strength to the weary and peace to the meek.

Our worries and cares become his own,
and his love conquers all, through Christ the King.

Amen


Prayer for the Fourth Week of Pentecost

God Almighty,

The birds sing your praises,
the wind carries your name to all
corners of the earth,
and the rain resounds with your goodness.

All creation praises you who hovered over the waters.

Bless us with your power, that we may see your kingdom come
and your will be done on earth. May heaven come down
and meet us.

Amen


Prayer for the Fourth Week of Pentecost

God Almighty,

You are a God of new beginnings,
a God on the move,
a God of change, of wonder, and faithfulness.

Your Word stands true when the laws of men falter,
Your strength endures when the strength of men fails.

The power of your Spirit convicts us and leads us on the path
of righteousness.

Lead us to your kingdom, that your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.

Amen


Partner with IJSM, Start a Prayer Community

One of the ways you can support me in my new role at International Justice Mission is by joining an IJM Prayer Community. It’s simple to get started.

GATHER. Invite a small group of friends – just two or more. Form a new group or ask your current group to join you in doing the work of justice through prayer.

RECEIVE. Sign up for IJM’s weekly prayer updates so you can join us in prayer for pressing needs around the world. You can get urgent prayer requests through the IJM mobile app (for Apple, Android and Windows). And IJM will keep you updated on some exciting new ways to get real-time prayer requests from every IJM office, plus more resources to equip you to pray for IJM’s work.

PRAY. Pray together at least once a month. There’s no formula. Pray however your group chooses: out loud all at once, quietly taking turns, sitting on someone’s couch or pleading from your knees. Pray through IJM’s weekly prayer updates or focus on one country at a time. Come before the God of justice and ask him to show up.

SHARE. Tell us you’re starting a group so that IJM can stay in touch. IJM will share breakthroughs as God responds to our prayers, and you will be equipped with new resources to empower you to keep praying. IJM would also love to hear from you, so please send a message any time!

I would also love to know if you have started an IJM Prayer Community. Even if you cannot commit to organizing your own community, signing up for the weekly updates is a great way to keep IJM in your prayers.


Prayer for Desperate Situations

Today I am featuring a guest post by Lisa Delay. She is the author of the recently published Soul Care for Creators and Communicators.

In Catholic tradition, St. Jude is an advocate for hopeless cases. Pleading for help and petitioning his assistance are meted out in the prayer to St. Jude. Evangelicals have prayer chains, prayer circles, prayer meetings and prayer warriors. These field those types of requests, and when things are extra desperate fasting is involved. When wanting privacy the proverbial “unspoken request” is utilized. This spoken yet unspoken request likely ignites curiosity like no other prayer requests can.

How much do we believe God cares for us? Is his superintendence and succor established on the circumstances surrounding our need or by simply being his children?

As we encounter desperate times, let us never lose sight of the place that is ours, the apple of the eye of the Good, Sovereign, and Caring Creator and Savior, the Lord of Hosts. As we bring him our requests may we be fortified by the truth that his care and love is ongoing. We needn’t attract him to our cause by extravagant displays or extraordinary means and pleas, but rather may we accept his grace. To get us started, I have written a “Prayer for Desperate Situations”:

Oh, God,

May I receive the consolations and succor of You above all else.

First, let me realize your nature is Good and Caring of me and my needs.

Nothing can truly harm me, for your are my Protector.

Second, let me rely fully on you to meet me and my needs as your loving provision allows so well.

Secure my heart and my mind for your good and perfect will;

And let me enter this time of trail aware of and thankful for your Presence.

Your Grace has been and will be now all sufficient for me.

Even most thoroughly through your saving son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.