As a Christian, one of the most important things in my life is our church. Jason and I really really loved our church - Watkinsville First Baptist in Athens, GA where we met and attended college at University of Georgia (GO DAWGS!). We loved this church because they did a great job of reaching out to college students. They have a college students breakfast every fall when new freshman arrive where they provide free food for all. It's a good time to get freshman plugged into a good church right off the bat. Plus they have an awesome Sunday School class for college students. One of the reasons we really liked it is because when we went there, they had everyone sit around round tables. For half of the time we would discuss questions with each - which helped us get to know lots of other people our age at the church. After being there a year or so, we started to get involved. I helped out in the nursery for a few years and Jason got involved with the worship team - he played the saxophone. He loved this opportunity and made lifelong friends during all the time he spent practicing and playing on Wednesdays and Sundays. Although the worship team always wanted to record a worship album, they never pulled it off while we were in Athens. However, they finally accomplished their goal and published one this week! You can find more info about the worship album here.
|Here's Jason doing his thang at worship band practice|
|Here's a photo of the Watksinville chapel we got married in.|
So all that to say, when we found out we were leaving Athens and headed to Augusta - we were a tad devastated. How would we ever find a church that measured up to Watkinsville? True- it was hard to leave our friends in Athens, both from school and from church, but we were also excited about finding something new.
During our first few weeks in Augusta, we tried out various churches. I grew up going to a pretty wide variety of churches. When I was really young, we went to a large Baptist church. During my pre-teen and teenage years, we went to an Assemblies of God church that we were heavily involved in. Then, around the time I left for college, my parents found a Southern Baptist Church - Johnson Ferry Baptist that they switched to. Since we had really agreed with everything that they taught at Watksinville, we mainly looked at Baptist churches in the Augusta area, although we were up for a few other options as well. After a few months of search and praying for a good church to come our way, we found our current home church, Warren Baptist - http://www.warrenbaptist.org - it is located in Augusta, GA off of Washington Rd. We go to Sunday School at 9:20 and Contemporary Worship Service in Simmons Hall at 10:45.
Right off the bat we liked the solid, biblical preaching that we heard from our head pastor. We really like how he preaches the truth of the word, and doesn't worry about being politically correct, or making people feel good. Instead he challenges us - this is exactly what we were looking for. Plus, the church is very missions and ministry based. It works in conjunction with a lot of local charities, something that Jason and I both want to spend more time doing in the near future. Plus, they have mission trips throughout the year - like the one Jason is going on next week.
One of the things that really sealed the deal for us during one of our visits to Warren was when we saw that they were starting a Nearly-Married/Newly-Married Sunday School class the next week. We had been looking for a church that not only a) had Sunday School Classes - you'd be surprised how many didn't - but b) also has Small Groups during the week. Well this class provided all that and more. Through our involvement in this class, we met a lot of other couples like us who were just starting out. Lots of them had even moved to Augusta for medical school like us! Since we didn't have any family in the area, it was such a blessing to have other believers in our lives to encourage us and provide much needed friendship. We have enjoyed lots of fun times with this group and have now had to move onto a Young Married Class (since we are no longer technically "Newlyweds"). Jason was even asked to co-teach this class- so we are thankful that God has given us a place to serve in this stage in our lives.
I want to echo what Kelly said in her post and really encourage those of you out there who don't go to church to try it out! It really isn't all that scary. I mean yes, it can be a little awkward the first time or two, but before long you will start to get to know people. Also, if you go to church but still don't feel like you have community there, try out a Sunday School and/or a Small Group. At our church we meet on Sundays and Monday for Small group/Bible Study with the same group of people and it has really helped us get to know each other better. There is nothing like studying the Bible together in a small group/Bible Study setting. I look forward to Mondays every week because of our Bible Studies.
So if you haven't already found a church, try some out and pray that God leads you to the one where you belong. Sure, no church is perfect, but there is a perfect one for you, where you can find a place where you are needed and where you can serve others, inside and outside the congregation. It's so true, if you are single, then what better place than church to find friends and even a future spouse? If you are married, what better place to be strengthened in your marriage than in a Sunday School or Small Group with other couples in the same boat? Just be brave and visit around until you find a place is right.
Until next time... http://www.warrenbaptist.org