The responds of churches to the Coronavirus was helpful in our quest for a Church Family here in Arizona; it actually made it easier. The first church we attempted to make our home church closed before the governor even ordered to close churches in Arizona. I wonder where all that preaching about God’s power went. It seems like they were very comfortable with the online church. So, they left us!
After weeks of watching church online we were hungry for fellowship with brothers and sisters. I will always thank God for Danielle, one of my wife’s co-workers who invited us to visit her church. I met her husband Allen and we connected right from the start. They introduced us to their pastor, Pastor John. Pastor John, like me, loves golf. He asked me for my Handicap first and then told me that he will call me for a game of golf on a Saturday. For my surprise, Pastor John did call me to play. We had a great fellowship in the golf course. My wife and I visited that church several times without making any commitment.
It was in that church, Harvest Outreach, that I received the first invitation to preach. I played golf with Pastor John a few times. As we were playing a round of golf, pastor John told me that he felt the Spirit telling him to let me preach. When this invitation came, we were also visiting a church in our community. We got a quick invitation to sing in that community church and quickly after, the pastor expressed that he wanted for me to be a pastor there.
We decided to choose the church in our community over Harvest Outreach, probably more out of convenience than anything else. We actually got involved in the music ministry. I never felt at peace there, but it was within walking distance from home. A few months later it was obvious that we made a mistake. No need to go into any details. We left that church; we should have never joined.
My wife and I decided to, for the first time, take our time in finding this home church. At the end of last year I said, we will look and visit churches in our area, and I trust that by March of 2021 the Lord will show us our home church. One Sunday morning we went online and look for churches inside of a half an hour from our home. We had a basic standard. After about 9 hours of searching, we only had five churches in our list.
We visited these churches and again, I don’t want to go into details, but looking for a home church is not easy folks. We found churches consumed with Hillsong, Bethel and Elevation music, we saw churches that looked like shows, we saw churches where a pastor was preaching out of some book outside of the Bible. We went to a church where the front doors were lock with no usher at the door. When they finally open the door, everybody inside was masked up, social distancing; the people were cold, folks afraid of saying hi. After a few songs from the worship team the pastor made his entrance with his bodyguard. We also saw a church that was losing their minds over Trump loosing. The whole service was political; they made it obvious they were Republican.
After all these experiences my wife and I looked at each other wondering what we were willing to compromise. I continued to pray, and my wife continue to pray for God to give me wisdom.
A week or so ago I can’t say that an angel spoke to me or I heard the audible voice of God, but out of nowhere I started thinking deeply about Pastor John and the Harvest Outreach Church. By then we have had good fellowship with Danielle and her husband Allen; we ate at each other’s home a few times. I ate breakfast with a few men from the same church and enjoyed the fellowship and, definitely enjoyed playing golf with pastor John.
I realized that Sunday that Harvest Outreach is our local church. It was the church that was there for us during Covid-19; they kept the doors open and received us with great love. We realized that we are no longer joining churches for the two-hour show on Sundays; if it does not feel like family is not a home church for us. We feel that this church is part of our family. I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do there in us and through us. We are looking forward to learning and serving at Harvest Outreach.