Churches in Lakeland

Hello -

This is just a rant in general about churches down here.

Chris, I, and the girls have been looking for a church we can all really get involved in, and that inspires us to do great things.

Unfortunately - even finding a church online in this general area is dang near impossible.

I don't know if it's because I've been marketing online so long, but I don't think any church in this town knows how to put an advertisement on Google. Which, to me, is freaking ridiculous! At the very least they could have a listing for the town, whenever someone looks up -- Lakeland and Church.

Anyhow - I've spent hours scouring the web, the phone book, newspapers, and even visiting some possibilities only to find nothing that matches.

Now, I know you might be saying...
'Well, there's no such thing as a perfect church, Al!'

And I totally agree with you. BUT - I do know, because I've experienced it, that our entire family should be able to leave a church, and feel 'semi'-comfortable having been there.

And that just hasn't happened yet.


My hat is off to Rob Goodwin, for marketing his church, even though it's WAY smaller in size that most churches in this town, better than any church in the city of Lakeland Florida.

We'll try another one soon.



Jason V said...

Dude, I'm asking a big question like you are: What should you look for in a Church to attend? Or is it something that you can actually list ahead of time? It's like when you met Christy. Sure, you wanted someone Cute and Smart and such, but I think that it was after you met and such that you knew something was "right".

So do we have to go around and visit every freaking place around here and go through that whole tiresome process, or can we come up with a list in "decending" order of priorities? "Good teaching", "Welcoming", "Outreach focused"... or is it more simple "Not stuck on themselves" and "Not dysfunctional" like a certain place in town here.


Our Blogs said...

Hey Jason,

Always good to hear from you.


Good question!

One which we've been asking a lot. I think, for us, it has to be something where their philosophy matches ours - at least somewhat.

And then - if that seems like a match - from research on the website, or a phone call to the office, or from talking to someone we know, or something like that. Then we (might) go visit. IF we actually decide to visit, then here's our next step.
(That's what has been so hard for me - I can't find any matches on the web, and we don't know a lot of other people who know much about other churches in the area).

Here's a big part for us...

- We want it to be Spirit filled. (or at least be 'alive' in their belief in what Christ can do in their lives)

- The kids need to be able to handle the church, at least on a semi-enjoyable level.

- There has to be some kind of 'top-level' support of church members/elders, who welcome, integrate, and encourage new people, and get them connected into the church.

I hope that is somewhat clear?

Talk soon,

Our Blogs said...

Comment 2:

The place we were going was a pretty close match. And we 'maybe' could have stayed there, except for 2 things...

1. The girls didn't like their Sunday School class (at all) - they didn't have a chance to meet with any of the other kids, or talk with them, or spend time with them during class. The class was designed for the kids to just sit there during class, not to move around, and definitely not to talk with each other.

2. Although I think members of the church were super nice and welcoming, I don't think the church leadership were really behind (and supported) the small groups. I never heard them talk about it, or condone it, during a church service.

For the life of me, I can't understand why you would want to have a big, expensive, mega-church mentality without trying to get your church members connecting (somehow) in small groups?


Jason V said...

OK, your points are valid.
1) I think that you could have worked on kids classes, possibly. (depends on attitude of teachers)
2) This is a hard one. Harvest brought in a "small group" pastor, and it was hit-or-miss. Sonrise had Kev, and I think that the Thursday night "abundant life" took off and grew. So, we've seen both sides. Now that Kev is gone, we'll see what happens.
FYI: in case you haven't heard, Kev Howard and family moved to Idaho last month.

I think there is a HUGE dependence on the "attitude" of the pastor and people working under he/she. Humble and servants heart, or "We know what we're doing, we're in charge, and you can shut-up or get out". :)

Of course, you are the type of people to get in and get your hands dirty and help out if they say "Yes, help us out! We want to improve like you suggest!".

I hope you can find something good.
This was good but missing the leadership aspect:


Jason V said...

PS: This was funny...

He was of the opinion that you shouldn't just "hop" out of a church for what he considers small/personal items. (i.e. fixable or such)

It's a pain to make relationships in a church, adjust your life around it, give it money, help it grow, then have to start over. :(