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Going Steady with Church

When I hit my adolescent years my dad required that before I date any girl I needed to talk to her father first. One of these conversations sticks out in my mind above the rest.

I was talking to Don about wanting to date his daughter. He was open to the idea but wanted me to know what his view was on dating (and subsequently what his girls had grown up being taught). He told them to view dating like grocery shopping: feel free to explore with different kinds of guys and use those relationships to teach you what kind of attributes you want to look for in your future spouse.

I was a bit shocked. I had grown up with the understanding that the more dating relationships you entered, the worse off you would be by the time you got married. I was at a crossroads, trying to decide which school of thought I ought to subscribe to.

Ultimately I decided that the idea of dating around wasn't for me. Years later I married one of my best friends, knowing that we already had chemistry because of our emotional relationship prior to the advances of a physical relationship.

When I look back on my conversation with Don I can't help but draw a comparison between his daughters and many American Christians today. At Parkside 80% (or so) of our new partners come from other churches--churches that had false teaching, unhealthy relationships, or they "just weren't being fed there anymore." It is not uncommon to meet a new face and discover that they are "church shopping" for a new place to worship.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is necessary to explore several church families in order to find one that seems like it is a good fit. The danger is for the Christians who find themselves "church shopping" every couple years or so. There never is a chance to put down roots, build meaningful relationships, and contribute to that church body, instead of just consuming from it.

I believe that God calls us to find a church family that we can relate to and begin pouring into that church with all that we have (Acts 2:42-47). I believe that the best thing we can do for ourselves and for other believers is to connect with and stay steady with one congregation for as long as possible--working through differences, forgiving wrongs done to one another, and contributing to the Body of Christ manifested in that congregation.

I am so appreciative of my friends and family at Parkside Christian Church. Many of them have been faithful attenders, givers, and the lifeblood of this church for their entire lives--some for multiple generations. We aren't perfect, no church is, but we are committed to bringing God glory in all things and we are committed to one another in brotherly (and sisterly) love.

Come check us out some time and stay for a while...

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