I could have said, “another church” in the title instead of a “home church”, but that simply is not the case. To be completely honest, I’ve never truly had a home church. At Second Baptist Church, the place I’ve called home for the past five years, I was never involved in youth group, and I never attended sunday school. Normally, I would just attend church service and head on home.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what church I want to commit myself to in the future. There’s the obvious choice in Houston Chinese Church (HCC). I’ve been a part of their summer fellowship the past two years, and I’ve been going to camp as a camper or counselor for the past seven years. God used the people from this church to reach me when I was unbelieving and still, to this day, uses those same people to grow my faith and my relationship with Him. I know I could find a nice niche and comfortable growing environment at HCC, probably through Basic, their young adult ministry.
The second choice, although one that I’ve always immediately shot down, is Chinese Baptist Church (CBC). This semester, I felt that God was calling me to be a counselor for their winter retreat, and I’m so glad I followed Him there. Some of the most influential people in my life had come from CBC, so many that I could hardly take it as coincidence; Michael, Michelle, Mary, Justin, and Gregory. Ever since high school, I had always wanted to meet the CBCers, and I finally had a chance to interact with the youth and college kids. Michael and I had a chat on the last night of the retreat, and he shared about the community of the church. CBC is just one big family, and trying to process and keep track of all the family relations gave me a huge headache. Coming back Saturday, I felt refreshed and wanting to experience more of CBC’s church environment. And I did just that; I attended my first Sunday chinese church service, ever. There are two sides of community. On one hand, you can feel completely loved and integrated. On the other, you can feel excluded because the community is so united, and you feel like you’re fighting to become a part of it, to be accepted. I felt both feelings at the retreat, and the latter magnified on Sunday.
So, here’s the deal. Community is really important to me for two reasons:
- The reason I’ve never been baptized is I want to be committed to a church community that I will love and serve. I want to be a part of a community and stand proud as I declare my faith to the church. Albeit, it feels intimidating potentially getting baptized in front of a congregation that generally baptizes kids between second and fourth grade.
- I also want to choose a church that will be able to help me minister to my parents. The purpose of the retreat was to set our hearts on missions, and right now, my mission field is my family. Paul reminded me of that. The church I choose needs to be a place where I can invite my family into and feel loved and accepted. It needs to have a solid cantonese speaking community. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a factor for me in choosing a church, but it’s still really important to me.
I’ve always disliked when people who choose not to attend an event because a lack of other people attending, but I might have to make an exception in this case because choosing a church is wholly dependent on the community. I’m beginning to love this community, and I love challenges.
God, please give me grace and wisdom in choosing where to be.