As you may or may not have read, we are looking for a new church. If you didn’t read that post, go check it out now. It’s a short, sweet, and to the point on our process for finding a new church home. We had plans, and God has shaken them up! We thought we knew what we were looking for, but we were wrong.
The first church we decided to visit was Berachah Church in Middletown. It is two minutes from our house and the first thing we loved about it is the short drive. Ahhh… it was so nice to sleep in and not rush out the door to drive 20 minutes to church.
We had an idea of what we were going to find at Berachah: contemporary worship, biblical teaching, and godly people. Those were the things we were looking for. But NONE of those things were what drew us in to the church.
We walked in and it was terrifying. We had gone to our previous church for FIVE years. That is a long time. We knew everyone, everyone knew us. You walked in and it was “home,” not terrifying. We didn’t see a single face we knew when we walked in the doors. I felt like crying, I missed my church family. I wanted someone I knew to walk up and hug me. To say, “Hey, how was your week?” I put the fear aside, grabbed the bulletin, and sat down with Rob to wait for Sunday School to start.
As we sat there we glanced at the paper we had picked up. There were typical announcements about the upcoming activities for the week, but at the bottom was the tithe report. Tithing is important to us. We tithe and feel that it is an important part of spiritual growth. Matthew 6:21 says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” To see a church that tithed ABOVE what the goal was for the week just made me feel absolutely drawn to the church immediately. If people are tithing, they care. Their hearts are invested. Tithing was NOT something we even thought to look at when searching for a church, but God pointed it out to us and showed us how important it is.
So we sat through Sunday School and enjoyed what we heard. As the service started the music was good, but lots of places have good music. But then Pastor Lamar came up to introduce a new pastor to the church. Pastor Derwin and his family had just arrived in Middletown to begin serving at Berachah. They traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to come and serve in Ohio. That’s quite a distance. To show their love for this new pastor and his family, Berachah had collected gift cards. The family were presented with a huge box of gift cards to places like Shell and Kroger, but they also got a pillow. It was a nice pillow, white and very comfy looking. On that pillow were 6 golden tickets, one for each member of the family. I know what you may be thinking… Willy Wonka isn’t real, and you’re right. Those golden tickets turned out to be gold passes to Kings Island. (If you aren’t familiar, a gold pass is the top level season pass to the amusement park nearby.) The thoughtfulness and love that the people of Berachah showed this new family absolutely blew me away. I literally had tears in my eyes. I didn’t realize that deep care and appreciation of pastors was that important to me, but it is.
After church, Rob and I sat at the dining room table and talked about what we thought. We both had cried at the generosity of Berachah towards Pastor Derwin and his family. The place we had come from did not treat the pastors like that, and they should have. Rob had the same realization that God could be calling us to Berachah at that same time I did.
We followed through with our plan (you can read that here) and worshiped at Berachah for 4 weeks, attended Sunday school, and got to know people. While we did love Berachah we aren’t sure that it will be our home. We want to continue with our plan and check out a couple churches before making a “final” decision. If you are looking for a church in the Middletown, OH area I’d highly recommend checking out Berachah.
We are continuing to pray that God will lead us to the church that we are supposed to grow and serve at.
If you’d like to learn more about this church, please visit their website: www.placeofblessing.com