Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Perfect Church Service for Faith

Our church service (along with many other services throughout the area) was canceled today because of our spring blizzard. So while I didn't get to go to church, I was still thinking about it! The photos from this post were actually taken from last week's church service. 

Finding “the perfect” church is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you are trying to find one that works well for each member of the family, one of which has special needs. For me the perfect service consists of charismatic praise and worship, an inspiring, truthful message followed by fellowship with other church attendees. For Rob it is different though. He could give or take the praise and worship and get right down to the sermon – the more intellectual the better. Rob likes to take a message he hears and chew on it for days thinking, pondering and mulling it over.

And then there is Faith. She does not like loud and she does not like microphones, sudden clapping or spontaneous "Amens". It has been because of Faith’s special needs and hypersensitivity to loudness that we have searched and searched for a church service that she would be able to tolerate and feel comfortable. 
Faith with Pastor Marc at New Life's Redefinition Cafe Service
In our search for a church, we have gone to many wonderful services in Bismarck and Mandan – including all different denominations such as Lutheran, Catholic, Four Square Gospel, Methodist, and several nondenominational churches. We experienced something positive in each church but none of them seemed like the perfect fit for all three of us. And more times than not, attending church at these services often required sitting way in the back, where it wasn’t so loud and sometimes even sitting in the fellowship hall while watching the service on a big-screen TV. It wasn’t exactly the type of fellowship I personally was looking for.

Finally, last spring some friends of ours invited us to NewLife’s redefinition café service which took place in their office building not far from our home. They assured us the worship music was not very loud and that it was a quiet little service that might work well for Faith. 
New Life's redefinition service - praise and worship
They were right. It is not loud at all. It is perfect. The praise and worship team is often a one-man band with either someone on the piano or someone playing the guitar leading the worship. Instead of being tense, Faith is more relaxed and comfortable with the quieter music and she can now actually enjoy it. Another bonus for her is that there is no microphone required for the little group of people that come to this service. The pastor’s message is conversational and even invites participation. Sometimes there are guest speakers who share their knowledge and gifts on evangelism, healing, art and other topics.

In going to the redefinition service, we have reconnected with some friends from our past and have made new friends as well. At one time, they had a children's service which Faith started going to along with the three or four other kids who came to the service. What makes redefinition cafe at New Life even more perfect – especially for Rob – is they offer coffee (with creamer) and baked goods. What more could we ask for?
Faith makes friends wherever she goes
Since first attending the redefinition service, it has evolved and changed somewhat. The time has changed to take place earlier in the morning and it has even more of a “café” feel to it as we sit at tables instead of rows of chairs. (This makes it easier to enjoy our coffee and goodies!) The worship is the same – just one or two people leading worship – no sound system, just a guitar and amazing music. Unfortunately they don't have the children's service anymore but Faith is just as content to stay with her mom and dad and listen to the message. 

Besides the redefinition cafe service, there is a celebration service later in the morning up north in a larger building. This service includes all of the excitement of a charismatic church service – which I totally love but is a little too much for Faith. It is my hope and desire for all three of us to attend both church services but until that day, we are happy with the redefinition service and feel it is the perfect fit for our little family.
Faith and her dad looking over some church notes

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