Why Being an Idealist Sucks

Matt and I have been looking for a church ever since we moved to Carpinteria about 3 months ago.  While we haven’t been able to attend church every Sunday due to Matt’s work schedule, we’ve still visited 6 or 7 churches so far and have another new one laid out to visit tonight.  While we both know that no church is perfect and believe it is important to be in consistent Christian community wherever we are, we’re having a really hard time finding a church we can both feel comfortable in because we’re both recent seminary graduates and too idealistic for our own good.  (Plus, Matt is also a musician.)  Aside from the basic tenants of faith we would never bend on, here’s what we’re looking for (in no particular order). * indicates a must.

Music featuring drums and guitars (i.e., no organ/choir) *

Music is more about the Holy Spirit’s leading than the leader’s leading *

Songs written recently

Emphasis on music as part of worship

Supportive of women in ministry *

Women in pastoral/leadership positions (other than Children’s Ministry or Administration)

Multi-cultural/multi-racial (i.e. not all Caucasian people)


Some young marrieds without kids (i.e. we need some friends)

Intellectual sermon *

Preferably Fuller-esque theology (i.e. likeminded)

“Community” feel, a place we can connect, comfortable atmosphere *

Open to the Holy Spirit

Artsy, artistic, celebrating worship with art

Not more than 1 hr away *

Liturgical (not necessarily in the traditional sense)


So far it seems we can find either the music/art side of things or the theology side of things.  It’s been a very discouraging experience thus far to see the state of churches today as opposed to the vision we have for what the Church can be.  It doesn’t help that Matt has had extensive experience with church planting, so we’re more likely to start something new where we can’t find it than be satisfied with whatever we find to be the status quo.  Starting something new is great when you already have a likeminded community to start something with, but since we just moved here and have no friends yet outside of Matt’s coworkers, there’s not much we can do on our own.

Besides, we both just need somewhere we can plug in and recharge for a while, receive and rest rather than work and give.  The trouble with having a leadership skill set (especially when you’re also a phenomenal musician like Matt is), is we end up in leadership positions wherever we go.  As newlyweds, we’re both in a season of needing a break, yet that means giving the churches around here a break as well and not being so critical.  It’s awfully disappointing to have to lower our expectations in order to find a church community, but it’s a good exercise in humility as well.  We don’t have all the answers, either, and perhaps our vision for the Church is one that will only be fully realized in the Kingdom to come–the “not yet,” if you will, rather than the “already.”

Here’s hoping we have better luck tonight.


One Response

  1. […] looking for a church when we moved to a new area.  You can read a little about our experiences here and here.  We finally decided that we were not going to find The Perfect Church and that we needed […]

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