Saturday, May 22, 2010


Preschool teachers have to go through a certain amount of training each year to keep their job. We spend some of our Saturdays going to seminars and workshops to learn more about the children and how to best educate them. A lot of these training sessions deal with "transitions". This is one of the hardest things for preschool teachers and students to master. A transition period is any time you are moving from one task to another. We are heavily encouraged to sing songs with our kids to help them understand what we are doing next. For instance, when I have the kids line up at the door to go outside we sing,
"Put your hands on your hips, on your hips. Boom Boom
Put your hands on your hips, on your hips. Boom Boom
Put your hands on your hips and a smile on your lips.
Put your hands on your hips, on your hips. BOOM BOOM!
(That's to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it" and on the Boom Boom part they sway their hips... just in case you wanted to sing it sometime!)
Anyway, constantly thinking of how to make my kid's transitions easier made me start thinking about transitions we go through as adults. It would be great if we could just sing a song that would trigger an understanding of what to do next, but life doesn't work that way. Going to college, getting married, moving to another city or state- these are all huge transitions. Singing a silly song can't change our apprehension about facing this change.
I was absolutely apprehensive about moving to a big city, in a big state where I knew no one.
Since I have moved to Dallas I have felt completely overwhelmed by everyone's acceptance, love and support. Derek and I feel like we have quickly become an important and integral part of our church. They have accepted us with open arms, allowing us to not just serve, but plan for the future of the student ministries. People use the term "God opens doors" and I have certainly experienced that, but this is something different. It feels like we stepped foot through the doors of Fellowship Dallas, and the floor opened up. God has absolutely floored me with how easy he has made this transition for us.
Isn't this how a church should operate? I have now regularly attended 5 different churches in my life. Each one has talked about accepting new members, making visitors feel welcome, etc. I have always kind of wondered how you do that. I mean, the pastor usually asks you to stand and greet your neighbors, but I have always dreaded the awkward handshakes and "how are you's"? That doesn't make me feel welcome, just uncomfortable. That leaves me with the question, "what can a church do to make newcomers feel welcome and loved?" In a large church a newcomer has a couple of things they can do. They can go talk to a person that works at the church and they can fill out that flap on the inside of the program.
I remember the first day Derek and I visited this church, we filled out that little tab and stuck it in the offering plate. After church, the man next to me asked me if this was our first time here and then started telling me about his life.
Only a couple weeks after Derek and I got married, I met some of the people on staff. They all knew Derek's name and soon knew mine.
We have been invited to two different community groups, and met 4 couples our age who have invited us to different things.
How have you felt at your church? Have people reached out to you? Have they helped make your transition easier? Has it been hard to find your place in the church? If so, what is your church doing wrong and how can it change? How do we go from a place where we spend a couple hours a week to a community that is learning and moving together?

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