We just moved to this area about a month ago and I’ve been eagerly trying to find ways to plug in. We’ve had all sorts of issues, from the Girl Scouts NOT calling or emailing me back (after about 7 attempts to 3 different people… really!), finding out that the karate class I wanted to sign my son up for was for 5 and up rather than the 3 and up listed on our community center’s website, not making it to playdates from either oversleeping or misbehaving kids, and a whole slew of others… Anyhow, we’ve also been trying to find a church.
I decided to try a First Baptist that is literally a quarter of a mile from my house. Perfect! Location-wise, we really can’t get any better than this! Soooooo we decided to go. We went to the evening service because that is what fit in with our time constraints that day.
First impression: EVERYONE is either parked in the senior citizen parking or the guest parking. NO ONE is parking in the general parking areas… Umm… okay, I guess that’s okay… it IS an evening service and probably not as crowded….
Second impression: We walked in the doors and stood at the “Visitor” area for a good 5 minutes. Multiple senior citizens and middle aged folks walked in and walked past us to get into service and not a single soul made eye contact or said anything to us. Yikes.
Finally, I decided we should try and figure out where the kids go since no one was manning the visitor desk. We’d arrived 20 minutes early and I really wasn’t expecting to be scrambling to find out where to go… ick! I hate not being prepared!
Anyway, we headed over to the children’s building. I have no idea exactly where we were supposed to go… the people we saw over there weren’t making eye contact at all, no one said hi or even acknowledged us… and believe me, I made it obvious we were lost. :-/
After fumbling around for about 10 more minutes, I was frustrated and upset. It was time for church service to begin and no one talked to us, no one seemed to be taking kids anywhere (and I’m not walking into church with my loud bunch!), no one was around to ask questions of… ugh!
SO we walked out.
Oh yes we did.
I walked right out with my kids (and they were upset because they’d REALLY been looking forward to trying a new church) and my hubby and we sat down in the car. I immediately pulled up their webpage on my phone and filled out their contact form. I mentioned that we had just left, briefly recounted our experience, and told them that was the most unfriendly experience in a Baptist church I’ve ever had. I mean (and correct me if I’m wrong, Baptist folks…) you are usually beating people off because they’re so darn helpful!
We let the kids go play at McDonalds while I decided to mope. We got a phone call from an associate pastor about 45 minutes after I filled out the contact form (!!). He told me that he was so sorry and that Sunday nights were usually somewhat of an “off” night. He said that visitors didn’t usually show up at that time (and I’m thinking – that you KNOW of!) and that someone obviously had dropped the ball here. He offered to help get us plugged in (I had mentioned in the form that we were new to the area and church “shopping”) any way he could and practically begged us to try them out again sometime.
The next day, we got a phone call from the head pastor! Basically, we heard the same thing from him and he gave me his cell number, work number, and told me that they would help us out in getting settled in whether we ended up visiting them again or not.
About a week and a half later, I got a phone call from their children’s director (or maybe the head of the preschool program?) and she apologized, told me that she didn’t recall seeing us, invited us to come by, etc etc.
We haven’t tried this church again…. yet. I think we will, though. They are really doing their best to help us out and seemed really embarrassed that we had the experience we did.
This makes me feel really good about them and how sweet they all are… and it sort of makes me feel like a jerk for complaining because it obviously caused a big stir. :-/
Anyway, that’s the tale of my local FBC.