Any ideas on how to break into a new locale?


#1

Hi everyone. I’m Sharon, I’m from North Carolina, just thought I’d introduce myself since I haven’t actually posted on this forum yet. I’m looking for any words of wisdom you all might have on how to get yourself started with unchurching when you move to a new area and you know… well, absolutely no one? Haha.

My husband and I are new to the Charlotte NC area. We just moved here in the last couple of weeks. My husband is thinking we need to find a church. (He’s still in the IC, but I think he could be persuaded to unchurch if the timing was right).

We visited a couple of IC’s last Sunday. They reminded me again why I don’t like the IC: a sermon that felt more like a sale of institutional gimmickry, music so loud I couldn’t hear myself think, people more interested in hustling us off to whatever age-segregated program they thought we fit, rather than getting to know us or letting us get to know them. I’m sorry if I sound harsh. I despise the institution; NOT the people, I want to be clear on that.

I am kind of drawing a blank on how to meet other Christians where I am, without just giving up and getting back into the IC environment again which I find so incredibly unhealthy. I’m worried I’m going to have to join an IC again just to find other Christians. I don’t want to do that, but I’m not sure what else to do. (I work from home, so I’m not just naturally out and about mingling with people anyway.)

I guess I’m wondering, has anyone had the experience of being new somewhere with no real connections and if so how did you find Christians to hang around with?

P.S. I should add – unfortunately the group map here isn’t showing up for me, so I’m not able to see if anyone here is in my area.


#2

Sharon, I feel exactly the same as you but I am retired and widowed, living in my area of Florida for years. I am in the process of trying to start a group in my home with the expectation of having a gathering place that will shift as needed, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, not me. Perhaps this will be an option for you and your husband.
Peggy


#3

I would say first to spend some time with the Lord and ask what He wants you to do in this season. Based on how you sense that answer, these are some possible ideas:

You can set up a Facebook group for your area to organize a book discussion group of Unchurching. Or use meetup.com.

Also, it might be tough in your situation with your husband, but it is perfectly ok to not be “doing church” for a time. Maybe just focus on building relationships with neighbors, co-workers, etc.


#4

This is a good topic for a live streaming online discussion.
Anybody interested? Know how to set one up?


#5

Thanks everyone. I’ll have to pray about it some more I guess and see what happens. I just really do not want to be in the IC again :woman_facepalming:
I would of course be interested in participating should this ever become a topic for a live stream discussion. :raising_hand_woman:


#6

Any thoughts @Richard or @gunnarfalk?


#7

I’m in the breaking into a new locale process too. It isn’t easy. I have some thoughts on it, but too much to write about so an online streaming session would be easier.


#8

Sharon, My wife and I are in Western North Carolina and left the IC in August. We are a part of 3 home groups with folks who left the IC, but we had prior connections. I’m sure there are folks in the Charlotte area who would love to fellowship with you and your husband. The meetup or facebook group ideas might be the place to start as suggested by jmlade42 above.

We will keep you in our prayers as you walk out the will of God for your lives. It took us a year to get on the same page, but the wait was worth it. Once we took the leap of faith, doors opened.


#9

I am experiencing the same thing, my husband and I just moved to Morganton NC last month. Visited an IC once but we just can’t do it. I would love to hear more and visit the groups meeting in this area of the state.


#10

Tim, if we can’t get a live stream going on this, I’d still love to hear your thoughts… If you don’t want to write them all, I’ll take the condensed version… :smile:


#11

The map shows @PaulWheeler in Charlotte and @glendadrum in Shelby. Those are the only two I see near your area.

You might keep a look out for a meetup in Asheville if @Richard does that again. Or consider hosting one in your area?


#12

@sharon, I live in the Charlotte area also, Fort Mill specifically. Let me know if you find something or want to start something, I’ve been looking for a while myself. I’m currently attending Watershed occasionally in uptown since they have a small group in my area, which is all I’ve found really so far.


#13

Sorry for my delay, in December we work lots of OT at my workplace. It gets a little rough. About 2 years ago, Richard and I did a meetup in Charlotte where over 30 folks came, many of whom had already been meeting outside of ‘the normal gig’, so to speak. Outside of that, Richard and I stopped by Fort Mill, where at Morningstar Ministries, with no apologies, they were verbalizing that the future of the church was going to be smaller groups, with open meetings, etc, and there was an older gentlemen there, James Bacon, (yes, Richard and I loved his last name, we were smitten and enamored to the core) who they had there just to help them make that transition, since he had done “home church” for about 50 years. Sharon, let me know if you are still on the hunt, and we can private message about it. Richard Jacobson, did you still have any of those folks in contact?


#14

@gunnarfalk, I don’t know that any of them were local. Most folks drove a couple of hours for that meetup.


#15

No no no, silly pants. That was the one at Panera where they had that group that met in Charlotte. I will look some of them up. Everyone, just for Richard saying this, him and I have been looking forward to watching Cobra Kai for sometime, and I am going to make him hear me give one mini-spoiler for this. (PS-I love Richard, I think he has been to so many meetups now, it is blurring his memory. And yes, I am feeling VERY confident here!)


#16

Sharon, I’ve written a bit about my background elsewhere in this forum. I’ll try to update that with more information pertinent to this topic soon. Thanks for the encouragement to share.


#17

Sharon, here’s a link to my story found elsewhere in this forum. In the story, I reference that we’ve moved into a new house in a new town (actually my hometown, but I’ve been away for 40 years, so it’s like a new town).We built a big covered patio with an outdoor kitchen for the purpose of having a gathering place for our neighbors. We’re having the first get together next weekend (Dec 22). Hopefully, this will lead to spiritual conversations and it will go from there. The results are in the Lord’s hands.

One thing I’ve found about the IC that my wife and I attend (she’s a member, I’m an attender), is that it is a place to make connections. However, those connections haven’t really led to relationships. I can give lots of reasons, but they aren’t very edifying reasons, so I’ll be silent on them. You probably know what reasons I would cite. It’s disappointing and frustrating.

Hang in there. I believe God has a purpose for all of us in all of this.