I visited the last of my four potential probation churches today and I’m now certain I have my two out of the four. What’s no longer certain is which of the two is my preferred choice.
Today’s church was pretty local (a big plus in its favour) and the minister is someone I know fairly well. It’s pretty much a middle-of-the-road congregation, tending towards the older end of the age spectrum but with a fair smattering of other age groups as well. To be fair, it was a little difficult to get a sense of the ‘normal’ congregation because there was no Sunday school and a lot of visitors today.
I think I have previously characterised this church as a ‘safe’ choice, but that would suggest that I wouldn’t be challenged. After visiting today I realised that that would be an misrepresentation of the church and it would be ‘safe’ only in the sense that it would be a secure, welcoming and encouraging environment.
I’m now left with a difficult choice. One church would be very different to my previous experience and that would be a great opportunity to grow in other directions. The other would be a very positive experience under a supervisor who would, I think, be great to work with. My gut reaction, somewhat to my surprise, is to favour the ‘safe’ choice, but not because it’s safe, but because there is a sense of ‘rightness’ to it. But a part of me says that there is an opportunity for growth in the other as well and there is much that I find attractive in it. But I also have a sense of ‘over-reaching’ for that one. It’s difficult to explain. It’s like aspiring to something that you know isn’t entirely true to who you are. I think I said previously that my concern over visiting that particular church was that I had created an image of what it would be like. In a sense that image ‘bubble’ has been popped – but that’s not a bad thing. It means that I can now compare the two in a more realistic way.
Oh well, at least I have my shortlist to present to 121 in a few weeks and my reasons for choosing them. Deciding which one to go for though may not be entirely easy.