For half of my life I was a Presbyterian. I was Baptized in the Presbyterian church and was very involved in choir and all youth activities. That church was very small, and it got to the point where my brother and I were the only kids there our age. My parents were also extremely active in the church and all of their friends and our friends were church friends. I loved that and still do.
Fast forward to my middle school days. We had recently moved to Bartlett and I started a new school. My parents made the difficult decision to leave the church we had attended for years to find a new, bigger church. They did it for us and never looked back. I can honestly say that was the best decision ever. It was hard for me to walk in to such a large youth group all alone knowing no one, but I am SO glad I did. Church became my life, my best friends were there, and it was always so much fun. I learned a lot, grew a lot, and to this day I can still say that some of my best friends are from that church youth group. I love that those are the friends that I don't see as often because I live out of town but can talk to and we can pick up right where we left off. To me, those are true genuine friends. Some of my most treasured memories are of youth trips and time spent with those people.
After Don and I got married, we both agreed that we needed to find a church home. We visited all different denominations and various sized churches but never really found "the one". A few months later when I found out I was expecting, we put that search into overdrive. I knew right away that I wanted my children to have the same wonderful experiences that I did growing up in church. I want them to be raised in a Godly home where that would be the focus of our lives and that they will learn to love Him and love church like Don and I both did growing up. I want that SO badly for them. I know without my church and my youth friends, I would not be the person I am today. I can only hope for the same for my own.
One Sunday, we visited Englewood Baptist Church, and were immediately hooked. It is full of young, married couples, many with young children. Our Pastor is young himself , (36-37) with 4 young children and I honestly cannot say enough about him. Our Worship Leader is Travis Cottrell...you may have heard of him, he's kinda famous! He opens up for Beth Moore's Living Proof Tour and is AMAZING. Everyone there is so loving and welcoming and we never feel pressured, guilty or ashamed. Every week I leave there wanting more and I love that feeling. We are slowly getting involved in different areas, with Sunday School being our next step. This is a scary one we haven't yet conquered but I know we need to do it. We plan on starting Wednesday night activities soon and this is also where Ellie attends MDO. Have I mentioned I love this church? Because I do. And don't forget I grew up Presbyterian/Methodist. I never in a million years would have dreamed I would end up being Baptist, but I am so glad I am!
Around the end of January, Don and I stood in front of the entire 11:00 service and joined Englewood Baptist Church. It was one of the proudest days of our married life (besides our wedding and Ellie's birth!). Englewood is big. In fact, it is HUGE. But it doesn't feel like it to me. Yes, it's crowded and parking is crazy but it is truly a wonderful place.