One day I hit a spiny bush and got a thorn in the back of my hand. I thought I got it out, but over the next three years, a lump formed in the area, and eventually it burst, expelling the embedded thorn.
I'm discovering that attending a church without being part of a church is kind of like that thorn...you can hang out for a while, but sooner or later you'll be expelled. When it's done right, church isn't something you can just attend. It's a body; either you're a part of it, or you're a foreign object, and sooner or later you'll be rejected.
This is really challenging when you have kids; even though our most recent church no longer exists, we're trying to give them at least some consistency in church attendance. We've been going to a church in our neighborhood on a semi-regular basis, but Hubby and I know what it's not going to be our church home--we're just attending.
But even our 4.75 year old daughter knows it's not our church home--she asks me several times a week, "Mommy, when are we going to the church with donuts?"
The donut church was more than a place that we attended on Sunday morning; we were a part of the body. And even if we were only a fingernail, it hurts when you get ripped out....even when you're only four. And although we see some of those people on a regular basis, it's different having lunch instead of worshipping with them.
So that's our challenge right now--to figure out where God is moving in our community, and plug into that church body...even if that means building our own.