By: MAJ Adam Chappell, US Army
*The views expressed are his own and not endorsed by the Department of Defense.
Military families are very intentional about many things in their frequent moves. Priorities like finding a house with the right number of bedrooms, being in the best school district for the kids, and choosing a good neighborhood are all near the top of list. But what about finding the right local church in your new location, does it make the list?
Finding "The Right" Church Home at Your Next Duty Station
A unique challenge that believers in the military face as they PCS frequently is finding the right church home every time you move. It is easy for us to take for granted trying to find that next church home, we just kind of assume it is going to happen. And sometimes it does. But without intentionality we can waste a lot of time.
We worry so much about where our kids are going to go to school and the community we are going to live in, but how often do we look ahead to see what the local church community looks like in the area we are going to be moving to?
We endeavor to be a part of the community as much as possible whenever we move from one location to another.
When my wife and I transitioned from a mainstream denomination to a non-denominational church we didn’t really know where to start, so it made finding a new church home every time we moved rather challenging.
The Lord brought us to an awesome, life-giving church in Fayetteville, NC called Manna Church which is part of a larger network called Association of Related Churches (ARC). Since then, ARC serves as our starting point for finding a new church home every time we PCS.
There are a lot of church planting networks out there to aid in the process of finding a new church, such as The Gospel Coalition and Acts29. Most important is the awareness that these resources exist to help make that element of your PCS as seamless as possible.
Get Plugged In
I also think one of the most powerful tools the enemy uses within the church itself, especially for service members who move a lot, is division and distraction. Anything he can do to convince us that we are not one body in Christ is a victory for the enemy. This lie ultimately distracts and occupies us with unproductive conversations or activities that direct us away from our God-given calling.
Encouragement From One Military Family to Another
I encourage you in two things as you prepare for your next move:
- Make finding your next church home a top priority
- Commit early to a church and get plugged in
I promise you will not look back and regret it. Let’s all endeavor to be as intentional with our faith as we are with every other element of our PCS.