Getting Married: 44 Weeks – The Church

Some of you stopping in might think this refers to finding the right church for the ceremony. For us, that was the easiest church question. My church has a fairly large sanctuary and Matt’s doesn’t. End of story.

But not the end of this post, thankfully. For us, the biggest, toughest question about church is: Where will we attend once we’re married? For some people, that’s not a big issue. But for both of us, it is.

Matt has been with some of the members of his church since he was born. Their church has moved around a little and had a name change, but essentially, it’s much the same group. His church is small, but intimate. Everyone knows everyone and there’s as much a sense of “family” there as I’ve seen at family reunions, but sweeter. Some of the big points is that it is Church of Christ, they don’t have any musical instruments and it is about 10-15 minutes drive from The House (“The House” refers to Matt’s house which we will be living in once we’re married). I have been to two Sunday morning services there so far and a Wednesday night study. I like the acappella worship style and I LOVE that they serve communion each Sunday. Communion is such a dear ceremony to me. Oh, his immediate family attends there as well.

My church is Southern Baptist, about 250 members, and only 5 minutes walking down the street. I love to walk to my church. I’ve been here since I was a freshman in high school, so a little over 13 years. I have been to a variety of churches in my day, both before and during my time here. I love my church so much, they are as much my family as my flesh and blood. We have two services on Sunday mornings, so I don’t always get to see everyone. I have taught the 4th and 5th grade Sunday School class for about 6 years now (I think) and, though it’s been a challenge some years, I have loved it! I’ve seen some of the kids I’ve worked with go into high school and turned into some wonderful, strong Christian brothers and sisters. I can’t wait to see what God does with them in life. I’ve had some amazing mentors throughout my time here, both men and women: Connie Proctor, Mary White, Lester Jones, Leslie Botts, Cyndi Blankenship, Gary Loney, Randy Baird, and so many more in big and small ways. I have seen the value of proper church discipline, sweet Christian fellowship, good fun, and God’s comforting hand in the congregation here. The worship in the second service might be a bit raucous and disjointed at times, but I have a feeling I’ll miss even that when I have to leave.

My church is also very community-minded – the youth group does a Sports Camp each summer, we built a Community Outreach Center with a gym and cafe in order to have more opportunity to minister to those in our community. The last few years have been spent in brainstorming more ways that we can be more involved in the lives of people in our neighborhood, more relevant to their needs and then trying things out to see what works and what doesn’t work. That’s one thing I’ve learned from this church – failure of a ministry or event is not a bad thing, it just means God has something different in mind.

So, after Matt and I got engaged, one of the big questions asked was, “Where will you go to church?” In fact, I think both of us can remember being asked this question a couple months before getting engaged. For our part, we avoided it until things settled down, until we had the big things for the wedding taken care of and could relax a bit. I know that I was thinking about it, and I’m sure HE was thinking about it, but we just didn’t really talk about it. Or when we did, it went something like, “We should probably talk about where we want to go to church…how about later?”

Matt has been to several events at my church. Our young adults group meets every Tuesday night and just about every other Sunday afternoon for a Bible Study and service (respectively). He’s also spent a good amount of time with my dear friends from there. He likes them and he’s seen the bond I have with people there. I enjoy his church, but it’s not MY church yet and I don’t know if it will be. God hasn’t made that clear yet, and I just haven’t fellowshipped with them enough.  Matt’s work schedule also keeps him from attending church just about one Sunday a month. Oh, and my church is a whopping 45 minutes away from The House – not impossible, but definitely not in the local community.

When we talked it out, we decided that once we’re married, we would go to his church, mostly. On the week that he couldn’t go to church, I would drive down to my church. I am going to be pulled away from my church, my community, everything I know well, so I think this will be very necessary for me. We both think so. He also said that once a month, we can check out other churches near our home together and see if we can find one that is very involved in community outreach. This is so important to me, that we be reaching out to those around us. I’m so glad that my future husband is concerned about it too, and taking the desires of my heart into consideration. I don’t know where God will put us and I don’t know what it will all mean, but I’m glad that we can talk about it together and that we both are willing to make concessions for the sake of the other.

Have you had the whole “Church” talk before? Was it difficult for you? What compromises did you make and what things were on your non-negotiable list?

I forgot to mention that both of our churches are wonderful for teaching and preaching straight from the Bible. Not only do the pastors value the Word of God but the teachers, leaders and lay people do too. This is absolutely imperative for both of us for wherever we end up fellowshipping. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on the physical or creature comforts and not on the Truth or lies that are propagated throughout a church body. A truthful church is necessity for true worship and fellowship.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Reflections on the Planning

I love and hate that God asks us to do things that are way outside of our comfort zone.  My pastor has mentioned often that he is a huge introvert and really doesn’t like getting up in front of people.  But God called him to be a pastor and he’s an amazing one!  For me, I can’t stand planning things.  Even planning a get together with friends drives me nuts!  I would much rather someone else make all the decisions and let me know where I need to be when and what I’m supposed to do.  And yet, inevitably, I will feel God say to me, “Sarah, I think you could plan such and such.  You know, I really want you to plan such and such.  It would be great for you if you would plan such and such.”  And I start down the fairly stressful path of planning an event. 

I don’t do this often.  It’s really God who has to convince me that it’s something I need to do.  But He did so back in November of last year.  If you can’t tell, something that weighs heavy on my heart is the atrocity of human trafficking.  I’ve been in exposure and awareness mode for the last few years – learning as much as I can, attending various events, getting connected with others who are concerned about it as well.  But, as I helped out with a Fall shopping day for Stop Traffick Fashion, I really began to feel like it was something our church needed as well. 

And I cringed.  I would have preferred to tell the ladies in my church about it and then they plan it.  I would even have consented to talking about it in front of the church (another thing I’m not a huge fan of doing), but with the words coming out of my mouth, the task was placed in my hands.  Our WMU leader was really excited about the idea, because she had been reading a couple of articles recently about human trafficking in the church women’s literature.  God was in this.  I’m not saying that I did it all – by no means – Brenda Heckman and Julie Johnson (Christmas tablecloths and all *wink) and Amy Jones and Jo Collas…they are some amazing ladies.  I’m so grateful to have them as role models to learn from, especially in regards to unity of kindred women and…the dreaded – hospitality. 

I am not practiced in hospitality at all.  I can’t remember what all is needed to make people feel comfortable.  For me, I go to an event to learn something and to network…and I assume everyone else is there for the same reason.  Shocking, but that’s not really the case.  Thankfully, the ladies mentioned above organized the food and decorating and there wasn’t much for me to do on that part besides being a grunt and moving tables and chairs. 

My primary task was organizing speakers and getting the word out to the community.  I may not have done the last part as well – and really the first part, I’m thinking went exactly as it should have gone, but nothing like I planned.  I was anticipating having a speaker share at each hour something in regards to human trafficking.  Emily would share about Stop Traffick Fashion and Hagar International.  I would talk about the Christian responsibility and upcoming events in the community.  And the one I was most excited about, a Hamilton Police Officer would come and share about human trafficking in our community, state and nation. 

It was awkward trying to figure out how we were going to stop everything and have everyone listen to a speaker for all of 5-10 mins and then go on their way with eating and shopping.  The only really solid group of “fresh” people was right between 10:30 and 11:15.  So, I asked for Officer Collins to share with everyone what she had been researching.  And it was great!

I wasn’t surprised that, as a local police officer, there wouldn’t be much experience with human trafficking.  I would be surprised if even the local sheriff’s department had any experience with human trafficking.  Our wonderful local sheriff isn’t that keen on the rights of illegals – no matter what condition they are in.  So, I wasn’t surprised when she shared that she got wide eyes and remarks of disbelief or discredit from fellow officers when commenting that human trafficking may be an issue in Butler County, OH.  She talked about not finding much information within the department to go off of, so she began to broaden her scope to the state of Ohio and then to the US.  She was surprised to find that Toledo is #4 in Top Cities of Human Trafficking.  Ohio is #7 in the US for human trafficking.  It’s an issue in every city (which would include Fairfield and Hamilton…”every” being an all-inclusive term).

I think that about 50 people came to the event.  Most of them bought something from STF.  But what I’m most excited is how God brought me to a job where I would meet this police officer, who I could then coordinate with and share a concern and a need in our community with.  And that she would then become interested in the issue and maybe work on spreading it to the rest of the department. 

I don’t know what this means for Butler County.  I don’t know if we’re on the edge of something starting or if it will take a few more years for anything to get going.  I don’t know what my part will be or if I will even have a part in it.  But I know that I am available to God – even if it involves more planning – that I will keep going until He stops me. 

Pebbles For Thought Newsletter August 2010

Hey everyone!

  Our church is putting out a newsletter sharing about the building process and activities for The ROCK, our community outreach center.  If you’d like to sign up to receive the newsletter by email, you can email me here.

You can read the current newsletter by clicking the following link.  Enjoy!

Pebbles for Thought Newsletter August 2010