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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Five Month Search
By Joanney Uthe


We shopped for five months before we found the right one. Sometimes we could tell right away if we were at the wrong place, other times it took weeks. We weighed the strengths of each one, talking to the manager, asking as many questions as we could. We even wrote letters asking what they had to offer, especially in those features most important to us.

In real estate, they say the most important features are “Location, location and location.” In our search, though important, location ranked much lower on the list. We had experienced the convenience of being close enough to walk and the sacrifice of driving 20 miles. Yet location necessitated our search.

Shopping for clothes, one goes to the rack that holds their size. Size could not determine proper fit in our search. We had experienced the benefits of added features if we choose big and the benefits of personal accountability if we choose small. Each one exhibited a unique set of advantages and disadvantages, regardless of its size.

When one walks into a restaurant chain and orders their favorite item, they expect it to be the same in every store. In our search, each one is tailor-made and so unique that chain affiliation is only a guideline. How they execute the chain’s regulations varies as they emphasis the differences in clientele. We used this as a starting point, knowing it did not guarantee anything.

Stores and businesses rely on their employees to keep the customers once they first do business with them. In our search, the employees made less impact than the rest of the clientele. Our connection to them determined our decision as much as our connection to the manager and staff.

Color and style determine purchases of many kinds, yet they were irrelevant in our search. We were not looking for fluff and outward beauty. What we needed was challenge. Challenge to apply to our lives what we brought home. Challenge to be involved in the way God designed us to be involved. Challenge to make a difference in our sphere of influence.

We actively shopped for five months before we found the right church. Sometimes we could tell right away if it was not the right fit, other times it took weeks. We discussed the strengths of each church we visited, comparing their theology to our understanding of Scripture and asking a pastor friend for advice on those points we did not understand. We talked to the pastor at each church, asking as many questions as we could. We found that certain questions served as a litmus test. If the pastor avoided the question, his sermons tended to be fluff, catering to the people’s comfort level rather than allowing God’s Word to convict.

Six months ago, we moved to a new community. After five months of church shopping, we decided on a church home and I am starting to feel at home in my new town.

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This article has been read 704 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/09/07
So glad you found the right one!
TJ Nickel03/12/07
Nice article. The best part about it is the build and the comparison to other forms. I actually would have preferred you use the other 1/3 of the words available to you, intro the church searching concept early (end of 2nd par?) and drawn the contradictions and comparisons throughout the reading. "Location x3" gives you a play on words to use...maybe "ranked 6th, 8th, and 10th on our lists" or a jab at humor?? I like the piece overall, the content is all there and very good.
Jen Davis03/13/07
I had to go back and read this again because I felt like I should have seen that you were talking about finding a church before I did. You threw me off in the first paragraph with the mention of a manager, but paragraph three was a pretty good hint. I enjoyed it and thought you were very clever in your comparisons. Perhaps a more casual voice or little humor as Tom suggested would add to the piece.
TJ Nickel03/13/07
Now I'm commenting twice - was led to read this one again. I really, really liked the approach to use other forms of shopping to show the significance of finding a church. This is a VERY "publishable" concept.
Joanne Sher 03/14/07
I love how you drew us into your search with the comparisons to other searches. I truly enjoyed this!
Loren T. Lowery03/14/07
These thoughts probably run through most of our minds when looking for the "right" fit for our place of worship.

As a reader, I would have liked to have been let in (hooked) earlier as to the analogies used between regular shopping and church shopping.

That being said, I did like the honest approch to your subject.
Brenda Welc03/14/07
I thought this was a very nice story. You had me from beginning to end!
Sara Harricharan 03/14/07
Whew! Five months is quite a while. You did a great job with making this come to life, I felt like I was walking along, occassionally looking over your shoulder to hear better as you told the story. It wasn't as you-are-there as I was expecting, but still pretty good. Maybe use a little more present tense or examples? Just my own opinion! ^_^
Sharlyn Guthrie03/14/07
I thought about writing on this. Glad I didn't, since you did it so well!
Julie Arduini03/15/07
I loved the build up and comparison for this. We were blessed to find our church after one week when we moved, but we know that's often the exception not the rule.