I Visited a Church as a Layman Last Sunday

The-Edinburgh-Reporter-street-Morningside-1After about a month in Edinburgh, my wife, son, and I finally began our search for a local church to put down roots. In the last month, I have missed being a part of a local spiritual family. I am convinced more than ever that if someone doesn’t care about the church (i.e. the Bride of Christ), then Christ doesn’t rule in his/her heart. To neglect the church or to merely “attend” might rightly be classified as sin. If you genuinely love Jesus, His passions and affections will be constantly growing in your heart. In other words, if you don’t love what He loves, how deep can your love for Him actually be? Sorry Millennials, but if you love Jesus, how can you have little regard for His wife?

I wonder if the youthful infatuation with Christ and the disdain for anything semi-institutional is nothing more than a disguised rebellion. In other words, we want Jesus and the spiritual feelings that can accompany such a quest. But church? Someone that preaches? Or leads a discussion? Or confronts my sin? Or says that certain lifestyles are wrong (i.e. the gay lifestyle)? Or that I should care with my wallet about starving children on the other side of the world? You get the idea. When you are not part of a spiritual community, it is easy to avoid several of the difficult “one-another’s” in the New Testament (the ones that are impossible to fulfill apart from the dynamic power and continual internal influence of the Holy Spirit).

Moving on.

I actually desire to obey Christ, so we are looking for a local church.

We visited our first church in Scotland this last Sunday. We got off the bus in Morningside (area in Edinburgh) and began the 50 meter (metric system! I am adapting and so proud of myself) walk toward the church building. I was a little surprised at what I felt: nervousness. 

That is right. I felt nervous.

I was a youth/college/small group/associate pastor for over a decade in Texas and Mississippi. I am accustomed to being a part of staff conversations and plans to make other people feel more comfortable. Now I know just how important those conversations, people (door greeters), and strategies are.

People approached us. People took time to ask about where we came from and why we are here. It was wonderful. I noticed the power of someone making you feel like your presence (not just God’s) is important.

This week we will attend a different church. Our desire is to visit a few churches over the course of the next 2-3 weeks. After that, it is time to choose.

We will not church-hop.

We will not drag our feet in deciding.

May the Holy Spirit guide our quest as we search for good “soil” in Edinburgh.

Thy will be done.


Published by B.J. Condrey, PhD

Dr. Condrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Missouri-KC, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Ethics & Practical Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He is ACSI certified. Dr. Condrey writes courses and teaches Psychology, Bible, and C.S. Lewis at Enlightium Academy, where he began working in 2016. He has served as a youth, young adult, and small group pastor in the local church, and currently teaches Ethics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a book published by Wipf & Stock (Breaking Ground) along with other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, traveling, trout fishing, family hikes, and drinking coffee! He is passionate about helping young people construct a biblical worldview so that their faith involves both the mind and heart. He has been married since 2009 and has two children.

4 thoughts on “I Visited a Church as a Layman Last Sunday

  1. Good post BJ!! I’ve often wondered the same thing- we want Jesus- but church sucks. What do they think Jesus is inhabiting here on earth? Besides themselves… Well- we corporately are the church. This will be such an adventure and cultural shift for you- I know Ireland sure was for us!! Love and blessings to you dear!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your words Brenda. I would actually be really interested in hearing more about your year (or two?) in Ireland. Tell Lloyd hi. I would pay money to be able to sit across the table from y’all and talk. Miss you both.


  2. Hey bj. Why r u in scotland and for how long? I’m just being nosey. If you’ll be there a long time maybe check out motherwell. It must be the finest city around cause I was born there. Keep posting. We will keep your family in our prayers. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi BJ, Terrific post. I admire your confidence and self-assuredness in your beliefs. Admittedly, for most of my adult life I’ve been confident in absence from the church, but lately I’ve sought to revisit spirituality. My view is we all need to do it on our own terms and I wish you and your family the best. I am choosing to “church hop,” (I know, I know…)at this point in my life, for a few reasons. Improve (hopefully) the perception of churches in my increasingly secular communities by writing about my experiences. To enjoy learning about my communities. To re-familiarize myself with Christianity, as well as other potential faiths too (fingers crossed- some people have reached out to me in response to my blog), and to self explore and maybe grow in the process!

    Liked by 1 person

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