Oops, I know I never really finished my reports on our church quest. Partly because of a discussion Mira and I had some time ago about this. She felt that it was not fair towards the churches to ‘rate’ them, implying one would be better that another, turning my personal opinion in a judgment. Of course, I argued that this was not the case, but she got a point. So, I just want to state clearly that the church quest posts only reflect my personal experience and are in no way intended to judge or be negative about any church. (Wow! What an american-style disclaimer!) I even want to go further: if there is one thing we noticed during our ‘quest’ it was the unity and bond between the churches in Almere, regardless of denomination. There is cooperation instead of competition, growing towards a city-wide network of different churches. But there are of course the denominational and cultural differences between the ‘congregations’.
Let me tell you how it ended. After visiting different churches for about 3,5 months, we felt it was enough. We had visited some 6 different churches, most of them more than once. We both considered the ‘Rafael’ church most attractive (can’t find a better word). It appealed most to what we were looking for: authentic, biblical, balanced and at the same time enthousiastic, lively, kid-friendly, visionary… Somewhere near the end of the 3,5 months, returning from a Rafael service, we discussed whether or not to go for it. I was not completely convinced: wasn’t it superficial, was the liveliness of the service not just a ‘manner’ rather than authentic, et cetera… The next week we went again. I remember really asking God to speak clearly. Well, He did… not that I heard Him say: “Stay here!”, but someone shared a vision that was clearly for us. It had more to do with our whole situation rather than the topic of churchgoing, but it was a special experience. And the following weeks, through things said in testimonies, prayers, etc. we had the same conviction that God was speaking. So… there we are in Rafael Almere. On the outside it is in many ways the opposite of our old Brethern assembly, but on the inside the essentials are the same.