Wednesday, March 13, 2013


For anyone who is a part of my local life, you are aware that I recently switched churches. I had several reasons for this (really weighty) decision. Before I go into those, I want to give you a quick backstory.

From one church home...
I grew up (birth through sixth grade) attending the same church my parents and grandparents attended. For several reasons that are still slightly unknown to me, my family switched churches when I was in junior high. I had a tough time with that transition at first, but as I got involved with the youth group, the Greenville Free Methodist Church became home. For the past two decades, it's the only church I've known. And though it took me awhile, I finally became a member about four years ago. As an adult, I've been involved with several ministries. I volunteered with the youth group for almost ten years. I helped make coffee during the community cafe time. I was a Core Circle Connector for awhile, and I served on a committee when the leadership was looking to revamp some different ministries. I attended various Sunday School classes at different times, and I was a member of a few different small groups. I walked in the door each Sunday and felt such peace and gratitude to belong to such an inviting, Jesus-centered church. It helped that my best friend happened to be the worship leader, and the rest of my friends helped with the youth group as well. The FM church was so much more than a place to be on Sundays and Wednesdays; they were my family.

For the past four years, I've been teaching at Collinsville Christian Academy, which uses the building owned by Son Life Church. Before teaching at CCA, I didn't know anything about the school or church, except that I knew a handful of kids or families who had been affiliated with one or both at some point. I did know that I had some impression that the church was "weird." Whatever that meant. That makes me laugh now, because I had no basis for it, and because now that I know everyone, I realize that I was right! Haha :)

God led me to CCA, without question. And each year that I've stayed, I've been more and more invested in the students, families, communities, and ministries surrounding it. And since Ronnie and I both drive many miles west to work, we've talked for years about selling our house and moving that direction. I figured it was inevitable that at some point in the future, I would move west and therefore attend Son Life.

However, last fall, I felt God stir my heart for something new. And while it felt like the right thing to do, it was an incredibly hard reality to face. I never thought I would still be living in Bond County, still leading a discipleship group in Greenville, and decide to switch churches. another church home.
I've mentioned in previous posts that last fall was a difficult time for me, spiritually, and that God was using that time to grow me. I was walking through some of those things with a friend from Son Life, and during that same time period, Son Life Church was doing a sermon series called Character Under Construction. Through several different incidents that I won't share here, I felt that God was calling me to attend SL for a couple months while I was walking through that process.

After those two months, I reassessed. Actually, I prayed, asked God lots of questions, and asked friends if they had any insight for me. I won't forget a text conversation I had with one of my discipleship girls. She told me that God wanted me to trust that I was hearing His voice for myself. At that moment, it was clear to me what He was saying. Then she asked, "What did you decide?" And I replied, "You already know." And it was true. While God was telling me that I was ready for the transition, He was also putting it on Haley's heart. This was confirmed in several other ways over the next few days, especially as I began to see God's hand at work for my family and me in this new place.

I still feel funny typing all of this for the world to see. Switching churches is a strange concept to me. It's never been a decision I've had to face before. I had no desire to leave a church home and family that's been nothing but amazing for over twenty years. In fact, I absolutely love where the Greenville church is heading, and I'm sad that I might not be around to see lots and lots of prayers come to fruition.

But I am so at peace. Because I'm already in Collinsville five days a week, I feel very invested in the town. I have connections with so many church families because I teach their children at school. I have some of the best relationships with other godly wives and mothers. And I know that my future is at this place. I'm still waiting for God to release me to "plug in"  like I had been at Greenville, but I know that the time is coming.

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