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Search for a Church

You may remember last year how I discussed our search for a new church. I needed something new, something that was good for all three members of my family, a place that would appeal to all of us.

Last year I visited two new churches, didn't really get that feeling I was looking for. I wanted to feel like I was the girl ready to "Say Yes to the Dress" - that this was "the one".

Sunday, Mike, Walker and I piled into the car to visit another "new church". I had been talking to Walker about this place all week, and he was excited about going. I was nervous about how Mike would react. He gets picky about church and always has an opinion.

It was an experience like no other.

New Hope Church in Durham, NC was named as the 10th fastest growing church in America last summer, and it's in my back yard.

It's not your traditional church, but that's what attracts me to it. In the world of video games, 3-D movies and iPods, service at the church I grew up in is exactly the same as it was 30, 50 years ago. And you may think that church shouldn't have to be fun and exciting to attract people, but why not? If it works, then I say go for it.

And that's what this church does. It's like a concert when you walk in. Live music, smoke, flashing lights. The children have their own separate areas to go depending on age, called Hopetown, where they get a special message.

Pastor Benji says dude and cool, and commands the attention of every person in that place. His sermon was based in scripture, and he often referred back to the verses in the Bible. He walked back and forth on the stage in his jeans and retro glasses, and I was captivated by his words.

I was a little nervous that Mike might look at me like I was crazy when we sat down. Sometimes he likes traditional, sometimes not. So I was trying to get a gauge of him throughout the service. 

He liked the music and was quietly tapping his foot on the floor. (Good)
Pastor Benji talked about sports, and he is a Duke alumni. (Good)
He showed a praying dog video to demonstrate how dogs are better than cats. (Awesome)

Then when we got in the car, he said, "that was the best sermon I've ever heard." 


See you there this Sunday, it's Vision Day.  Click below for more information. If you're looking for a church, it's a great time to visit this one.


  1. I know lots of people who go to Hope...including a staff member! Great church. If I lived just a little closer I would go there too! Great church! So glad your hubs liked it too! (FYI: Bob Dumis, from Bob And The Showgram talk radio goes there. That excites me to no end. Really. I pray for Bob to get excited about Jesus!)

  2. When I lived in Pittsburgh we lived walking distance from a beautiful (Catholic) Gothic church. I've been living here in Charlotte for almost 4 years and cannot find a church I like. They are all very industrial looking. I wonder if I should drive 6 hours one way on Sundays just to see it again? Of course I wouldn't but when I do go back to visit - that will be my first stop.

  3. PTL! My husband and I just started attending a church that while small sounds very similar to yours! And we love it! We were so over dressed the first Sunday we went but then we quickly settled into wearing jeans and taking our ipad to read scripture rather than the Bible. We have finally found the church we have been longing for!

  4. Hey Wendy-
    I'm the student ministries pastor at newhope church..I just ran across your blog and passed it on to the staff.
    We are so glad that you and your family found newhope. Great to have you a part of it!

    Have a great rest of your week! We'll see you 3 on Sunday!

  5. Hey Wendy,

    They posted your blog link on Facebook...I also attend newhope, and LOVE IT!! I have a blog as well...check it out if you want.

    Hope to see you one Sunday!

  6. Searching for a church is one of the absolute hardest things to do. I wish I had known about this place when I lived in Durham a few years ago-- it sounds amazing. Hope you guys can find your place to settle soon!

  7. It's sad that looking for a new church is so difficult. It shouldn't be that way. Every church should be welcoming, nonjudgmental, and Holy Spirit led. Everyone should feel comfortable at every church. Unfortunately it isn't that way. I have no problem with super contemporary churches like the one you visited or with old fashioned churches like the one you grew up, as long as they are truly Holy Spirit led and not just doing the latest fad or just doing things the way they've always been done for the sake of tradition. I am glad there are different types of churches to appeal to different types of worshipers and seekers, and I'm extra glad that I found a church that speaks to us in Charlotte (University Hills if you'd like to stop by "A Color Specialist"). As long as the church truly preaches the Word of God and leads to transformed lives then that is what it is all about. Oh, and humble church leaders... gotta have humble church leaders...

  8. Just found your blog from Twitter (go figure!). We just moved to our town over the summer and have been searching and searching and searching for a church home. We attended a wonderful church in Atlanta that had the perfect mix of contemporary/traditional and either way you fell it didn't matter. So....not finding a great fit here (YET) and it can be discouraging and hard with you want somewhere that works for all your family. Hope this one is "the one" for y'all. Hope you will stop by and visit me at and say hi!
    I am your newest follower...doesn't that sound fun? LOL

  9. Hey Wendy,

    So glad you visited and I'm thrilled your hubby liked it. I hope to see you Sunday. Grab me one Sunday following Worship - I'd love to talk with you guys.


    Pastor Benji

  10. I live in Durham and have been looking for a church. Maybe we will give this one a try too. :)

  11. YAY NEWHOPE!! Welcome fellow newhoper... ours is a similar story. I love your blog too!!


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