I suspect that many are this way. Regardless of how nomadic a lifestyle one has maintained, the notion of having the "base camp" where the personal stuff is kept in reserve while the one new to the area ventures out into the unknown, comforted with the knowledge that they can return to the "base" to relax. Consider the phenomenon is having furniture in hotel rooms with drawers. What is the hotel expecting, that the patron is moving in to stay? Not at all. They realize that for those experiencing an extended stay, the drawers will likely be used. People want to create "base camp," even if it's for a week visit for business or vacation to a distant city or country.
For us, even though there remains a vast amount of work to be done in unpacking boxes, assembling dissembled furniture, beginning home utility services and arranging the living space, it is comforting to know that the question of location has been answered. In addition, the locating of "base camp" has a liberating component, empowering one to explore the surrounding environment, experience its distinctives and identify its benefits and pitfalls. "Base Camp" is a necessary component of exploration, and offers the means for entering new territory safely.
The Church operates in much the same way. If indeed one belongs to a church tradition that is represented in the area you move to, then the question of church family is answered quickly as well. For a historic denomination, that question can be answered before even leaving the past address. In any event, the Church can serve as "base camp," offering the safety to experience the world knowing that warmth and safety are readily available. Many experience the regrettable phenomenon of moving to a new community or city not knowing what church family they will connect with.
This has a couple of causes at its root (this list is by no means exhaustive):
- Fickle tastes - the consumerist's curse has fully enveloped the seeker, making their "felt needs" of paramount importance. However, what they often fall short in is critiquing their own "felt needs." Unaware of how flighty these "felt needs," or tastes, can be, they place as primary importance that which cannot be counted on to remain consistent. What they like about church this week will be what they loathe about church next week. The main problem with making one's wants and desires supreme is that they are untrustworthy. Consider the quote from "God" delivered by Morgan Freeman in "Bruce Almighty" when Bruce defended the chaos he had produced by giving people what they want: "Since when does anyone have a clue about what they want." More insightful words are seldom spoken in Hollywood.
- Self-centered - Holding one's desires in highest priority also has the intended consequence of leaving most churches simply unable to measure up. It's difficult to become planted in a church when there is little intention of submitting to any of them. Therefore, it is more simple to find a church that will no likely ever require one's submission. Preferably, if it could leave you an anonymous visitor for several years, that would be better. Admittedly, this category has overlap to the previous one, but the seeker is basically saying to themselves, "If I could find a church that fit me, then I could settle down."
I did not make it. It is making me.
I suspect this could help one make their choice regarding a church in w new region much more quickly. For us, this helped us to know the church we would attend before even moving. This may seem like the exception to many, but in our opinion, it's how it should go.
Church should not be one of the arenas of risky exploration in a new area. It should be "base camp," that frees you up to have the other full experiences of the community. Base camp provides security, safety and nearby help that liberates the adventurer to fully know the new community. Whether getting established in a new home, or especially landing in a new congregation, the Lord provides "base camp" as a means of securing the explorer as they encounter all the new wonders of a neighborhood, a community or a city.