New in Town

MaggieWalshphotosmHave you ever felt like you’re a perpetual stranger? Like everywhere you go, you know no one and constantly have to give your resume rapid-fire while inwardly wracking your brain for the kind inquirer’s name? While some people love meeting new people and sharing their life’s story, I do not. I am an introvert who tries to be an extrovert, which results in a multiple personality disorder that is both exhausting and dangerous. Therefore this time in my life—early twenties, recent college graduate, new job, new city—is rough. It’s hard to explain this season in my life because it’s constantly changing. I love having so many new experiences, but I yearn for familiarity. I love learning new skills at work, but I get so sick of constantly asking for help. I love taking chances and pushing myself, but I am petrified of failing. Oh, the polarity!

The most difficult day in my new experience, new everything, personality disorder of a week is Sunday. Why Sunday, you inwardly query? You see, for the vast majority of my life, my father has been a pastor. Sundays were my family’s busiest days. Between morning church, night church, choir practice, various youth and children’s ministry practices and eating out at meals (because that’s how true Southern Baptists roll), we had perhaps an hour throughout the whole day to breathe. It may sound exhausting, but I loved it. I loved getting dressed up in the morning and sitting in a pew with my family. I loved watching my older siblings be uber cool in our youth group with their Aeropostale tees and American Eagle jeans. I loved knowing everybody and being able to answer all the questions in Sunday School. Above all, I loved the sense of community that came with a small-town Southern Baptist church. It’s this lack of community that makes Sundays my hardest day of the week.

Now that I’m indefinitely planted in the big city of Birmingham, it’s time to find that community. The unending array of variables that go into this decision-making process is staggering. Between church size, worship style, distance from my house, preaching style, ministries offered, servant spirit, amount of singles, amount of seniors, amount of young couples with babies (us singles don’t need their baby-minded line of questions), thoughts toward tattoos and overall theology, I’m so overwhelmed that I’m ready to buy a devotional and spend all day in prayer and meditation just to avoid the emotional break dance.

However, if I tell myself that by embarking on this quest I can help others who suffer from similar circumstances, then I am much more likely to step outside of my room on Sundays. Therefore, oh few readers, you will be my motivation for wading out into the sea of Sabbath-goers to find my new community. I’ll go to a different church in Birmingham every Sunday and let you know how it goes. Hold me accountable and check back with me in a week. Maybe I won’t be too traumatized from a day of snake charming.

The Rope Editor,


Maggie Evans is a regular contributor to The Scroll. She also is special assistant to the editor for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. Maggie and her husband, Sam, are members of Iron City Church, Birmingham.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Katie

    You just described me in a nutshell. We should be related. How far do you go to visit churches? I just heard of a baptist church in Cullman that sounds pretty groovy.

    1. theropetab

      It’s almost like we are. I think ideally I want to keep it within thirty minutes of Hoover. What’s the name of the church?

  2. Colby

    You are ever, ever so eloquent my dear. A few folks I know, shared your struggle, they ‘settled’ for a streaming service due to not wanting to plant their roots too soon at a church and then not be able to keep the constant Sunday worship going. That could always be an option? I know that’s not what you are looking for, community ‘feeling’ while worshiping go hand in hand for me as well. I will keep an ear out for places. Try looking at some around Pelham or Montavello, I know a few families up there and I can inquire where they worship if you’d like? I’m not sure where that is compared to your homestead at the moment.

    1. theropetab

      You are too kind! I do like watching the live streaming churches, but I do miss the interaction. Pelham and Montevallo are definitely within the distance range. I’ll take any direction I can get!

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