For parents with little ones, trips to children’s church can be quite eventful.
Some clutch their parent’s arms or legs with supernatural strength, not wanting to be separated. Others throw temper tantrums. More make it through the door, but don’t last the entire service.
When Kory and Amanda McLaughlin took their 3-year-old daughter, Emme, to Southeast Christian Church’s Indiana Campus, it was surprisingly smooth sailing.
“The first week we were at Southeast, she went to this lady in the kid’s classroom and just gave her a big hug,” Kory said. “She hasn’t cried since. We didn’t know what it was. They remember her name and see her every weekend.”
That experience helped the McLaughlins decide on a church home.
“She was a big part of our decision,” Amanda said.
“Of the five or six churches we tried, even our home church at the time, when we would take her to nursery or children’s class, she would cry. Like hysterical cry. I couldn’t really enjoy the sermons because I was like, ‘She’s probably still crying. Is she OK?’ Southeast was the only church as soon as we handed her off to the teachers, she was fine.”
The McLaughlins had attended their previous church for years, but they felt led to check out some other churches because they wanted more community with young adults.
While trying to find the right fit for their family last spring, Southeast was their last stop.
“We were looking for ways we could get involved more and serve,” Amanda said. “We said, ‘Yea, we’ll try everywhere but Southeast. It’s too big.’ That was the last place we went, and we just looked at each other and were like, ‘This is it. This is where we need to go. This is for us.’”
The McLaughlins started regularly attending Southeast shortly after Easter 2018.
“You can only learn so much from a Sunday service,” Kory said. “Southeast gave us a different avenue to get connected, which was Starting Point.”
Starting Point is a one-day class that is a great first step to get connected and find out more about Southeast. It is for those who are new to the Christian faith, just checking things out or coming back to church after some time away.
“Starting Point is for anybody at Southeast who is unconnected, whether you’ve been here for one day or a long time,” said Connections Pastor Matt Robison. “We want to help you get connected into the life of our church, whether you’re not in a group or serving somewhere. We want to make this big place feel small, and we want you to have a place where you belong.”
The McLaughlins attended Starting Point last August.
“That was big for us going to a big church,” Kory said. “It intimidated us a little bit, but once we realized that we could make it a lot smaller by building those connections and getting involved in certain areas we’re passionate about made all the difference for us. I think Starting Point really helped us figure out where we fit in and how we could get involved to do that.”
Kory and Amanda are appreciative for their experience at Starting Point.
“We were hesitant at first to give Southeast and Starting Point a chance,” Amanda added. “It was the best thing our family has done, and we’re still reaping the benefits.”
“Southeast made it very open to ask whatever question you had and they had the answer,” Kory added. “They made it a very open atmosphere. Probably the biggest thing for Southeast is they make everyone feel welcome.”
Starting Point is a simple way to move from sitting in the seats to serving the body of Christ.
“They were able to explain to me a little bit how Middle School Ministry works,” Amanda said. “They got my information and gave it to the MSM student leader and he reached out to me. It’s a great way to get personalized information.”
Amanda volunteered with MSM.
Amanda also has attended a couple of women’s Bible study groups, and Kory co-leads a Financial Peace University class.
The McLaughlins have been married nine years and attend the 5th Sunday Foster & Adoptive Fellowship and are involved in a marriage small group.
“It got my wife and I talking about things we would probably have never talked about otherwise,” Kory said. “There were things in the class that opened us up to see that other couples had gone through some of the same things we were going through. It’s good to have a community that is willing to share the same struggles.”
Sunday, Aug. 4, Southeast is offering Starting Point at all seven of its campuses and giving people an opportunity to find their place.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.southeastchristian.org/start