Driving Distance: How Far is too Far?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Atraveler, Sep 3, 2019.

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  1. Atraveler

    Atraveler Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello all,

    We recently moved across the country within the last few months to an area that does not have an RP congregation in the area. The closest RP congregation is approximately 1:30 away in downtown Atlanta. There are a few PCA churches in my area, and the particular church I am currently attending has a good pastor, nice people, and is mission minded. However, I do sorely miss the RP church and its particulars. It has crossed my mind to attend the RP congregation seldomly but join the local PCA congregation. I don't know. It's just a hard decision to leave the RPCNA. Does anyone here have a long drive to their congregation each week?

  2. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    We have a few, including one elder. Sadly they can't really be involved in the life of the church outside of the Lord's Day, and one of the family's doesn't always even make it then. It definitely comes at a cost, but worship is important.
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    This should have worked its way into your decision making; in fact, it should have been the priority. I know it is easier said than done. Many move for work and when the pickins are slim, it poses a serious problem. Tough call.

    I will be moving in the next month; primarily centered around a specific church. The decision wasn't that difficult as I work remotely from home. So, I am sensitive to situations as u describe. I have been in the PCA for quite some time. It is difficult for me and my wife, but you have to sometimes adjust as God providentially provides a home to hang your hat.
  4. Gesetveemet

    Gesetveemet Puritan Board Sophomore

    We have driven 75 miles to church about ten years now there are drawbacks. We stay at the church between services. We tried for a little while to just attend the a.m. service and listen by church telephone but became jealous of those who were there so we started staying again.
  5. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I would suggest joining the congregation closest to you if you can in good conscience; if not move or start looking into a church plant.

    I've been to the RP church in Atlanta many times; as you probably know they have an evening service, so it might work out that you can visit from time-to-time while still joining and committing to a more local body.
  6. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I dive an hour and a half to the FC(C) In Snellville. However, I wouldn't be content to do this if I weren't pursuing the ministry. I'd move, find someplace closer, or try and get a plant started.
  7. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    We are about 20 to 25 minutes away on the Lord's Day absent unusual events, but weekday travel to evening events can be up to an hour which chills participation in weekday activities.

    Is that Sunday time or rush hour time? If Sunday, it will be impossible for you to participate in congregational life other than for the worship service/Sunday school (if offered). I cannot see how this would be a good option for your family. And I don't think I'd drive to the RPCNA church in Atlanta other than on a Sunday morning. I'd certainly pass on going to anything there after dark. https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ga/atlanta/crime

    Have you checked out the RPCUS a bit north of Macon? That would be a good bit closer to you, although still a reach (looks to be 35 - 45 minutes) http://zionpres.com/
  8. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

    My family and I drive 3 hours each week(1.30 to and back). I can certainly relate to the struggles that came with the long drive. However, the benefits far outweigh the "sacrifices" to be in a congregation that is faithful to the Scriptures and one in which we're fed.
  9. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

    And in the broad scheme of things, it's really not that bad compared to what some saints of old have traveled in order to worship on the Lord's Day!
  10. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey, guys...
    I think we are all missing the point here:
    Jewish law sets the maximum walking range from one’s city to 2,000 cubits (3,049.5 feet, 0.596 miles (960 meters). [However, this measurement starts 70 2/3 cubits (112.24 ft.) from the city limits.] Practically speaking, this means that you may not walk a straight line more than .598 miles (3161.74 ft.) in any direction in the wilds outside your city limits.
    You can thank me in heaven.
  11. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Not to mention I-75 can be quite bad even on Sunday. We used to live in Henry County and go to church via I-75 N towards Atlanta and would get caught in bad traffic on the way home. A <30 minute drive in the morning sometimes turned into an hour to get home.

    The RP work in Atlanta is not in a safe neighborhood of Atlanta and most of the regular attenders come from within walking distance of the church. You can read this latest post from the pastor's wife to hear more about their ministry: http://atlanta-rpc.org/2019/04/catching-up/
  12. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Seems too far if you have a church nearby that you like. What particulars do you miss? Maybe after a while of attending the PCA church and getting to know the congregation you can ask the elders to incorporate them.
  13. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    There are a couple things to consider:

    -Driving time on the Lord's Day - can you make use of that time in the car? Could be a good time for discussions and listening to sermons...or it could be wasted and tiring if trying to police kids - it is different for every situation

    -midweek church life

    -elders visits and fellowship

    If you like the RPCNA that much, I would suggest either moving to a place where there is one, or else contacting their leadership regarding a church plant.
  14. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    I highly doubt the PCA would go to a cappella exclusive psalmody.
  15. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    No, but you could help influence a church towards including Psalm singing in worship if they are not already.
  16. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    May I ask if you're in the Air Force? Is this a fairly temporary living situation? I worked in Warner Robins for a short while. I have no memory of the Houston congregation, but recall much of central Georgia having "nice" churches without being terribly distinct in reformed teaching. The run up I-75 would be daunting in the best of times.
  17. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    It's been many years since I've driven up and down I-75, but I remember the trucks used to hit the road Sunday to miss the Atlanta rush hour traffic, and the traffic was always heavy between 475 and Atlanta (and it was faster through Macon than around it in those days).

    They really should put a warning on their website lest some visitor to Atlanta unfamiliar with the area comes to harm. (WCL 135).
  18. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    It's fairly clear if you read the vision page. They don't mince words about the neighborhood the church is in: http://atlanta-rpc.org/us/vision/
  19. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Pastor Frank Smith's reputation precedes him. I have talked w/ him a number of times and the conversations were very beneficial. I like his business model; that being, the gospel is preeminent. He is gospel centered and not RPCNA centered. I liked that.
  20. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It's hard to give up things we love about a church. In an attempt to hang on to them, is an hour and a half to far to drive?

    It depends on how important those distinctives you miss are to you. If you are constantly complaining about the closer church and you worship with a bad attitude there, or if your conscience tells you that you are being unfaithful to God there, then to drive for an hour and a half is far, but maybe not too far.

    If you are mostly seeking comfort, familiarity, and what you prefer, it is too far.

    To participate in most of the blessings of church life beyond weekly worship, it is too far.

    And if you want every now and then to abandon the church where you are a planning to be a new member, travelling to a church you feel is better that will remind you of your old church and of how your new church gets some things wrong or doesn't please you, then any distance is too far.
  21. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    There is a solid RB church in Orlando but it is up to a 90-minute drive on the Lord's day. Sometimes the drive time can be even worse due to Disney traffic. Also, we can't participate in church life outside of worship. For us, the totality of church life is what caused us to find a suitable church home in Lakeland.
  22. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    How 'at home' are you going to feel at the church in Atlanta. And what will worship be like - will it be what you are used to, or somewhat different? I clicked on the "What to Expect" page, and find that it is blank. So I do wonder if they will used tunes and tempos for the Psalms which match the Scottish tradition, or if they will be ones more familiar to the host community.

    It may be exactly what you expect. Or it may not. And I have no idea what you and your family look like, but your son, in particular, might be in for a rough time there.
  23. StephenMartyr

    StephenMartyr Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm attending a Free Presbyterian church about that same time, an hour and 30 mins. That's too far per week, so just once a month for me. I put on a message and it goes by really fast.

    Too far to me would be 3 hours I think. That's really far.
  24. Col33

    Col33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Forgive me if someone else has suggested this.

    Why not devote 1 weekend a month to your most beloved Church?

    Driving on Saturday, fellow-shipping with some congregants, . perhaps invite them out to dinner. Stay in an inexpensive motel, or camp out, or whatever you are into.

    Then getting up for Church on Sunday will be easy because you are close.

    Have known many Saints in peculiar situations that attended 2 or more churches. It can actually be quite interesting, stimulating, and even fun!

    I think it would help you to be a lot less lonely since your heart really does belong there.

    I can't live near the denomination I prefer and it is difficult.
  25. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Frank and his wife Penny were recently in a serious car accident several months back but are on the mend and Frank returned to preaching a month or so back. I believe he told me they are having to relocate meeting places and I'm not sure if that has happened or is to happen. It is a plant in a very bad part of Atlanta. Frank was interviewed for the forthcoming film Spirit & Truth where the church is featured (before any move). The psalm singing is out of the RP psalter.
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  26. Col33

    Col33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Who is Frank and Penny? I didn't see them mentioned in this thread.
    Should we be praying for specific things?
  27. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Frank Smith who is the pastor of the church mentioned above in Atlanta and Penny his wife.
  28. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    They're still in the same place for now. Their lease will run out some time in the next several months, though, and they'll have to move.
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