Dear Recent High School Grad, don’t wait until August to find a Church. Start Now!

For all believers, it is vital to growth and obedience to Christ to be involved in a local body of believers--the church. No matter what stage of life you are in, regular fellowship with believers is not only good, but your soul craves it. College is no exception. Just as you are mapping out what courses you are going to take and the perfect dorm room decor, take the time to research and seek out the local body of believers you will grow alongside of.

Honestly the term “church shopping” makes me uncomfortable. Acts 2:46-47 tells us that the early church lived this way: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I have this in chalkboard in my dining room to remind me that part of my identity in Christ is to meet with other believers for the purpose of sharpening each other and remembering the good things God has done for us. The fruit of this are glad/generous hearts and others daily wanting to come into our fellowship as a body of believers. So, to reduce this to what church has the best music for 8 minutes a week in a service or does the pastor wear jeans or slacks...makes me bored...and makes me start praying for self control immediately. Ha

Here is the beautiful thing about the time you are living in now High School grad, you don’t ever have to church shop! The days of going to 5 churches and not committing to loving and serving 1 locally can die in your generation thanks to the interwebs (as Michael Scott calls it).

The summer before college spend time praying with your family and mentor about the local group of believers the Lord would have you join as you head off for college. Download this free printable, set-up a time with your family and mentor and answer these questions. If there are several churches, print several and look at their websites. Don’t fill it all out if you conflict with a major area of belief. Example: They do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God...on to the next!

Families, enjoy being a part of this process with your teen. Cook her favorite meal and tackle some of these questions together. Take a few days to break from the questions and process, then take her out for a late night treat to answer a few more (cheesecake at 9 pm is always a good idea). These can be some memorable times and part of you commissioning your daughter as she heads out.

Personally, I would even take it a step farther and when you find a fit (teaches truth from the Bible, active disciple-making plan, engages community with the Gospel) email one of the leaders and ask if your family can take them to lunch move in weekend. Y'all all go to church together there then get to know this staff person. This is not micro-managing.  Emailing the person you took to lunch weekly to check up on your kid is a bit much.  But, you modeling discernment through asking good questions and developing relationships is you actively taking part in helping your student know what things to look for in a healthy church.

My kiddos are teeny, but I’ve had the privilege of helping High School grads I’ve mentored connect with a church. Students who connect with other students and mentors quickly thrive in every way in college much more compared to students who do not. I’m mentoring a group of seniors right now and it is my JOY to sit down with them, process this, and pass it along to their families.

We've created this handy New Church Research Questionnaire to help you process the important questions and start preparing for the fall! Click the button below to download and print. Let us know how it goes! - Amy 




This past weekend Becca came to visit me in Dallas. As we were sitting by the pool with our phones tucked away in our bags, we quickly slipped into a great conversation...uninterrupted, sharpening, and challenging as per usual. 

We started talking about how its very easy to be “with people” but never actually connect with them. Its easy for 2 people sharing a table in a coffee shop to spend the entire time looking at other people’s lives on Instagram instead of intentionally getting to know the person they are actually there to have coffee with. We all see this. If you haven’t, put your phone down and look around you. (wink).

Out of that conversation, we decided to start a new campaign, #Handsfreefridays. Check out this quick video! 

Romans 12:2 says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Conformed means to let something from the outside shape who YOU are on the inside. Let’s not conform to this trend. As Christians, let’s inspire those in our presence, not tune or zone out. Let’s not make others feel like they’re competing with someone else for our attention.

Before you eye roll that I’m way old, let me tell you about an interesting trend I’m seeing and hearing. Several Christian girls I know in high school and college have deleted social media from their phone for the summer. Why? One girl said, “I’m tired of going to dinner and not having anything to talk about. I ask someone how their day was, and they say ‘didn’t you see my Snapstory’ I smile and say no and they have to talk.” One girl said, “I was spending way more time looking at people’s lives instead of doing life with my friends.” Fascinating. Social media is not the worst, but Biblical community is life-giving while social media creeping just leads to jealousy and comparison.

For me, I put my phone in a different room for a few hours every day. When I share a meal or am a table with someone I put my phone in my purse or turn it upside down. I do this to communicate to my family, guests, and friends that I want to listen, laugh and not have 5  screens open in my head and not really want to listen to them. Because for me, even if I’m not talking on my phone if I pick it up continually I’m still processing a pic, email, and who is that super rando person that just followed me on twitter...probably spam.

Everyone is different, but with this challenge, we really want yall to join us in being present and having great conversations that inspire and encourage.

Maybe the most freeing habit you form this summer is learning how to survive without checking social media for a day?

 Maybe the most hospitable habit you form this summer is developing the discipline of giving your guests your full attention?

Maybe the most loving thing you can do for your family is allow the Lord to transform your heart in this area through hands free Fridays?

We would LOVE to hear what you’re doing to participate in this and what it is doing in your relationship with the Lord and others. Email us or connect with us and the perch community using #handsfreefridays - Amy

The 2 most Freeing Pieces of Mom Advice I've Received

I had both my kids in NYC. We lived in Harlem, and if you've ever been to NYC you know that people just say what is on their mind, out loud, to your face. I was given unsolicited parenting advice regularly on the street from what my kid should eat, how often she should eat, when she should nap, how/where she napped, what she wore, and I was regularly approached by women asking if I needed a nanny. That was always the weirdest to me. Yes, random woman standing by the subway…Let me give you our address...

I had people telling me continually that their methods/opinions were correct. Honestly, I believed them. I listened, pinned, researched, and second guessed everything I did that first month. I loved every minute with my baby, but had this overwhelming ache that I was “messing her up and doing this wrong.”

When my daughter was about 2 months old we went to the park with some Texans that were friends of friends. I unloaded my angst on her…She calmly said, “You parent from your personality.” (Ya’ll let that one sink in) I literally felt like a weight fell off my shoulders. I am a lion/otter, so I don’t have her in her bed napping for 48 minutes every day. I got in too many great conversations at NYU with international students and naps were regularly in the baby carrier.

Instead of feeling guilty about that, that is who I am and I need to adapt where needed but not bury myself in guilt because I parent differently from someone who has a different personality; thus, different strengths and weaknesses. One day a week we did (and still do) Sabbath and wear our pajamas all day. This isn’t weird and a lack of structure, this is me.

For the people that are cringing because you think that is weird and lacks structure, that is you! And, that’s great! Let’s be friends and celebrate knowing that we both love our kids. How freeing! Jesus has taught me how to give myself grace and my kids grace in deep and powerful ways through this freeing piece of advice.

Recently I was majorly questioned about a parenting decision I made and my old familiar friend of insecurity began to shout, “She’s right, you're doing this parenting thing wrong!!” I listened to her kinda, but was really praying the whole time. The Lord so clearly reminded me, “She has different goals.” In Gospel Powered Parenting, William Farley makes the point that Wikipedia says parenting is raising a child birth to 17. For Christian parents, parenting is birth to eternity.

With my decisions I (hope to/try to) have one eye on eternity. I can smile and disagree knowing that my identity is rooted deeply in Jesus and I will have different goals for my kids compared to parents with their own goals. If we have different goals and desired outcomes, of course we will have different parenting boundaries, rules and methods for getting there!

I can humbly listen and talk to my hubby if there is a decision that I’m open to changing. I don’t listen in guilt that I’m not enough. I don’t listen in anxiety that YOU are better/doing better. I listen in a confidence that Jesus is enough and I love my family. Let’s check our goals and motives against God’s Word. Humbly stand firm in certain areas. Humbly listen because none of us are perfect and we all need each other.

Did either of these resonate with you today? We would love to hear in the comments or email. What are some freeing pieces of mom advice you have received??

We are so thankful for each of you! How many friends we have made and the amount of readers each month is for sure exceedingly and abundantly above what we thought or imagined for The Perch! This is our one year anniversary month. Make sure you’re following us on social and reading the next few weeks. We have some fun giveaways coming! - Amy

My Mother Has Taught Me...

Last year I had the privilege to speak at my friend, Amy Jo's Girls Retreat. She shared that the worship leader, Rachel, would be my roommate for the weekend. Oh, ps Rachel is Francis and Lisa Chan's daughter. (#thespeakercannotfangirl)  We chatted about all kids of things, but honestly what I remember most is how kindly and respectfully she talked about her mom. As a mom, I long for my kids to "stand up and bless me" both now and when they're adults, which is exactly what she did. I pray this post encourages us as moms and also encourages us all as daughters. 

Enjoy this pre-Mother's Day blog from our friend, Rachel Chan. - Amy

My friend, my mentor, my role model, my mother. 

My mom has taught me many things with her words and even more with her heart. My mom has taught me that our home is God’s home. Growing up, my family always had people living with us from all walks of life. As you can imagine, some people that stayed with us were easier to get along with than others. No matter what the circumstance, my mother always welcomed people into our home with an attitude of faith and obedience.

Nothing could frighten my mother. A woman who can’t speak English needs a place for her and her children to live? We’ve got room. A single gal needs a place to stay? I’d love to disciple her. A man who recently got out of prison and his family? Welcome. Seven children of my own? Thank you Lord. You see, my mother gave up her home a long time ago because she wanted God to fill it with the right people. My mother has taught me that our home is God’s home. 

My mom has taught me that being a mom is a joy. With each child, I have watched my mother love on each of my brothers and sisters, cherishing her time with them. The older I get the more I recognize the amount of work that parenting her children requires of her, and the more I am blessed by her approach to motherhood. My mother sees her job as a joy and her greatest wish for her children is that they would grow up to love Jesus with all of their hearts. My mom has taught me that being a mom is a joy. 

My mom has taught me that joy comes from the Lord. Truly my mother is a joyful woman. Her childlike excitement for all things good is contagious and refreshing. In a world so unaware of what is truly worth celebrating, my mom is a living reminder that the life God has given us is a joy to have. Sometimes this joy does express itself in a hardcore mom dance move, but I try to look past that (For all the daughters reading this I’m sure you can relate). Being cheerful isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s a gift we can truly use to encourage others. My mom has taught me that joy comes from the Lord.

My mom has taught me to do ministry. I have a special memory of doing ministry with my mom in the inner city. There was a woman who lived in the inner city of San Francisco who had strong opinions and a lot to say. My mom and I would visit with her and despite the fact that they had nothing in common with one another, my mom treated her with respect and love. My mom is so humble. She makes everyone feel like they’re her friend. I remember another time in the inner city when a woman needed a new jacket. When we went shopping to get her a jacket, mom didn’t just pick out the first thing she saw, she actually looked for one. I guess this would be a good time to say that my mother found a way to make shopping a ministry (For all the mothers reading this I’m sure you can relate). My mom has taught me to do ministry. 

Over the years my mother has become one of my best friends. I’m not done learning from her and I never will be. One of my favorite things my mom has taught me is that we are going to be together for eternity worshipping Jesus. I love you so much mama. Happy Mother’s Day. - Rachel