This past week I was talking to someone who has recently started coming out to Christ Church and given their life to Jesus. I asked them what their first Sunday was like. This is their response.
I came in with my feelers up. I had never been to a church before, but from watching TV I anticipated that people were going to be smug and judgmental like Angela from the Office. However, I had been invited out by my neighbors and I wanted to come because they were different then what I thought a church person would be. They genuinely, really care about me, they have a loving family and seemed to be authentic about this Jesus thing. I wanted some of what they had in my life and so I figured, I’d give their church a try.
I came up to the building and was enthusiastically greeted by the people handing out the programs. It was nice, but they had to do that because it was their job. I was wrong though, because almost everyone in this church was friendly. Lots of people came up and introduced themselves and took a genuine interest in me. They didn’t have badges that identified them as “greeters”. They were just authentically nice. When the service started I wasn’t emotionally manipulated into anything. The music was straightforward and while I didn’t understand what people were singing about at first, as I read the lyrics they made sense. Prayer time was weird. It was uncomfortable sitting there in silence. But when people started to pray, I had never heard anyone talk to God like they did. The sermon felt like it was speaking directly to me, which was crazy, because I had never met the pastor before. I couldn’t believe how understable the Bible actually is and relevant to my life. I wasn’t ready to “jump in” that day, but I definitely wanted to come back. That was 3 months ago and I haven’t stopped since. Every week I understand more and am growing in my faith. It’s like my neighbors and this church were sent to this neighborhood just for me.
Here’s what I love about this story.
She wanted to explore faith, because of how she saw her neighbors living out their faith
She felt welcomed by the church, not because it was people’s “job”, but because they genuinely cared
She wasn’t spoken to through her emotions, but through a clear presentation of God’s truth.
She came with her “feelers” up and her stereotypes were broken down.
May God continue to help us be this genuine and authentic church and may we hear many more stories like this in 2018!
Grace and peace.