I go to a non-denominational church. It is a pretty big church actually, with a total of 5 services on Sunday (3 in English and 2 in Spanish). The kid department is overwhelmingly large (trust me, I used to work in it). The people are great though. In my past experiences large churches were just overwhelming – flashy, loud, bright, with a constant non-stop buzz. My church isn’t though, it is large but not flashy. It is loud but loud because nothing makes our family happier than loudly singing and proclaiming all that is good. The church is also quiet – quiet as we gather around to listen, to learn, to pray, to be empathetic and welcoming, to be understanding, congratulating, and humble. To be adventurous but to be adventurous for God when he calls us to go and we go. There is always something going on – an author, a special guest, a worship night, a prayer fast for the month, baptisms, new people, baby dedications, and it is joyful to get to see the Holy Spirit moving throughout the church.
It is important to remember that not all Christians are the same. There are people who use the name of God (and even specific religions) to condemn and dismiss others that they feel don’t fit into the Kingdom of God.
But then there are some of us who know that there is a spot for everyone in the Kingdom of God just take the step. We use the beauty of our God to exhibit love, kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance of ALL people – not just people we deem fit because it is not up to us. My church stands for this and it makes me proud for it to be a part of my home.
I grew up in a small baptist church going with one of my friends and her family. I don’t remember much honestly, and I can’t exactly tell you why I didn’t like it there, I just didn’t. It could be because I didn’t feel welcomed, accepted, loved, I just felt like a physical body showing up. Then I started suffering from depression and stopped going to church. When I did go back I went to a church that cared more about the flashiness and less about the message. I stopped going again for 2 years. Now I am in a church that feels like home and I am addicted – seriously I can’t get enough of it and it is wonderful. I think it is important for a person to find a church where they feel at home.
A place they feel loved.
A place they feel accepted.
A place they feel they can connect with God.
A place that is more than just a building.
My family doesn’t go to church – just me. They used to (they went to the more flashy church and for some reason they stopped going. They liked it, but they stopped, maybe even though they liked it they didn’t feel connected). Trust me though – I ask constantly if they want to go and I will go to ANY service of their choosing. I go to the earliest service *yay being a morning person* but they are not morning people so I would gladly go to second or third service. However, my brother promised to go to one service when he feels ready and that is okay I am praying for him (and the rest of them) to find God and when he is ready I will gladly take him. They sometimes get tired of me talking about my faith but it hasn’t stopped me yet – just like every “no, not this week,” has not stopped me from asking.
It doesn’t matter what church you grew up going to (if you did), it does not matter what denomination those around you associate with if they associate with one at all. The beauty of being a child of God is that He gives us freedom and with freedom comes choices. We get to pick our churches and our denominations, and it is a person’s choice to believe or to not believe in God.
Recently I met up with two of my friends who I have not seen in almost a year. One of whom grew up in a Catholic church and since moving to college has been going to a Church of Christ. Her mom does not support her doing this. I however am happy to see her going to church after moving to a new city and going from high school to college. I am happy to see her finding herself through God and finding a place that she loves and feels at home with. I am happy to see how happy she is about her new church, the people, and what she feels like has become a home to her.
My other friend grew up in a large Baptist church. Actually the largest Baptist church in my town. Her fiance does not like Baptist churches (bad experiences) and prefers non-denominational churches. He happens to go to my church – which was a shocker to me but he goes to 2nd service and I go to 1st which is why we never see each other – and she has been coming to church with him. She also hasn’t been able to go to church every week after a recent promotion to manager – but she goes bi-weekly. Her friends and family have told her that she is pulling away from God and also do not support her changing churches. Again this breaks my heart. I hear her talk about how much she likes our church and how much she enjoys it and her eyes light up. But I can see how much the disapproval saddens her. I am happy for her going out and trying something new, and discovering how much she likes it. I am happy for her searching for God in different ways outside what she was raised.
The point is we all have the choice. We pick our church, our religious beliefs, and how we live our life. It is important to seek God however you feel he is calling you to do that and sometimes he calls us in different ways than those around us. Also, going to church every week does not make you less of a Christian. Sometimes we have a job that does not allow us to have Sunday morning’s off, that’s okay. Sometimes you discover a church that is different than what you were raised in, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who went to church, stopped going, went again, stopped going, and then going again, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who never went to church and now going, that’s okay. Sometimes you find one church, one denomination, and you always believed and you always stay there, that’s okay. What matters is that you are seeking God and to each person that looks different because our journey’s and experiences are different.