I’ve been going to church for as long as I can remember, since I was about 3 years old. I’ve only been a Christian for a couple of years. For me, the type of church I go to has a profound effect on whether I experience God or not.
I grew up in the Church of England. Well, I grew up in Sunday school in the Church of England, I very rarely went to actual services. I started going so that I could get into the school attached to the church, I carried on going because my mum didn’t think it was right to just stop once I got in. I have always been quite happy to go, even when I grew out of the Sunday school activities, I just became a helper on the junior church team. Its always been a part of my life. But I never believed. Most of my teenage years I went back and forth, in sixth form settling on “I believe in being a good person” and being pretty comfortable with the not being to sure what was out there. I carried on helping at the creche at the church I’ve gone to all my life, occasionally going to services. That was fine, I was pretty happy.
I found God and truly became a Christian when I was at university and started going to a non-denominational church that was young, vibrant and on the evangelical side of the faith. My journey there was hard and I went following months of unhappiness and with a hope that things would improve. It wasn’t instant. I never had that one moment thats always talked about when you ‘become’ a Christian. It happened slowly, but it happened. Only when I attended the right kind of service and only when I could benefit from it the most.
Now, I’m not an expert, I haven’t been in every kind of church and experienced how every kind of person experiences God but I do know that becoming a Christian happens because of a number of things. I really think that a church that is bold and asks you to make a commitment to God every week is a church that works. Prior to going to somewhere that every person so clearly had their own personal relationship with God, I didn’t know how to do that.
Church is an important thing. Finding the right church for you is perhaps one of the hardest, but definitely one of the best, things that you can do. There’s a lot more to write on this topic, maybe I’ll do a part 2 at some point.