I belong to God, not to a church, and this seems to be a concept most don’t understand.
In the past, I have had many bad experiences with churches. I believe we must feel comfortable where we worship God but sadly over the last 15 years, I have only had 3 churches I felt comfortable in.
I either didn’t feel comfortable or I felt like a complete outsider. Others I felt like I was being judged as a single mother. At one church I was attacked by a stranger about my parenting abilities – my children weren’t even there. At yet another one, a stand-in pastor decided to speak about the ‘world problems’ without doing his homework, and I spoke to him about it (not that I am an expert) because I feel that as a leader who people look up to, you need to know the facts, which I felt he didn’t. And at this same church, no one even bothered to get to know me (I am a friendly person 😊) and I had attended this church for 4 months. Perhaps I am a little sensitive or perhaps it is that I have high expectations, but none of the above is okay for me.
There is one church I attended that one I will never forget. The Baptist Church in Brackenfell. WOW! The first time I stepped into this wonderful church I felt welcomed and loved. I never felt like an outsider or judged. Everyone was filled with this beautiful love, the love God wants us to show everyone. Even though my time there was short-lived (firstly because of covid, and then moving), they will always be in my heart, and I have made lifelong friends.
So, why is it that churches aren’t what they should be?
I have heard it said that churches can be flawed, disappointing, messy, and sometimes hurtful but surely it is the people who are flawed, disappointing, messy, and sometimes hurtful? After all, we are human, and we mess up all the time. No one is perfect, and we will always disagree with someone. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. I guess there could be many reasons, but it is not a reason to not serve God.
So many times, it was thrown in my face that I can’t be a Christian if I don’t attend church. If I mention why, then I get the generic response of “That is why I am not a Christian”, or “That is the reason I don’t attend church”.
Remember: our walk with God is personal. When He needs us to attend church, He will lead us to the right one. My relationship with God has strengthened irrespective of my attending church.
After moving, I didn’t put much effort into finding a church because of all the lockdown regulations but towards the end of January this year I felt an urge to find a church. I was longing for the fellowship, for the teaching. So, I decided to attend the church I did between 2005 – 2007. Not knowing what to expect I was nervous but knew I had to do this.
I remember walking into the church and feeling at home. It was like I never left. Although it has been 15 years, several people remembered me, it was really special. I was invited to a bible study group which is at just the perfect time for me, with awesome ladies, and I look forward to my fellowship with them, learning from them.
When I moved, I knew that this is where God wanted me, needed me, even though I was apprehensive about moving to a place where, at the time, I didn’t have friends. I am grateful for this church, and I know the people I will meet or work with, will have an impact on my walk with God.
We need fellow Christians that we can talk to, who can pray for us, and teach us. I have an amazing group of Christian friends who I lean on often, and they are truly heaven-sent. They each have this uniqueness about them, they all bring something different to the table. But they never judge or condemn me, they are always understanding and loving.
So, why is fellowship important?
It is where we come together to show support for others, where we can learn from each other, where we can pray together. It makes us stronger and provides encouragement. It helps us grow.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
I don’t know what I would do without my Christian friends, even though most live far away, they are always there for me.
Remember: God loves you.
Keeping it simply raw & real.
Your sister in Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:26
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.