It has been a while since I have attended church on a regular basis. I grew up in the church and have gone to church almost every Sunday and even on Wednesday nights when I was a teenager. Over this past year, my church attendance has dwindled to almost never going.
I won’t sit here and tell you that you have to go, every Sunday, to church or you will go to hell. That is just incorrect and stupid. The ONLY way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ. Having a relationship with Him and accepting Him as your Lord and Savoir. You can do that without going to church.
I will tell you that I believe community is an important part of your spiritual growth. We learn from others and see a different perspective on things. So for me, a year of on and off connection was a bad thing for my spiritual growth. I was going to a church that I thought would be our church family until the day I died. I was growing through the sermons, making friends who had kids the same age as my daughter, my husband began to learn how to be a preacher, and we were learning from our church community.
Well, things happened and the church started falling apart. It was then my husband and I realized that it was time to move on. There were hurtful words from the members who stayed and our hearts left heavy and broken. So we went to a church where my in-laws were attending. this time, there wasn’t any growth. I wasn’t growing spiritually, there weren’t any children my daughter’s age she could play with and learn from but my husband kept preaching and learning what it meant to become a preacher. I stayed in it for my husband but deep inside I felt stagnant. I was stuck in a place where I wasn’t growing and it was taking a toll on my spiritual relationship with the Lord.
Life happened and the church decided not to stand by our side but ridicule us instead; telling us we were wrong for everything that had happened in our life (things that had nothing to do with the church) and tore the preaching lessons away from my husband. Once again, we were broken and hurt by a church we trusted but let me make one thing clear before I move on. No church is perfect. Because the church is made up of a body of believers, it is also filled with individuals who all mess up; just like you and me. So in no way do I hate those individuals who hurt us. Yes, they were leaders of the church and was what they did right? No. they way they treated us was not the way anyone should be treated. However, I am, in no way, saying that church is bad, leaders of a church don’t also make mistakes, and no one will ever get hurt in a church. It happens.
So at this point, my husband and I were broken from two churches and didn’t know where to go. We still craved that community and spiritual growth that we both desperately needed. So once again, we went looking for a church and found one. It was a lot bigger for our taste but we decided to give it a shot. We attended there for about five months and during that time, we went through one of the hardest times of our marriage thus far. We went to the pastor and asked for counseling. We were set up for counseling but didn’t feel like anyone really cared.
The counseling fell through and we felt like no one really cared about helping us or encouraging us. We stopped attending church and even stopped reading our bibles. Our spiritual life grew dry and I felt like I was shriveling up. I was spiritually wasting away to nothing and I was growing further and further away from God.
My husband’s schedule eventually changed and he could not longer look for a church with me. He now works every Sunday morning. However, I didn’t want it to end there. I yearned for the community I once knew and the growth I once had in my life. I turned to a church I grew up in here in Colorado and decided to start attending.
You might think, well why did you leave that church in the first place? I left because I went to college four hours away from this church. After I graduated from college, I moved to another small mountain town where I met my husband. When we moved back to the Denver area, we wanted to start fresh together in a church where no one knew us and that is when we found the first church I discussed in this article.
When I entered the doors of my now current church, I felt like I was home and had never left. Everyone was very welcoming and warm and very inviting to my family. I left that day feeling complete again. Now, every Sunday, I want to go back and join the community in events, worship and even join a bible study.
My point throughout all this is that community is an important part of our spiritual growth. It might take us a little while to find the right community or the right church to fit in to but when you do find it, stick with it. I learn so much from the people of Good News Community Church every single week. The lessons we all have learned can be passed on to each other and we can be there for each other when hard times come around. That is a valuable thing to have in your life.
So if you think community is necessary for your spiritual growth and you feel like you are shriveling up and drying out, try to find that community. I promise, when you find the right church for you and you stick with it, you will grow in ways you never thought possible.