Growing in Faith

Growing in Faith-Part 7: Why I Decided to Join a Church Community

New Life Community Church - Lincoln Park (My Church!)
My Church!

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:26

There are many instances in the Bible where God calls us to be in community with other believers. A church home is more than just a community of believers; however, it’s also a place to be reminded of God’s grace.

It took me around 10 years to pursue another church community. I had mixed feelings about church, and I had been burned in the past, but these feelings were also likely a result of me falling away from my faith, which you can read more about here. My most vivid memories about the first church that ever felt like home to me are from the years that I lived in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. This is the church where I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in the mid-90s, and it was the place that truly felt like a place where I could grow. I was incredibly active in this church: I sang in the choir, I volunteered and I participated in so many events that took place. I remember spending so much time here. Then, my family moved, and I fell away from my faith gradually. The years between were some of the hardest as I moved to a new place, had to make new friends, and my parents also divorced during this time. My mom tried hard to find another church, but none of the churches around my home in Florida ever really felt like a place I could call my own. I also always had such weird feelings about the churches I visited. None of them felt genuine, and I was left feeling empty. My mom also had a lot going on during this time and so we’d leave church, and she would break down in tears. My heart ached to see her feel so badly about herself. It was these moments that caused me to resent the church.

Fast forward to roughly 10 years later, and I have finally found a church again that truly feels like home. I started attending church again because I wanted to grow in my faith, and I needed to be surrounded by other believers. Attending church regularly is incredibly important for several reasons. For one, it is so easy to get caught up in “life.” As humans, we tend to easily shift our attention to other things until the importance of keeping God first is set aside. Church allows me to reconnect weekly and to be reminded to always keep God first. It’s so incredibly easy for me to get caught up in things like work, friends, and the daily hum-drum of life that my focus on God becomes blurry. It’s not that I forget that God is there, but sometimes I do let other things get in the way. For me, as stated above, another reason is so that I am surrounded by other believers who take their faith seriously and help me grow in mine. I’ve met so many wonderful friends in my church community, and I love that I’m challenged and pushed daily here. I’ve also joined a small group of people very close to my age that I try to attend as regularly as possible. Now, I can’t picture my life without my church family, and I hope that wherever I go that I am always a part of a church community.

If you’re not taking part in a church community at least weekly, I highly encourage you to find one that fits who you are as a person. Of course, there are many other things to look for in a church. I guess I was lucky in that my church here was one of the first ones that I checked out. Somehow, I knew God wanted me here. 

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