This topic is hard to talk about for me because its too big to tackle, Thus my “Part 1” of what I will imagine with be a lengthy series.
I grew up in the church so I’ve seen many facets to the Church. I grew up in Orlando, Fl and was raised in a Southern Baptist denomination. My church started relatively small and grew to the size of probably 8 thousand with a full orchestra and 100 person choir. When I moved to California my parents decided to take the opposite approach to churches and we went to a small, 70 people (on a good day) Baptist church. The smaller the church the more family it felt the more “The family” fought for petty things. The bigger the church the more overwhelming it felt the less connect we were. Somewhere at the age of 15 I felt the need to walk away from my small 70 person church. If you’ve read my first blog entry (My Heart) you would understand why I left. My parents still felt called there, but I couldn’t stand to be there. So I left my church and venture out. I’ve visited a number of different denominations and witnessed a handful of youth groups. Again, I failed at the attempt to even understand why I kept going so I stopped going to church. However, if anyone knows living in a Hispanic home you would know that I was still forced to at least go with my parents. So I would go and sit in the back and leave service many times to go to the “restroom”. Let be honest a teenager would rather be anywhere but in the church. When I turned 18, I used that to my advantage and told my parents I was done with church. I didn’t like the fake attitudes and I was still a hurting kid from the experience I went through when I was in Jr. high. I saw people getting hurt time and time again, people over looked and the lack of authentic relationship. I found myself slipping through the cracks. Fast Forward many more years later and you would find me actively serving at my church, being an intern and loving God and people. What the heck happened?
One simple thing, God MET ME. In the most authentic way I fell in love and never looked back.God healed me from Addiction, mended my brokenness and while I still struggle with my flesh I know my life never went back to the way I use to be.
It’s unreal to be sitting here writing about this because the truth is, this is a pattern of church hurt I have experience time and time again. I can name a total of probably 6 times in my young 29 years that I have had to walk away, pick of the pieces of my heart , hand them back to God and say “please daddy , fix this I’m hurting.” All while being the new me, the one who gave her life to the Lord and didn’t look back. Just because I walked away from my sin and gave my life to God was in no way an exception of being injured by people in and outside the church. See the Church is filled with people who are still dealing with their crap, who in their own unawareness hurt the people around them.That is what every church looks like, a hospital of people needing God to mend and heal the things that they cannot let go and let God. I understand that, but I think even in my experience I’ve come to see my hope for the church. I am still to this day am wanting to see the Kingdom of God walking the street and loving people in their mess and leading them to the ONE who can set them free from Sin. I desire to see the church gathered in homes and encountering the very living presence of God. I long to know my father more and to walk into the throne room of knowledge and wisdom with community. I guess you can say that my hope in this blog post is to hear the heart of God’s people. Tell me what church looks like to you? Leave a comment below, let’s explore what church means to you.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.