At 37 years of age, I’m the closest to God I’ve ever been. My grandfather was a baptist preacher who traveled around the south. He formed and led a baptist church somewhere in Mississippi.
Grandpa had two churches. One in Shaw and One in Cleveland Mississippi. He was a regular preacher at New Morning Star, MB in Chicago. My Grandpa had attended Seminary with the then Bishop of NMC MBC. He started by self-educating himself. Because back then there weren’t many opportunities for a to become educated, especially for a black man.
If I could ask him anything, I’d ask why he decided to be a faith leader. My grandpa, like many Christians we know and love, didn’t always live his life in alignment with the word of God, even during his time as a faith leader.
My mom told me that he’d work in the fields during the day and he’d be under a coal oil lamp at night. My mom grew up at New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church along with her older sister. Her brothers didn’t attend NMS MBC.
As a child, my mother wasn’t connected to her faith either. Here Aunt Minnie made sure she went when she was a young girl but when she was 15 or 16, she started departing from Church. She was forced to go before that and she didn’t like it. She just did what she was told. She was even baptized.
It’s a wonder, the way we force our faith and beliefs on young children. I think many Christians would find my thoughts on it disrespectful, but I said what I said. I think we must expose our children to our belief systems. Give them a fair shot at learning of the lord from the time they are born. But to baptize them and to hold them accountable to a “commitment” to their “faith” before they have become young adults is illogical.
Children of faith are simply mockingbirds. Innocent & unaccountable.B
Somehow in my super young years, around 3rd grade, I had an interest in church. I found and took my younger brother with me to churches near where ever we lived. They were all Christian churches but different kinds. I’d attend Pentecostal churches, Lutheran churches, Baptist churches and even some non-denominational churches. They were all very different. The only thing they all seemed to have in common was hypocrisy and a poor reflection of Christ. Yes, even at my very young age, I could see that.
Over the years independent of my mom or other 4 siblings I’d continue to try different churches only to become more disappointed. I was a junior in high school when I decided that Christianity wasn’t for me. I’d also decided that the way God was represented in these churches, wasn’t anyone I wanted a relationship with for an eternity. I mean, -he came off childish.
He was described as jealous, wrathful, in constant need of attention and praise, and would send you to burn in hell for eternity for not following the laws he set which I was not allowed to ask questions about.
So I wandered as someone who believed in God, but I didn’t know him or what believing even really meant. I have an aunt by way of marriage who taught me how to grow in my connection with God through prayer, and she taught me who Jesus was. That was the first step I had in better understanding the faith I’d be trying to navigate alone.
However, I still wandered. I wandered without a relationship with my lord and savior from the 15 years old to 31. Wow… 16 YEARS!
At 31, I met my husband who was half stepping in the faith (a story for another time). He introduced me to his church. New Life Community Church, Rogers Park. The pastor was Dwayne. This pastor, unlike my previous experiences, was on FIRE for the lord. He was crazy consistent and watching him inspired me to try to build a relationship with Christ.
He has since relocated to Miami, heading up a youth ministry initiative called “Campus Life Club, by Youth For Christ.” We moved also. We are now on the southside. We haven’t found a new church and we aren’t exactly looking.
There is a Newlife Community Church, Midlothian, about 15 minutes from us, so we’ll likely start there. While Newlife Community Church is a multicultural, bible believing church there are a few things about it as an organization that doesn’t sit well with me at this point in my journey. I hope to add value to any church I’m apart of and though reluctant, I’ll be happy when I can finally find a church home new our new home.
This whole slacking thing about the church isn’t serving me well at all. I gotta get my stuff together.
So, tell me, sis. Do you have a church home? What do you love most about it? If not, what keeps you from it? Do you think having a church home is an important part of your faith? Why or why not?