Churches are full of humans. Humans who mean well, but also make mistakes. This means they’re places of blessing; but sometimes also of hurt. If you’ve tried church in the past and had bad experiences there, I’m sorry. But please – don’t give up on the family that God puts you in.
If you don’t go to church, then now’s a great time to visit – or revisit – somewhere new. If you do go, and see someone you don’t recognise, then remember, your welcome can make a huge difference. It might even change someone’s life. Here’s some examples from friends who have been changed and helped by a community of grace:
‘My Church saved me, they took me to the doctors and stood with me on the path to recovery. (When I was) in hospital I received a letter daily from one of my fellow Church Interns. These letters showed me love and community like I never knew before. I believe Jesus would have been very proud of my Church and the love they showed me. The Church have supported me in a way that my non-Chrstian family cannot comprehend, they don’t understand why people that are not related to me would go out of their way to give me a home, money and relationships. My family live 300 miles away. yet this does not matter as my Church are my family here’.
‘Telling my church friends (about my struggles) was invaluable, especially where they had experienced similar issues. I was able to confide, cry and pray with them (or just cry as they prayed). It was a beautiful but painful place to be. I am so thankful to God for their wisdom and love’.
‘I fell in love with a Christian book store that opened next to my church, that’s how I met the owner who is an amazing woman and now is my closest friend…they have three kids and basically they took me in, they treat me like family, with them I started to slowly be myself and amazingly they kept loving me and caring for me’.
‘I still struggle to not see community as a threat but when I do give in to the emotional risk of connecting with people I have found delicious stuff. Encouragement. Acceptance.’
‘Our church is home…I have friends who really care for me. And I am learning that we are all a bit broken in some way – some just keep it better hidden, or are over it, or haven’t realised it yet’
‘People in church were interested in actual feelings…It taught me to open up and that talking can be so helpful instead of dealing with problem all on my own.’
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.