If you realized anything about my blog, it is that my subjects are strictly based on inspiration. I don’t typically have a plan to what I am going to write until it hits me, and I like that. It keeps it fresh and exciting for all that read. Today is no different. Today I am going to talk about church a little bit. So please continue reading.
I was raised in a household where we went to a Baptist church. My home church in Portsmouth, VA, is a Baptist church, and for most of my life, it was all that I ever knew. When I was in middle school, my youth group where I said yes to Jesus for the first time was through a Baptist church. Whether big or small, country or urban, black or white, it was always this type of church. I enjoyed it for the most part, and it was cool to watch the progression of the church over the years. In spite of all that, I always felt like something was missing for me. There were certain things that I was not sure I believed or understood, there were things that I did not fully agree with, but I was a kid, so I did what I was told. In the summer of 2012, I found myself in a place where I was looking for a church. The church I had been a part of during my time in college didn’t really fit the phase of life that I was in, and although it wasn’t bad, I had stopped going completely. I would wake up on most Sundays and either go to work, or I would visit different places. It was cool. I remember running into a friend of mine who had invited me to their church for Easter that year, and I decided to go back. Little did I realize that my friend was a pastor to one of the fastest growing churches in our area. This church was exciting, loving, the music was great, and the pastor preached truth with passion. It was a fun place to visit. It was the Ramp Church International. I had visited in undergrad with some of my homeboys before, but we weren’t looking for God at that time. This church happened to have all the fine black girls at Liberty University going there, and so being the knuckleheads that we were, we decided to go and try to play church (it didn’t work, these women are the real deal about Jesus). Fast forward 4 years, and now I am back at this place. I remember feeling out of place for all of about 5 minutes, and that was due to my own insecurity, but then being welcomed in. It was a wonderful experience that I will take forever.
While being at this church, I began to form a deeper relationship with my friend who was the pastor. We would stay up for hours talking about the bible, and he would help me to understand things that I had questions about. This church taught me about theology in a new way and also taught me to research and learn things for myself so that I would be able to talk about my faith with confidence. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t just doing what everyone else wanted to me to, I was learning it for myself. I had wonderful “firsts” during that time. I was able to freely express myself in worship (I got a little step lol), I saw people healed from sickness, I laid hands on people and the Holy Spirit worked through me. It was scary but real. I was baptized in Jesus name at this church, I spoke in tongues, and understood it (I was in a service in Trinidad the first time I ever spoke in tongues, it freaked me out, and I never told anyone about it. This was a different time.). These were all things that growing up, I was told were taboo, or fake. I learned that they were real and alive.
It’s an unfortunate thing, but many look at those that worship in the ways I have mentioned before as though they are faking it, or that it’s too much. They sit in their churches every week as though their way is the only way that works. It’s dumb, to be honest, and it can be hurtful as well. The authenticity of these people is amazing. People shout, scream, run, but some also sit quietly, and commune with God. That’s what many miss. Doing these things aren’t requirements, these things are in response. That’s what worship is. A response to what God has done, is doing, and going to do in our lives. Most that I know don’t go to church because they want to. If they are honest with themselves they go because they have to. They need a body of believers to help them along their Christian walk. That’s the purpose of the church, “To equip believers to do the work of ministry.” That’s it. Anything else other than that has no eternal value. It doesn’t matter how you do it, the point is that you do it. You might never move, or clap, and shout, but if in your quietness God is moving and working, then that’s enough. It’s for you.
I wish that I could tell you that I am still there. I am not. I fell during my time serving in ministry, and because of that entire situation, I ended up leaving. I can take full responsibility for my actions, and I repented, but church is a 2-way street. Honestly, I felt like I didn’t have the choice, and if I could go back, I would do it all the same way. In times of hardship, people will show their true colors. Those colors were shown to me, and painted a picture that I didn’t want to look at. So I moved on. However, I would not be the person I am today without the time spent there, and I am thankful for it. I still have love for that place, and it will forever be in my heart. Maybe one day we will reconnect, and I can reconcile it all. Maybe not. I have no idea, and that’s ok. Jesus is still alive, and real. That’s all that truly matters.