Finding A Church To Belong To

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A few weeks before my wife and I got back together, I was at the gym one day working out.  I was thinking, “I’d really like to go to a church this week where I could just worship and not have to worry about what everyone’s thinking.”  Later that day, a friend of mine called me and asked, “Would you like to go to North Point with me this Sunday?”

North Point is a large, non-denominational church that plays rock and roll music and is very non-traditional.  I told him that yes, I would like to, as a matter of fact.  It was just another answered prayer on a minor level, but would turn out to be a major blessing as time went on.

We met in the parking lot on Sunday and went inside.  In the auditorium, it was much more like a concert than a church.  During the music, there were strobe and stage lights, fog, special effects, and five large video screens, making it difficult to focus on anything.  Add in the fact that I didn’t know any of the songs, and I mostly just stood there looking around.

I don’t remember much about the message because I was on sensory overload.  My friend asked me what I thought and I told him honestly that I didn’t know. I figured I’d have to go at least a second time, when I would know what to expect, to really decide whether I liked it.  I knew I was done going to my old church, and I would have to do something.  I just didn’t know if this church was it.

The next Sunday, I went back by myself.  It was a completely different experience.  Instead of looking around with curiosity, I found myself being drawn in.  By the third song, I began to break inside.  Tears streamed down my face, and I felt like God was right there with me, meeting me right where I was.  The rest of the service was just a time for Him and I to spend some quality time together.

I still wasn’t sure this would ever be my home church, but I was encouraged that it was a place where I could heal and be ministered to.  I was also impressed that people dressed and looked any way they wanted to, and some of the people in the worship band, as well as the pastor, sported tattoos.  I knew that if things ever worked out with my wife, she would be very uncomfortable going to a church that judged people by the way they look.

Once we had moved back in together and gotten things cleared up in our relationship, the next most obvious thing that needed to be fixed and restored was our spiritual life.  Amazingly, my wife, who was still angry with both God and His church, asked me if I wanted to go to North Point with her.  I told her that I had been a couple of times and that I wasn’t sure how she would like it, but one thing that was for sure is that they wouldn’t look down on her for having a tattoo or piercing.

I hoped that things would go really well, but they were a disaster.  They weren’t having regular church that Sunday.  It was more like a business meeting where they announced that they had bought a property and were opening a second location.  They told the history of the church, the state of their finances, and other such topics in a panel discussion format.  My wife was still angry when we left, calling it, “a waste of time.”

The next week, she unexpectedly announced that she was willing to go again.  We did, and this time, her experience was like mine had been the second time I attended.  She broke during the singing, and we both cried all through the message, which was about the prodigal coming home.  It was a beautiful experience, as if God had set it up just for her.  She gave her heart back to Him that day, and we’ve rarely missed a week since.

I still cry in church almost every week, and God continues to heal, minister, and bless.  We now belong to two small groups and lead a third in our home.  We volunteer, serve, and continue to grow as a couple and as individuals.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy again and again as I stand in the congregation with my wife at my side.

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