Why I Decided to Become a Jesus Follower
Different Journeys, One Destination
Have you ever looked at "religious" people and just thought, that's not me?
At SVC we love to celebrate the many different types of people and the journeys to Jesus represented in our congregation. We welcome the cautious, curious, quirky, bold, uncertain! We honor all the beauty and messiness of family, and would love to see you find a home in our community.
Below are a few stories from our family.
Turned off by Hypocrisy
Religion Without Relationship
I was raised in a traditional-church-going family who never really discussed God or faith. I saw people going to a building and sitting through what I considered to be a rather boring and lifeless service for all of my adolescent life. It was like church was just a building and a burden, not a body of people who loved and worshipped God and wore it on their sleeves.
Ironically, most people were not interested in talking about God, and yet they would send their children to be “educated” about God every Sunday evening in catechism classes. It eventually all caught up to me and rubbed me the wrong way as being hypocritical to say one thing but live a life to the contrary. The reason it bothered me wasn’t because I thought we should throw everything down the drain; it was because I believed there was so much more to who God was and what he called us to (I have no idea where that came from, but I think it was the Holy Spirit planting this idea in me).
It came to a point where I told my parents that I wasn’t going to be confirmed in our traditional faith, and at that point I had no intention of continuing to go to a church once I was out of the house.
As I look back on my childhood, I think the Holy Spirit was doing a work in my life, as I felt more and more drawn to thinking of spiritual things, especially entering high school; but it was all very undefined and complicated by the hypocrisy I saw around me.
Something really different
My second week of school at the University of Minnesota a guy from Cru bumped in to me and asked if we could get together to talk about faith sometime. And I’m so glad I said yes!
During this time I experienced a very different reality. I saw people of faith who viewed the church as Scripture says it is – the body of Christ – and they lived it out in their everyday lives.
They had Bible studies during the week where we learned about God, His promises, each other, and ourselves according to what the Scripture speaks about.
We shared life with each other, ate meals with each other, lived in close quarters, developed deep friendships, and practiced the spiritual disciplines together.
We got involved in faith groups on campus during the week and went to worship on Sunday mornings together at places of worship where the pastor spoke freely from Scripture and sought to encourage and equip (and occasionally admonish) us rather than read something written by another person.
Faith came alive, and it has been alive and well ever since that time in 2003.
Growth in Knowing God
I actually took a year off after my undergrad studies to devote time to reading and studying the entire Bible while working part time at SVC. I served as the musical worship leader for almost 5 years, during which time I grew in leadership and working with people who had different opinions than I did. The main take away from that experience though was that God is more interested in the spiritual health of His children than He was in me getting the music “right”.
Discipleship was also hugely important in my faith walk – and perhaps the single greatest thing for which I am thankful of my time at SVC. Discipleship is a time when a Christian who is further along than you meets with you to study God's word and challenge you to grow in how you live it out. Knowing the Word of God has been tantamount in my continued faith and hunger for God. It is also because of discipleship that I have have been able to now help others grow in their faith.
I’m currently in the marriage group for young couples at SVC, that has been very helpful learning to work through the challenges that marriage brings to life, or rather challenges that were always there that marriage has finally brought to the surface of my life!
My new found faith brought a lot of excitement to my life, but at first it really turned my family off. Some even thought that taking Jesus at his word meant I was part of a cult. Growing in faith was actually another challenge. When you get married to someone and make a life-long commitment to them, it still takes a lot of effort to work on your relationship after day one. The same thing is true of faith, and at first I found that to be a struggle. But 12 years later, it’s much better now!
The key to the Christian faith has really been:
- know the Bible, read it daily
- pray like crazy
- surround yourself with others who do the same
- learn to love others in a way that shows you care about both their spiritual development and their personhood
I’m hungry for the Lord. I want more of Him. There have been times of intimacy and times of what seemed like emptiness in my walk with God, but He is always faithful and always leads me onward and upward.
LINKS TO RESOURCES
Have you ever wondered about what you see as hypocritical religious people? How does someone even go about getting to know God more? Below are some links to sites that may be helpful to you.