Church seems like it was yesterday. I grew up in it. And each Saturday I remember moving around from building to building until we finally went home.
I remember my mom and my dad spending hours at church board meetings, and then coming home frustrated with things. This is how I remember church.
I never had a bad experience there. I just never had an experience.
I got tired of going to church in my college years. Or, if I went, it was to check out a girl or grab a free meal. Back then, the hype church was Capitol Hill Adventist Church, where Wintley Phipps was the pastor. I attended Columbia Union College* and the fellas made sure we had fresh cuts and suits in order to impress the ladies and be seen.
But I was tired—tired of the same thing with no commitment. So I quit church and left without a trace. I would show up for special days, and to show my parents I was going, and I gave money occasionally. But I had no real connection, and my friends which weren’t into church didn’t understand why I even bothered.
Years later, my cousin, Sharon, invited me to a church. It was in the ghetto of Baltimore, and the name was Miracle Temple. She said I should come and hear the preacher. I wasn’t really interested, but when someone you respect invites you and offers to feed you after, you oblige. So I went on the first Saturday of the year in 2000, and a preacher named Freddie Russell was talking about vision. I was confused, I didn’t think I was in a business setting, but he had a PowerPoint presentation, and he was telling us where he thought the church needed to go. I was intrigued and wanted to know how a preacher could give a PowerPoint and not a hell-fire-breathing sermon on the first day of the year. It was Y2K and everyone was afraid the end was near. Pastor Russell must have missed that memo.
After church, I introduced myself to the Pastor, and then came back again and again. I invited people. They came with me. I even attended prayer meetings. This was different. This was the “unchurch.” Within the next few years, I joined and became lead webmaster, and eventually took charge of media. But it all started with an invitation from a friend.
Sometimes the best way to introduce others to Jesus is to simply invite them to come and see what you’ve discovered.
If you liked this, you might enjoy Why Go To Church or 10 Reasons to Go to Church (Even When You Don’t Feel Like It)
Chip Dizard writes from Maryland.
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