The first thing I want to say is that the purpose of this is to not harm or upset anyone, especially not my old church and the people there. The soul purpose of this is to openly say why I switched churches and denominations.
So many people have asked me why. Why I did what I did. Why I switched. Why I left all the people there that cared about me and loved me. Etc. It is ridiculously overwhelming and it makes me feel like an awful person every single time, not because I regret the decisions I made but because I know people don’t understand. I know people look down upon me for it. Side note, I also doubt they want to waste 30 minutes out of their day listening to me go on about why.
When I first started going to my old church, I had never experienced anything like it before. The people and environment of it all was great. I just never really felt much, never felt at home. I never felt like I could be myself. I was always scared that someone would judge me, and I just never felt good enough. Let me tell you, that’s an awful feeling to have at CHURCH.
When I first visited my new church what hit me first was all the people. They were the most kind and welcoming people I had ever met. I was automatically comfortable around them. I was able to be myself and I wasn’t scared to be judged. I was overwhelmed by them, but a good type of overwhelmed. They all just made me feel warm inside. They made me feel at home.
The first Sunday I ever went, I remember the worship. Everyone was singing their hearts out and praising our God so strongly I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had never been to a church where people weren’t scared to get out of their comfort zones during worship. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I remember just being engulfed by emotions. I had to put my head down because I was becoming teary eyed. I hadn’t EVER felt God that strongly during worship. I continued to feel drawn to that church.
Side note, I grew up in a Catholic Church, and went there until middle school. I don’t remember ever opening a bible. So when I first started going to my old church and I attended Sunday school, all the questions about the bible made me panic. Why was I never taught any of this? So I went to thank Isaac for those late night FaceTime bible studies teaching me about the parables and just the basics of the bible.
Gonna be honest, I always have had a hard time paying attention during sermons. But let me tell you one thing, my pastor now his sermons get me. I’ve never had a pastor preach directly out of the bible. Like build their sermons off of the word and go deeper into it with us. It’s definitely helped me learn more and grow in my faith. There continue to be this persistent feeling inside me about this church.
At my church now there is quite a few people that are involved with the youth, but one person specifically I connected with and she continues to inspire me and make me want to become a better person. (Sarah I know your probably going to read this and I love you!) She has been an adult in my life this past year that I can relate to and that I can look up to. Sarah amazes me with her love for God and her love for people. After me being there for several Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, we were loading onto the van for a youth event and Sarah looked over at me and said “So, are you with us for good?” That is when it hit me that this is going to be my home church.
The hardest part about leaving my old church is not going to church with my parents anymore. I heard one of the interns at my church speak the other day, he was talking about not living off your parents faith anymore and building your own. That’s what I’m doing. I’m building my own faith. It’s my faith that’s going to guide me down every path in my life from now on. It’s my faith that I’m going to rely on and be anchored in. It’s because of my new church that I have this faith that is so strong. That’s the thing about this whole situation is when I first started going to my new church, my relationship with God was nowhere to be found. This past year I’ve been through a whole lot, struggling with depression, anxiety, and self doubt. I believed in God, but I didn’t trust him. I was ashamed of myself and felt like I didn’t deserve his grace and forgiveness. But with the help of my boyfriend, my church family, and a lot of prayers and tears my faith in God is stronger than it ever has been.
I have been a member of MWC Community Churh of the Nazarene since the end of February. I joined on February 28th, after being in a class to learn about the denomination and the beliefs that the church has as a whole. It has been a little over a year since I visited my church for the first time. It was a Wednesday night and I was a disaster. That day we had basketball practice, and someone so kindly decided to spray a whole bunch of lavender perfume in the locker room not knowing that I was allergic to lavender. I broke out in this itchy rash all over my body. I went over to my boyfriend Isaacs house, and I took a shower as soon as I could. Luckily I did have some extra clothes in my basketball bag, but guess what? They DID NOT match, and they were extremely casual clothes. So here I go, going to (at which this time I didn’t know) my new church. This would be my first time meeting everybody! I had wet hair, no makeup on, and I didn’t even match. To all the people that know me reading this, you know how much I care about first impressions and also I HATE not matching. I regret ever worrying about this, that night of course I felt a tad bit anxious but every one welcomed me in with open arms. It just all felt right. I felt at home. That night I met all the people who would become my best friends. I met all the people who I would make all my favorite memories with. I met all the people who helped me realize what a church home actually is. The best of all, I met all the people who helped me find and shape my faith.