I’m 28 years old and have spent a majority of those years in the church. I’m a pastors kid, I went to a Christian college, and graduated straight into pastoral ministry…
But the odd part is that I’ve always been asking the type of questions about “church” that produce dirty looks from those that I do “church” with. Though it was always my plan to be a part of it, I never really felt like I belonged. I felt like I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t. I’m not sure if I was taught this, or if it just happened, but either way, it’s what I became used to.
The type of churches I grew up in, and subsequently worked for aren’t unique to my story. In fact, many of my friends and colleagues had similar experiences with their churches. Churches where the Gospel was assumed and not necessarily displayed… Where the Spirit and the supernatural were explained, but not displayed…
I had too many questions.
I freaked out.
Left my church job.
Packed my car and moved across the country.
Take Risks: (Abandon what you know to find what you don’t…)
You see, I had been in the church for over twenty years and things didn’t seem to add up.
It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to be able to read through scripture and then look at the suburban American church and come to the realization that things look pretty different (aside from the donkeys, robes, and sandals).
My church was a country club. It was all about us. The Bible seemed to teach the exact opposite.
I didn’t want to be a part of that.
The early church were described as looking outside the needs and desires of ourselves and serving others…
I recently read in TITLE that 88% of children raised in Christian families leave church at the age of 18, never to return. Only 4% of the “bridger” generation, or Gen Y, will be Bible-believing Christians when they reach adulthood, all while, the 20 something male is almost completely absent in the American church…
So many of us are asking, wondering, questioning:
- Where is the power of the Holy Spirit?
- Is scripture really the inherent word of God’s?
- Does God even exist? If so, does he love me?
Christ says in Luke 4:43 in order to gain life, one must lose his/her life… pick up our crosses and carry them, giving up everything in order to be His disciple. Simply put, sometimes we must abandon what we know, in order to find what we don’t…
I was always the pastor who preached God’s love, but never really got it. My mom gave birth to me when she was only 19. I never knew my dad. Was immediately put into foster care. Soon thereafter adopted, then later kicked out having to break into my local school locker room to sleep. All of this makes the concept of love and acceptance difficult for me to fully grasp.
But rejection, that’s something I understand.
I know what it means to not be enough.
I know there are millions of teenagers, single mothers, young twenty somethings, even pastors or priests who have heard, are being told, possibly teaching on a Sunday morning that God loves them…
…even though they don’t quite believe it, receive it, or have even yet to fully experience it, having, their immediate family, group of friends, or even their local church telling them other wise, through the way they’ve treated them, what they’ve said to them, or possibly how they’ve just completely ignored them…
And so people like myself, project the actions of this world upon God and get the two mixed up and entangled, and struggle with understanding and grasping the truth.
Overwhelmed with unrealistic standards and expectations. Having to live up to and achieve being a certain person, is tiring, draining…
Know that even if you as a Christian..
1 Say a “Thats what she said” joke
2 Maybe even kiss a girl, rather then kiss dating goodbye
3 Struggle with homosexuality
4 Battle with “sexual sin”
… you’re not going to hell
Letting go of these lies, but yet taking hold of this truth…
That we That you, are loved. And that He. is. enough.
Taste & See (why God is, and whom that makes you)
When it comes down to it, I’m still in the midst of my journey. Still dealing with doubts, hurts, and pain. I wasn’t only seeking restoration, and healing, I was seeking God.
So be still.
Taste and see where God is in this story, and where that puts you. Meditate on why God is, and whom that makes you.
Nine months after taking a risk, letting go, and simply being still, leaving not only my career, but my comfort, security and stability… I’m coming to taste and see “His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea” and that nothing can separate us from this love, leaving me with no choice but to, as A.W. Tozer says so poetically, “kneel in joyful silence from which the loftiest eloquence retreats confused and abashed…”
And from this posture, that is where I find my comfort, security, and stability…
That being in and through Him.
Andy Gill is currently studying at Princeton Theological Seminary. He speaks to youth and young adults, writes and tweets
Opinion Articles are the opinions and contributions of the guest blogger/writer and do not always represent the views of Yada Magazine.