open up our hearts so we can show the world

i grew up the grandson of a preacher in a small town in north carolina. my grandpa not only was the pastor of our church but he also oversaw the largest day care in the county when i was a kid. to add to that, as i got older he became the chaplain of the police department and the fire department.

when i was younger, my mom sang in the choir and my dad was one of the head ushers. my dad was also head over our wednesday night service for a few years and won western north carolina lay person of the year two years in a row. my mom taught girls club on wednesday nights and helped run one of the best ones in the state.

my grandma was in the choir. she also taught sunday school and girls club. on top of that, she was one of the main administrators for the day care.

my aunt was the music director of the church. she was over the finances and payroll as well.

at one point in time, i was on the mime team, the clown team, the puppet team, the worship band, and probably a few other things that i don’t even remember now.

i think it’s safe to say that i grew up in the church. i was there all of the time. i saw the ins and the outs of what went on. i saw the good and i saw the bad. i heard the rumors, the whispers, and the straight up gossip. i experienced people trying to stab my grandpa in the back and try to take the church that he started from him.

over the years, as i got older, i knew that i loved jesus and that he was my savior but i really, really started to dislike his church. that dislike grew into anger and a point where i was pissed off at the church. i thought the church was full of hypocrites or was a christian country club. over time that anger grew into hatred. i got to the point where i hated the church.

i wanted nothing to do with it.

in the middle of the fall of my sophomore year of college, i had a night where i just got real with god. we went back and forth and i simply laid everything out there to him and got really honest with him. it was just before my 19th birthday. in all honesty, it’d probably been 2-3 years since i had been actively involved in church (and, while i’m being honest, the only reason i went to sunday school the last year or two i did was because my grandma bought us biscuits from mcdonald’s).

i still claimed to be a christian.

i still prayed.

i still lived by christian principles.

but i wanted nothing to do with the church.

on this night, in my big blow up with god, i felt him telling me i needed to be at a christian school. i didn’t really like this but i said okay and after a few major coincidences (aka god showing me things), i ended up transferring to liberty after christmas.

i spent 2.5 years at liberty finishing up my undergraduate degree. in those 2.5 years, while attending the world’s largest evangelical christian school, i didn’t step foot inside of a church on sunday morning. i was around christians all day, every day. i was surrounded by churches of all shapes and sizes. i chose “bedside baptist” instead of any of them though. like i’ve said already, i wanted nothing to do with the church.

when everything started happening with my ex-girlfriend in the summer after i graduated, i realized i needed to get back into church again. i found a great church in town and over the next couple of months, i realized that the church that i knew growing up wasn’t the only version of church. i started seeing people act in a way that i thought the church described in the bible should act.

i started falling for the church.

fast forward two years and a couple of months and you’re where we are right now. i have a seminary degree and i’m working in full-time ministry for a church in tennessee. i’m completely in love with god’s church and have every intention to plant a church in a few years.

so what happened?

what happened was i found a church that showed what the church was supposed to be. i found people who lived their lives like the body of christ i read about in the bible. i saw that my small town traditional church experience wasn’t the way it was supposed to be and that not everyone was like that.

over the next few weeks or months i’d like to introduce you to some of those people. i’d like to say i’d have something new to post every week but i have no clue if i’ll actually be able to pull that off. all i know is that i want to brag on some people who either have showed me or are showing me what the church is supposed to be.

the people i introduce you too are not the only ones out there that are living out this jesus thing the right way. they are just ones that have had a personal impact on me and ones that i have come in contact with. my hope is that some of these stories inspire you to believe that god’s church isn’t dead and that there are people out there that are living the way jesus said to live.

these are all true stories.

they’re all real people with real life problems and issues.

and they’re all helping my fall in love with the church even more.

i hope you come back and check out some of the stories when i share them with you. i don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.

-jonathan

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