Finding a Home Church

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, February 25, 2017
Today I want to share with you what finding a home church has meant to me and the story behind it.

When I first moved to Central Illinois, I only knew my sister, Bethany. Although my family moved every 3-4 years, I had never done it without the start of a new school. This time was different, as I had graduated from university. I decided that finding a church would be how I integrated myself into the community. Although I became a Christian at 16, I had never found a church to call my own. There was one in California that I would go to occasionally, but never felt like I truly belonged there.
In November, Bethany and I began "church shopping." We tried three before finding ourselves at First Christian Church. On the Sunday that we were to visit FCC, Bethany had a conflict, so I went by myself. As soon as I got there, I felt a shift. It was exactly what I had been picturing - I large campus with lots of smiling faces. After the service, I went to the "Welcome" kiosk and met the pastor's wife. She offered to show me around, and when we got to the final room, she introduced me to a couple people my age. One of them was a girl named Cassie. We got talking and she mentioned that her and a group of girls had just started a bible study. I remember saying, "I like girls," to her, which looking back, was so creepy. Thankfully, we now laugh about it. We exchanged numbers and the following Thursday I went to my first Bible Study.

That initial Bible Study was how I knew I'd found my church. The women were so welcoming and excited to learn and talk abut Jesus. From then on, I was apart of that group and Bible Study. This semester we're studying Entrusted by Beth Moore, and we're loving it.

From there, I wanted to get myself as involved as I could to really make the church feel like home. In the new year, Bethany and I joined a women's group. My leader, Rhonda, was amazing. She's one of the most Godly, gentle-hearted, and supportive women I know. She has such a heart from Christ and ministry, and I was so thankful to have her as a mentor. That group was amazing. I met some wonderful women who made me feel included and loved.

Part way through the year, I started hearing more and more about high school ministry, as a lot of the girls in my Bible Study were a part of it. In June, I went with 200 high school students to Florida for CIY: MOVE. I had a group of 12 girls, from freshmen to seniors, who I love dearly. While I was there, I had the opportunity to baptize one of my girls. It will forever be a moment that changed my walk with Christ. Guiding someone through their first act of salvation was incredible.

From then on, I was a part of high school ministry, officially becoming a weekly leader in September. Wednesday nights are now one of my favorites of the week. Seeing these young people dedicate a night of their week to learn more about God, strengthening their relationships and knowledge is the coolest thing.

Getting involved with FCC was the best decision I've made since moving here. I love that when I go to church, there are a multitude of faces that I know. I have people to sit with, grow with, and love with, and that makes the world of difference. I finally understand what Scripture teaches us about Church being the foundation. I've never felt closer to God or more connected to my faith then right now, through First Christian Church.

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