It’s six in the morning, and I planned on waking up before work, and writing about my adventure this past Saturday night to an indoor soccer field where I played a fascinating game of soccer with a group of Egyptians, African’s, and Latino’s, and American’s. Just being part of it felt like an international trip, and I wanted to write about those feelings. Even within our neighborhoods, if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, there are experiences you can find that add character and make you feel like you’ve traveled.
But as I started writing, my mind started wandering as artist’s brains often do, and I realized there was a lot of back story that led up to this soccer game, and I felt like I had to write that first.
It is about the subject of attending Church, and this is important because this is a spiritual site. I’ll be honest when I was a kid, I couldn’t stand going to church. It brings back memories of frustration, suppression, total boringness. I remember walking in on Sunday mornings and thinking, why do I have to come here and pray in a way that didn’t feel comfortable to me. I knew God on my own; and that was enough for me. At that time, Church didn’t make any sense to me at all. I rebelled against it. I totally understand when I hear people’s grievances about it. Church was the last place I wanted to go when I was younger. So I went elsewhere and found my adventures in more exciting places…
My early 20’s were filled with some really good times. There were parties, dancing, and beautiful women on a nightly basis. I was intoxicated on life in all ways – success, social, and substances. But then as I got older in the scene, I started encountering a few problems that snuck out of that lifestyle and bit me. Almost overnight, I was forced to grow up.
As I left those years of partying behind, I faced an identity crisis because I really didn’t know who I was, or how I was going to get to the next stage of who I was destined to become. I was still alive, so there had to be something more out there for me.
This felt like an extremely daunting task.
I don’t think modern American culture has a great system in place that makes it easy for positive people to meet other positive people to journey through life with. Sure we have a world-renowned University system where you can meet people; but it’ll cost you tens of thousands of dollars to build those relationships, and I prefer the debt-free life. And sure, America invented Facebook which connects everybody these days, but 80% of my Facebook friends I never see face to face, and 50% of them are people I probably should have forgotten about.
Another option in meeting people in our culture is to frequent one of the tens of thousands of bars, but if you don’t drink, you quickly realize that there’s nothing of importance going on inside those buildings. Laughs as empty as the air, motivations to have meaningless sex fills the air. If you’re after purpose and meaning, there’s nothing fulfilling in there. Just a band-aid and facade that covers more emptiness and loneliness. I tried an AA meeting, which introduced me to some very genuine and caring people, but I need something more than that to fulfill my calling.
Most of the relationships we have are either from High School, College, or Work, but those relationships kind of trap you into who you were, and don’t evolve with who you’re supposed to be. It’s hard to break out of that.
On resource America does have more than any other country is our expansive church system.
Like I said, in my 20’s I kept seeking, and searching – trying to get that identity crisis to end, and I was so determined to find that new “me” which I knew existed.
At the end of my 20’s, I started to find it. I went to a modern church when I was living in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with a friend. It had awesome music, a comfortable scene, (almost like a club I used to visit), and inside I met some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in my life. I became part of that community and felt part of it. I became part of families, mentor to younger kids who were facing the same choices as I had made, and being a single guy, I was meeting other single women who were fascinating and searching for themselves and their future just like I was. We were all friends inside and outside of the church. It wasn’t just about the Sunday service. That was just something that pulled us away from our busy lives to spend some time together. The real experience was all about becoming part of that community, and growing and finding myself with those like-minded positive people.
That church helped me kill all my old negative thoughts of church, and I started a new view. A good church to me is like a clubhouse where all my friends hang out. It’s a fun place.
So when I moved back to Minnesota seven months ago, that was one of the first goals on my list. I wanted to find the right style of church, because I knew that’s where I’d find my new friends, who I could enjoy this adventure of life with.
I will say it took me a little longer than expected. After my awesome church in Green Bay, I thought every church would be like that. But they weren’t. Several had awesome Sunday services, but I felt like I was walking around a small mall where nobody really knew each other. But I just kept trying, and believing, and I finally found what I was looking for. I entered substancechurch.com for the first time and they told me their motto was, “Our church doesn’t really start until the service ends.” I walked into the building, and just started meeting people and making friends immediately. It felt real. Right. Genuine. Energetic. I felt like I was making the friends I was supposed to make and be living my life with, and there’s no better feeling .
Say whatever you want about it, but pragmatically speaking, church can be a great way to begin searching for the new you, and the like-minded people that can help lead you there.
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