I e-mailed my church about this blog and told people if they wanted I would share their stories on it. I thought it would be cool for you to hear what attracted people to Forefront from them, rather than me “tooting our own horn.” So, here’s one:
Before coming to Forefront, I was totally church phobic. I was raised in a very cold Penecostal church environment. While my family had been going there for awhile, I could tell even as a child that we looked down upon a great deal because we weren’t as financially well off as most of the members. In addition, the harsh judgment and emotional distance was nearly tangible and it seemed to cloud the room wherever I went.
Around the age of 13, I started experimenting with various churches that my friends attended. I bounced from Baptist to Methodist to Catholic. Unfortunately, I never felt very welcome by the parishioners and I certainly didn’t feel close to God. I stopped going to church completely when I was a teenager. It’s sad to say that after that point, I didn’t really have a place for God in my life, unless of course I was praying to pass a college exam or for money to pay rent.
About a year and a half ago, I fell on some pretty hard times. I had been in a bad relationship which ended in an even worse break up. I was forced to move out on my own even though I wasn’t financially stable. I was under a great deal of stress and became horribly depressed. I tried everything from self help books to counseling to pick myself up. Nothing worked. I realized the only other option I had was to give church another try. Even though I was nervous and overwhelmed, I began a search for local churches online. Nothing stuck out to me. Oddly enough, a friend, who is not even a churchgoer herself, suggested I try a place that met at a high school in her mom’s neighborhood. She had heard it was a different kind of church and certainly not like the stuffy churches I knew as a child.
Knowing all of this, I was still completely terrified when I walked into the auditorium on Easter Sunday. Yet, all the fear and worry I had was completely alleviated when the service began. It must have been a combination of the hip music and the down to earth message that put me completely at ease. I can remember feeling the presence of God in that place, a very powerful force that seemed to fill the room. A force that I never recalled feeling at any church I attended as a child. I left church that day completely elated and the best part was as I drove home, that “God” feeling I felt in church came with me. It was as if God himself was sitting in the car right next me. Luckily, now I know I can come back to church every Sunday, pick up my Bible, or pray and I’ll be able to feel that presence again. I’ve realized that with God, I can get through anything that comes my way and I never have to feel as hopeless and depressed as I once did again. I’m so thankful that God led me to Forefront. It’s truly a wonderful notion that God creates places like that for even the worst of the church phobics or nonbelievers.
– Summer Thompson
– Featured on newchurches.com