My church history and a bit about my faith

I have told friends who don’t believe in God that if they lived in Nigeria for a while, they would. During the almost four weeks I was in Nigeria last year I thanked God daily for getting my mom, sister and I through the day (especially if we went out) and I never took for granted that something that I do here daily (cross a street) is more risky and challenging where I was staying in Nigeria. Imagine a grown woman like me holding her mom’s hand to cross the street…gosh! And even if you’re in a car you”re not necessarily safe from bad drivers trying to break the rules and leapfrog over you in the opposite direction to where they should be going. Maybe if I had a driver and a car instead of walking everywhere or taking taxi rides inside decrepit taxis with doors that might fall off any minute, I’d have a different story. I did not dare ride on the back of an okada (motorcycles); I nearly suffered a heart attack watching others braver than I weave through the traffic on the back of one!).

Not everyone’s experience of Nigeria is like mine but I know I would need to live there for at least a year before I’d consider going anywhere outside of my grandma’s neighbourhood by myself. I just don’t feel safe or confident on my own. So yes, my dependence on God increases in Nigeria. I guess it’s a good thing that there’s a church on nearly every street corner there!

My dad attended an Anglican church when he lived in Nigeria. I’m not sure what church my mom attended but it was an evangelical church. In Canada, they settled in a Baptist church. For nearly 20 years we went to the same Baptist church. It was a small church (65-80 people at an average Sunday service); after all those years it felt very comfortable and homey. It was a multicultural church in that people attending the church represented a large number of nationalities, but due to the small numbers there were usually only two or three people representing a nationality. We were the only Nigerian members in that church. The majority of the congregation was Canadian and the pastors over the years were Canadian too.

The church got new leadership a few years back and I must confess I disliked the new pastor from day -1 (when he came to visit the church and preach a sermon, before he was officially hired). Unfortunately my impression of him didn’t change over the years (I did pray about it) and I was not feeling the way I should about attending church or my pastor. My attendance declined and when I did attend I’d spend the time reading my bible or mentally arguing with his sermon instead of taking it in. I never felt like he was reaching me, and of course you could argue that I wasn’t receptive to him.

There was a mass exodus (apropos, non?) of church members over the last two years (due to the pastor) and last year, I joined them. I decided to try the Pentecostal church that my parents had switched to earlier after visiting a few other churches. I had been hearing about this particular church for years but Pentecostals have a reputation for speaking in tongues, dancing in church and being freer than I was used to. Also, after over 19 years in one church it’s hard to just switch. I went to the new church after I got back from Nigeria and it was massive, a very big change from my old church. I felt disconnected and unsure if this was the right place for me to be. The pastor seems nice (I have not met him one on one) but the most curious thing to me is how much more emotional I am at this church.

Like many churches this Pentecostal church has an altar call where they invite people who want to receive prayer to come forward. In my old church, I never went to the front of church for anything like this but I felt led to at this church and I went (maybe the larger crowd gave me confidence?). It was cool to have the pastor pray over me. When I saw a father bring his son up and tell the pastor about his son’s hearing and other problems (he was wearing hearing aids), the faith I witnessed in both the father and the pastor made me cry. So the other alarming thing is that I cry in church now: not every Sunday, and I never know what will trigger my tears, but the only guarantee is I won’t have kleenex when I need it and I’ll be using my sleeves to catch the tears. One Sunday it was the testimony of a guy who was getting baptized and telling us to embrace our freedom of religion because in his home country he didn’t have that. Another time I cried hearing a woman share her own struggle for physical healing. This doesn’t mean the new church has worked wonders necessarily, and I think maybe my 19 years at the other church were molding slowly into the woman I’m becoming spiritually in this church, someone who feels songs and words spoken deep within her.

I have a long way to go. Sometimes when I mention God on this blog, I feel like those movie stars or musicians who say “I’d like to thank God” when they win an award because there are so many areas where I slack. I am guilty of leaning on God when the going gets tough, when I need help. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, as long as I don’t forget to give express appreciation and give credit to Whom it is due when things are going well. It’s a constant struggle to reflect godly qualities but as I connect more with this church I know it’ll happen.

And although I attended a Baptist church for almost 20 years, I never got baptized. I’m thinking about it now!

Two questions for you:

  1. Do you believe in God?
  2. What kind of church do you go to?

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20 thoughts on “My church history and a bit about my faith

  1. Very interesting that your dad swung from Anglican to Baptist to Pentecostal. Anglicans (in my experience – the school I went to between Grade 8 and OAC was High Anglican in tradition) are traditionally very liturgical (read: services (at least in High Churches) are more like traditional Catholic Mass) and philosophically liberal (pro-gay rights, ordaining women, etc…). Baptists and Pentecostals are usually not that liturgical and more conservative (at least in my experience).

    • It surprised me too but my dad told me that for him who you worship is more important than where. So his family was raised in an Anglican church but I think when he was coming to Canada someone might have recommended or knew someone who attended the particular Baptist church we ended up in when we first moved to Canada so he went from there. That's one thing I like about my dad: he thinks attending church is important as a way of helping solidify one's belief, but he wasn't/isn't picky about the church we attended.

      • That's interesting, because politically speaking, some churches are more progressive than others. For example, I'm not too sure if I'd ever feel comfortable at many conservative churches (despite being Catholic).

  2. I believe in God.

    I grew up in the Baptist Church in Nigeria but left for Winners Chapel for a year when I was about 17. I was there for a year and then joined the RCCG in Nigeria and that was the church I could say I stayed in till I left Nigeria (though I would sometimes visit other churches, especially when work to me to another state). I was baptized there in RCCG, though. Now, I worship in a Pentecostal Church. The church has people from many countries.

    And I cry in church too. It's not just in my current church; it's been happening for quite a long time. It's not everytime but when I do, it's usually during worship, or when I hear people's testimonies. I honestly don't know why.

    Re: "I am guilty of leaning on God when the going gets tough, when I need help"

    Don't feel so. Sometimes, something has to drag us to God and in my case, many times helplessness takes me back to God when I lose sight of Him. Have you read the poem "The Pulley" by George Herbert? Read it when you get a chance.

    • Interesting…so you made the decision as a youngish person to try other denominations (Winner's Chapel, RCCG)…what triggered it? I just followed my parents.

      You said it well…when I hear someone's testimony and their earnest message I just can't help but cry! It makes me wonder how I can ever doubt God when I see his work in the lives of others.

      Thanks for the poem recommendation…I'm going to look it up and get back to you.

      • What triggered it? A lot of things came together.

        My older siblings became born again and encouraged a yearning to know God more intimately, which had first arisen in me from going to Christian fellowships while I was in boarding house in secondary school. And my parents' church at the time did not satisfy my need.

        It wasn't really the denomination because years later, I would sometimes worship at a Baptist Church and was really blessed. My parents are now in another Baptist Church, which I am sure I would have stayed in back if it was back then.

  3. i liked this..it shows me a hunger and thirst for God…and the bible does say if you draw near to God, he wil draw near to you….so just keep drawing…

    i used to be catholic(by label) then i got born again in New Covenant Church, grew up in RCCG and was trained in Christ Embassy where i still attend… i think that in the end it does not matter what church you belong to…what matters most is what church leaves you wanting "meat" more than "milk"….thats what happend to me in Christ Embassy….

    • Thank you…I appreciate you seeing the good in my journey.

      What brought you to the New Covenant Church to begin with? Did a friend invite you there?

      My dad shares your philosophy regarding how it's WHO we worship not WHERE that matters.

      • @GNG, i think a business partner of my dad invited him to new covenant, and the whole family just went along, and we all got born again on the same in one of the services. but it wasn't until i got to the university that i got acquainted with the holy spirit, and then my faith took a life of its own, and thanks to pastor chris i fell in love with the word of God…and the rest is history.

  4. 1.Do you believe in God? Yes I believe in God
    2.What kind of church do you go to? I go to two churches, my parents church which is Baptist, on Sundays, I love the church because it is homey and the Baptist denomination emphasizes discipleship and conduct a lot of discipleship classes which has helped me grow spiritually. Then for midweek service I attend Redeemed, City of David, because it is close to the office and also I like the way the word of God is dissected there

  5. Thanks for sharing your answers, doll. I applaud you for going to more than one service each week. I have never done that. I should seek out a bible study or something similar for during the week.

  6. @GNG, i think a business partner of my dad invited him to new covenant, and the whole family just went along, and we all got born again on the same in one of the services. but it wasn’t until i got to the university that i got acquainted with the holy spirit, and then my faith took a life of its own, and thanks to pastor chris i fell in love with the word of God…and the rest is history.

  7. Yes I believe in God, and like you I find myself falling short of Him so many times but He is forgiving like that. I attend RCCG occasionally.

  8. I believe there is a God!
    Born Anglican(if there is anything like that) went to a Baptist church for years, then Pentecostal, went to Redeemed then back to a Baptist Church, then different evangelical churches, right now I am not sure I belong to any denomination- I tend to attend services to churches close to me

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