“Throughout my childhood I was always taught there was a God, and I knew Jesus existed. However, as I got older, my experience of the Church led me to question my belief. My family historically were significant members of churches, but I noticed they would participate in activities they would preach and condemn others for doing, such as gambling. On top of this was the relatively stereotypical experiences I had of church, sitting in a stone cold building with a boiler always on the blink, singing hymns from 300 years ago. Feelings of rejection, hypocrisy and lack of confidence in the church resulted in me becoming an atheist throughout my teenage years, accepting God did not exist.
Coming to university is when I realised my experiences were not representative of all Churches and Christians. Meeting other Christians my age across campus, singing songs that were written in the last 5 years, and seeing Christians present their modern day thoughts and problems to God really was a revelation. God isn’t archaic – he isn’t some ancient old man on a fluffy cloud condemning and pointing out our failures and flaws- he is timeless, forgiving, and loving unconditionally.
University has shown me churches come in different shapes and sizes. Auditoriums, schools, gyms, theatres, sports grounds, even pubs can all be churches- not just icy cold buildings with pews that clearly have never even seen a cushion. Every church is different to another- not feeling comfortable in one doesn’t mean you won’t LOVE the church next door. Despite disappointing childhood experiences of church, God never rejected me, and loved me the same every single day, even when I rejected him.
Discovering who Jesus really is, and what he does for mankind really indicated to me how flawed humans are, but how perfect God is. No one is perfect and neither is any church. I realised however, that despite our flaws and our weaknesses God loves us ALL unconditionally- how much more perfect could you get?”