Personal Experiences with Modern-day Churches
I do not write this to condemn the modern-day church but only to reveal their present spiritual state for I know it could be so much much more when they are actually infused with the LIVING SPIRIT OF GOD! I’ll start with my personal experiences with church.
When I was much younger, I couldn’t understand the preaching due to my deafness although someone did translate pastor’s preaching for me. I found it filled with inspiring life stories but lacking much content in God’s word. Uninterested in the preaching, I turned to my own Bible and dug into God’s word. I learned much more from reading the Bible than the preaching.
Then later on I was off to college, I managed to find a nearby church and a college youth group. I enjoyed the pastor’s teaching because there was more focus on God’s word unlike most teaching emphasizing uplifting life stories. However, even with pastor’s teaching, I still felt spiritually unfulfilled since it was pretty basic, or in other words – a “spiritual milk”. Additionally, the folks there seemed to be more interested in socializing with each other and showing up to church social events (movie nights, community service, etc…) compared to hearing God’s word.
And there was my college youth group. I had a helpful and knowledgeable youth mentor but the program mostly consisted of music, games, and some of the teachings focused on courtship/dating aspect. I wanted to grow spiritually and connect with God in a deeper level, not to play games or listen to music. There’s always other time to play games and be involved in social activities but I WANTED to learn more about GOD and to connect with Him in deeper and meaningful way if I’m at church or youth group. That’s what I wanted to see in churches and youth group all these years but haven’t found any of these so far.
Finally, when I moved to a new town after graduating from college, I thought I would give church one more chance. I came wanting to learn more about God and to be inspired. I was then disappointed when the pastor gave a sermon that resembled little or no connection with God’s Word. Rituals and planned agenda gave the church a wooden feel to it. It was man-made instead of being truly God-breathed. Then I saw one person making mockery of Jesus resurrection as the congregation sang about it. It was supposed to be a place of worship and a place to honor LORD yet I found none of these in that place. I felt grieved in the Holy Spirt while there.
As I left the church, I came across a homeless man begging down the street. Out of compassion, I decided to give him a gift card to a deli food chain – which just happens to be conveniently located nearby. He was ecstatic and very happy then thanked me profusely. I explained to him how to use the card to get food and hoped he would know how to use the card. I felt more connected with God right there than inside that church.
From all these times, I’ve learned from my experiences that I tend to connect best with God when I am alone and talking with Him. Remember how Jesus often left the crowd and disciples so He could pray alone? I thought that was a good example to follow! I’ve found alone time with God to be very intimate, personal, and rewarding. It has given me the spiritual fulfillment I’ve been looking for. I will always continue to thirst more and more for His presence. God is the best teacher you can ever get, much better than any pastors or Christians you’ll hear from! After all these experiences, I definitely prefer to worship in spirit and truth!
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”