Christian Church Essay

Christian Church Service Experience I have always felt deficient in a way because I do not have a religious upbringing. I lacked any experience in religion or church experience, until this past week when I went to my very first Christian church service, or any religious service for that matter. As I walked up the sidewalk to enter Suncoast Worship Center, fear overtook my conscious and I could feel my throat start to close. I had not even been aware that I was nervous, let alone scared. I suddenly realized that I had a lot of negative, preconceived ideas about church services.

The only thing about church that I knew was what I had seen on television. I resolved to enter the church with an honest heart, an open mind, and with the motive try something new, while trying to enjoy myself. I thought I knew what it would be like, but the longer I stayed, the more I realized how little I knew. Considering that I have no experience with church attendance, I looked online to see what might appeal to me. I decided to attend a Saturday evening service at Suncoast Worship Center. First, I looked at their website and researched what the church’s beliefs are.

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I discovered they believe in one God; namely in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They hold true that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and was raised to Heaven. I was familiar with these beliefs and felt I could even be open to their belief in speaking in tongues. Although, I was not exactly sure what that meant. I was surprised at how few the number of attendee’s where. I thought church services were largely attended. The church building was fairly large but it did not look like I thought a church would look like.

There was no steeple, no stained glass, and no bells chiming. I was well received by the greeters at the door, as well by fellow parishioners; I must have stuck out as much as I thought I would. All in attendance seemed joyful to be there and were eager to worship their god. I left my fear that the ceiling would collapse upon my entering and all other negativity and bias’ at the door. There were approximately 150 chairs in an auditorium, which doubled as a gymnasium. I sat in the middle section, towards the front. There were about 20 people, including myself, who were there for the service.

I viewed a large stage with musical instruments with a grand projection screen. I seemed so small in such a large building, with such few people. It felt like a spotlight was on me. I looked for some resemblance of a symbol which would give reverence to this being a Christian church. I thought there would be a Cross, or a statue/picture of Jesus, but there was not. Finally, I saw the pulpit, which was easily missed due to the fact that it was transparent. I thought space would be decorated more ceremoniously. There was nothing on the walls either.

The setting was quite drab and I was feeling it. My mood came alive when I heard the music started playing. I listen to God music, Contemporary Christian, in my car and I love it. I had no idea that the music which flowed from my car speakers was played in a church. I thought only boring hymns were sung ,by an elderly church choir, in Christian churches. The service began with singing of all the songs I knew. Then, before the minister was to give his message, he asked if there were any visitors and everyone turned and looked at me, so I raised my hand.

They gave me a gift bag with lots of literature on their church and asked me to merely fill out the visitor card. The service message was on the Atonement, which the church recognizes in August, and I loved that I knew what they were talking about. The service finished with a prayer and more singing. I really enjoyed myself and was very grateful the congregation did not start speaking in tongues and rolling on the floor. I swear I do not know where I got these ideas, but I was wrong and it is spiritually necessary that I admit it. The people and the church were all very lovely.

I did get a little nervous when the minister started preaching loudly. His yelling frightened me at first. Then, I looked around at people near me and they seemed fine, like they were used to it, so I relaxed again. Christian followers were not the fanatics I had them pegged to be. They were very loving, kind, considerate, and respectful. The way that I was received by them is congruent with how I was raised to treat people. Before, during, and after the service, the people were very welcoming to me. On the surface, morally and ethically, we seemed to be on the same page.

The parishioners carried their bibles and they read from them during the service. I have never even touched a Bible, nor do I own one. I was painfully aware of this shortcoming, but I was really impressed how the congregation flipped so quickly to the books and the chapters mentioned by the minister. I did not grow up with a religion and I did not associate with others who did. I was raised with a belief that there was a loving God and She/ He lives in and around everything, but there was never any mention of religion or church.

Although the parishioners and I vary on the gathering at a church and the belief in belonging to a religion, we have the similar view that there is one God. Where I come from there is no fantasy such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy. So, to be at a church service, watching others worship a historical man, who they truly regard as God, was very interesting. This difference, Jesus being Savior, would certainly be a clash of beliefs. Although, we both have faith in the same God, I think, I have another pre-conceived idea that it would matter to the Christians if I told them I do not share their belief in Jesus as a Savior.

This difference did not matter to me, but I have a feeling that Jesus as Savior is a central belief and those who do not believe the same as them would not be tolerated in their religion for long. I left the service feeling much more at ease and at peace than I did when I arrived. This experience reminded me of a quote I admire by Herbert Spencer. He said something like, “Nothing keeps a man in eternal ignorance like contempt prior to investigation. ” There is certainly something to be said about experiencing something firsthand, rather than judging based on what one see’s on television, or hears about.

Although there are differences in beliefs between my new Christian friends and myself, our common bond of trusting God kept us united for the two hour we were in each other’s presence. I am a better person for having experienced this Christian church service and I certainly learned a little more about me. I can no longer say I have never been to church. I hope I can continue to be willing and open-minded to new religious experiences and events. I think I’ll keep seeking.


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