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What Helped You

I suspect most of us in this discussion spent some time in a traditional congregation. Throughout this study we have talked about the failures and abuses of more traditional institutions. But most Christians attend one with some regularity. So let’s look at the positive side of them.

What did you gain, or how did your spiritual journey benefit from your involvement in a local congregation?

When you first start treading the boards of this other Kingdom reality, it is helpful I think, to have a rooted and grounded family of believers around you. Those who “build you up in the faith”. I had many amazing and defining people and experiences in the early days of my discovering who Jesus was, how loved I was (that took years and years) and what he had done in me. People who loved me and cared for me, and believe me that was not an easy task. I was a troubled teenager, in a troubled country with troubled parents!!
The fellowship I attended during those early few years was my safe place. They were of the “Pentecostal” variety which in the 70’s in Africa was not very established and rather new. So I learned a breadth of gospel, although it was not until years later I grasped the enormity of the whole gospel, that understanding of Christ IN me, and “no longer I, but Christ”! So if you are part of a life giving body of believers when you are first brought into new life, then, as a nursery I think local congregations are wonderful homes for new believers. If that same local congregation is of a structure that is living and breathing and growing, that does not seek to control that life of God that is growing in you, but rather trusts the Spirit of Christ to lead you into all truth… you are blessed indeed.
If they also give you wings to fly more permanently than Red bull, allow you to make mistakes and grow in all that God is showing YOU, and by example demonstrate how to truly be Jesus to this world - you will have found something rare and precious and worth walking in for a while.

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Have you found one like that?

I actually learned about God’s love in a contemporary IC that I attended… It was actually in their foundational books and documents… Learning about God’s love helped me in my life, and it was obvious to many of the people that were in that group. However, after seeing this, the church leaders turned against the clear teaching in their own books and they verbally attacked me on several occasions. It was sad to see their reactions, but I kept believing in God’s love and eventually left that IC.

However, I haven’t regularly attended an IC in over 10 years… so I am kind of out of the loop (so to speak), and have been for a while.

Bailey, NC (USA)

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The “benefit” I get from attending my local IC is not so much what God or the IC is giving me, but actually, that God has given me an opportunity in that setting to overflow His love onto the people who are there. He’s made it pretty clear to me that I (personally) shouldn’t get bunged up about the teaching or any of the traditional “IC” experiences. Instead, He tells me, just go there and love those people. And get to know them outside of the Sunday service. And don’t have any expectations of them. Just love them.

So for me it’s been good practice in 1. reflecting Christ as well as in 2. letting go of expectations, and 3. practicing obedience because I do not LIKE to go there and would not of my own accord.


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Love that, Erin. So many people there who love Jesus but just get stuck in it all, or so hungry for a life in Jesus they can’t find there.

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What has helped me most: those people who “are engaging in a transformative relationship with God and growing in deep and honest friendships that can express his reality.” Yes! I have found them, and they have helped me to grow, loved me in my pain and joy, and been willing to listen to my questions and wonders with love and respect. The IC I attend is very “seeker-friendly” and has been a wonderful place to find those who are truly looking for God. I am currently in a small group with three other women, one of whom is a fairly new Christian with a lot of GREAT questions. Our little group offers her a safe place to bring her doubts. She knows she is loved–and that she is not the only one with questions!

I also enjoy singing worship songs along with other believers and seekers. My 3-year-old grandson loves the worship choruses. He recently told me that, “If God walked into this church, I would run up to Him and give Him a big hug!” I told him that he already hugs God—by singing His praises.

I love being a small group leader to fourth- and fifth-graders when I am there. It is a privilege to be able to love kids and to assure them that we have a loving God who we can know because of Jesus. This time also gives me an opportunity to reach out to parents. When I have the privilege of teaching the kids, I pray it will be a time of blessing to them and that they will get to know Jesus better. Loving them and respecting them is a first step in this process.

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