It’s never been easy for me to find a “church home.” I came from a weird church background – or lack thereof. I grew up Catholic until the fifth grade, then stopped going to church altogether after my first communion. Junior year of high school, I started attending a non-denominational church semi-regularly. That relationship ended quickly – I got into a car accident after leaving a service two weeks before my high school graduation and never went back.
When I came to ACU, everyone always pushed the freshmen to find a community with fellow students who were also trying to navigate what it means to be a Christian in a college setting. I wasn’t really interested in it: I just wanted to pass my classes, hang out with my friends and work enough to feed myself on the weekends. Going to church on Sunday – something I hadn’t done regularly since I was 10 years old – was not part of my plan, and I’ve come to regret it.
For the six or seven years that I wasn’t attending any church, I forgot all about the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. I knew there was a God, I knew the Lord’s Prayer, and I still say the sign of the cross in Spanish. But there was a large gap in my religious upbringing that probably hindered my overall understanding of religion. The Bible classes I took at ACU were basically advanced Sunday school classes. I didn’t know anything. I still have trouble figuring out the different images of Jesus in the four Gospels. If I had started hunting for a church my freshman year, it would have shaped me for the better.
I did experiment by attending different churches in the area, but I was never actively seeking a church home – I was just attending on the off-chance I liked a church and wanted to keep going. Nothing made me feel like I used to feel at the non-denominational church back home.
I’m not a fan of megachurch settings. I don’t care for services geared toward college students or the services that emphasize getting as many new attendees to fill out the “connection cards” as possible. I prefer slipping into the back and just listening to what the pastor has to say. I enjoy services where we dive right into Scripture and I can learn (often for the first time) about who is saying what and its actual meaning.
It took me until the beginning of this semester to finally find a church I liked. I found a home at The Well. I’ve tried to attend as much as I can, but unfortunately, I’ll have to start over and find a new church home after graduation. If I had given The Well a shot a year ago, it could have been extremely beneficial to my spiritual formation. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated on finding the right church; I would have had a deeper understanding of the Bible.
While I have learned a lot this semester, I don’t feel like I’ve learned as much as I could have if I had found The Well earlier. I just have to take in as much as I can get in the three Sundays I have left.
To anyone who hasn’t found their church home yet: keep looking. It took me a few years to find the right fit, but don’t put it off like I did. I would have had a stronger relationship with God, had I found a church sooner. Don’t dismiss some churches just because you don’t think they’re your style. I had no idea what to expect at The Well, and I am very grateful that I did find a good church – even if I have to leave it in May.