We’ve recently completed membership interviews with several people and I’ve asked some of them to talk about why they’ve become part of the Christ Church family. Here’s Sam Cornwell’s story: My church attendance growing up was consistent (ly miserable). My motives slowly evolved from going out of guilt and fear that I needed to maintain God’s favor to going for the simple reason of pleasing my family and maintaining their favor. Being physically there was about where it stopped, as I sought that hour and a half every week to get lost in my deepest states of daydreaming. Every Sunday morning I woke up, put on my Christian smile, and counted down the seconds till it was over.
Despite becoming vocal in my opposition to the Christian faith early on in high school, I kept going, resenting my family more and more for forcing it upon me. As you might imagine, I choose to stop attending once my freshman year of college arrived. At first, it was extremely liberating. The extra three hours of sleep and the Sunday morning ESPN were a dream come true.
It was in these ten(ish) months of being separated from the church that God began to slowly and painfully reveal to me the stench of the pit I was in. Frantic searches for identity and worth constantly came up empty. Needless to say, Jesus found me towards the end of my freshman year through authentically changed lives - my sister and a number of other college students - most of who attend Christ Community Church. It was the first group of Christians I’ve ever been around who I felt like I didn’t have to drastically change myself for acceptance. In fact, to this day I never have changed myself. Christ had changed their lives, and he has radically changed mine.
I began to attend Christ Community every week not long after my conversion. Immediately, I felt welcomed into a family. People who barely knew me went out of their way to speak to me, get to know me, and make me feel loved. I felt loved, and it wasn’t for the façade I used to wear on Sundays. I felt loved as the Sam Cornwell that lives and breathes 24/7/365. And I want to make clear that this was only possible by the Christ who lives in me and my now-brothers and sisters in the church. I desire my membership to be about doing this very thing for others, together with the body and bride of Jesus.
If you had told me 18 months ago that I would genuinely look forward to going to church, enjoy singing in church, attain an overwhelming desire to read, have a completely new set of best friends, have two Bible verses for tattoos in places everyone can see…I would have been certain you were mistaking me for someone else. Yet, by the grace of God in the blood shed at Calvary by His Son Jesus, all these things have happened. Sunday afternoon at 5:00 is easily my favorite time of the week…all because of Jesus and the hearts He has transformed.