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 Jim Tocci's story: Last April, a friend of mine asked me to go to the Good Friday service at Christ Community Church. Since my plans to attend the service at the church I was attending at the time fell through and I wasn’t comfortable enough to go alone, I told him yes. As we drove over, the familiar feelings that I think we can all understand began to surface. I became increasingly anxious about what people would think of me and whether or not I would fit in with the group. I was expecting to be “that guy”, the one who ends up awkwardly standing around when the person who brought them eventually leaves their side and they have to fend for themselves. However, when we arrived, people who had never met me stepped out of their comfort zones to welcome me and get to know me. This is what I remember about my first visit to Christ Community Church. I don’t remember Matt’s message, what music was played, or what kind of food served beforehand. At the time, I didn’t care what the theology was behind the church, what the mission statement was, if they did communion every week, or if they baptized infants or adults…I came back the next week and continued to come because I felt like people actually welcomed me, cared about me, and loved me.
Over time, God was faithful in continuing to pour out His love and grace upon me, not only through continuing to develop the building of a family but opening my eyes to the true importance of how good, great, gracious, and glorious He is. He did this through the preaching and teaching I received at Christ Community Church and the men and women in the church. My heart was melted and I was continually convicted and brought to my knees in light of seeing God “in his greatness, glory, holiness, power, majesty, and authority” and myself in my depraved and sinful state.
Prior to being a part of the Christ Community family, I thought of church as a place or an event that “good” people went to. People come in, get their weekly instructions on how to be better and then leave. What I’ve learned is that the problem is that we can never be good enough and that I need the gospel preached to me every single week. I need God to continually change me from the inside out, not to consume information and instruction for a better me, but to be able love Him and love other people through understanding that I am so helpless on my own that God Himself had to come to die for my sin. God has put me in a place and a family at Christ Community Church that continues to remind me of this and encourage me toward dying to myself and giving my life away. As I write this, the friend I mentioned and four other men I’m living with are my best friends and brothers and I can only praise God for that.