My Church Life

I don’t remember much in regard to church during my younger years. Our family moved a lot, so nothing was too stable. The highlight during those years was when I was saved at a Free Church camp. That must mean that we were attending a Free Church. I remember every detail about the day I was saved, but nothing about church.

A couple years later, when I was about 15, I slightly remember the Presbyterian church. What I like most about that church was being on the church basketball team. I think it was also during that time that I got involved with a para-church group called Campus Crusade for Christ—their Junior High ministry. That wasn’t exactly church, but to me it was much better than church. It was a fun club with a lot of fun activities. And we also did Bible studies and invited inspiring speakers to our meetings. This group also lasted through high school, and I became very involved. It was where my spiritual life first began to grow. One challenging part of the group was being trained to witness; and we would go out to Lake Calhoun beach and witness to people. We shared a booklet called the Four Spiritual Laws. Me and a friend always went together. We actually were able to see some people pray to receive Christ right there on the beach. What a thrill!

During those high school years, I remember going to church every Sunday, but I really wasn’t too involved. My involvement was in the Campus Crusade for Christ group. Some people are against para-church groups. But I thank God for them. If it wasn’t for that group I don’t know where I would be. It has really served a good purpose in my life in growing me up spiritually—putting me on the right track.

After high school I enlisted in the Marine Corps and went to Vietnam. It was tough but God sustained me. At the end of my time in the service, when I was at Camp Lajune, N.C., I ran into another para-church group, The Navigators. For the next 4 years, even after I was discharged, I was in ministry with them on the Marine base. I lived in Jacksonville N.C. and commuted to the Marine base to do bible studies and evangelism with them.

After that period of 4 years I moved home to Minnesota. That was when, for the first time, I began to be more regularly involved in the local church. I was in the choir and also involved in the single ministry. From then on until now I have always been more regular in church.

I think it’s so important to have regular fellowship with other believers, and also to use whatever gifts you have to minister in the church. I also think it’s important to come every Sunday to the church service to hear the preaching of the word and to worship in song. I look forward to coming to church every Sunday.

The place where I go now for worship is actually a city community center. We are a new church and don’t have our own building. But there is plenty of room at the center and they don’t mind at all that we are there. My main ministry is to help set up for worship before the service, and then tear it down after the service. There is a team of about ten of us that do it—and we love working together for the glory of God.

5 thoughts on “My Church Life

  1. What a good report, Stephen — thanks! Although it’s easy to miss it, the New Testament actually includes an illustration of Bible-based para-church ministry, the “school of Tyrannus” where Paul effectively taught truth of a couple of years (Acts 19:9). As a high school senior (and in junior college) I enormously benefited from the Bible-based Navigators parachurch ministry. And my involvement in a Nav Bible study led to me attending a new church (that some of my Nav Bible study friends then attended). What wonderful blessings God have given to growing Christians via parachurch ministries, over the years.

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  2. Thank you for your service as a Marine. I have a big heart for our military. I’m grateful for all who have served, like you. I completely agree with you on the importance of going to church, and serving and all of that good stuff. I also am a big fan of para-church groups. Many people have been saved through these importnat ministries.

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