Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Posted on January 27, 2018

BY LAUREN BANEY, GRACE CHURCH BLOOMINGTON STUDENT LEADER 
 
Last year I saw a flyer on Facebook inviting people to preview services for Grace Church Bloomington. It was posted by someone I knew when I was involved at Grace Church in Noblesville.  At that time, in my first year as a graduate student, I had little desire to become involved with a church and even less hope regarding what a new church might have to offer. My feelings did not stem from a lack of faith, nor did they mean I didn't believe in God. I loved God but had a genuine fear of rejection and being an outsider at a church as a result of my past experiences with college churches.
 
During my undergraduate studies, I desperately searched for a church home, but experienced such heartache and feelings of rejection from both student religious organizations and churches that I was very reluctant to try again.
 
I invited a friend to attend the first preview service at Grace Church Bloomington with me so I wouldn't feel the loneliness I had felt in the past. Leaving that first service I felt a sense of peace that I had not felt in a while, and I was drawn to return. I surprised myself by accepting an invitation to an ice cream social held at Pastor Craig’s house, as I'm not one to show up to events where I do not know people. I didn’t want to make small talk or have to stand alone staring at my cell phone hoping that someone would talk to me. As we ate ice cream and learned about the church, something else happened too. I felt welcomed to be there and noticed that people seemed to genuinely care about getting to know me.
 
Knowing that people cared about me was enough to bring me back. Unlike my previous church experiences, people remembered my name and encouraged me to speak up and get involved. Being wanted and valued caused me to get excited about church for the first time since VeggieTales Vacation Bible School.

Knowing that people cared about me was enough to bring me back.Tweet: Knowing that people cared about me was enough to bring me back.Tweet This

Pastor Craig and his wife, Niki, have been so kind and welcoming. They have a gift of loving people and an energy and spirit that are inviting. The vision they have for Grace Church and their dreams of how it will transform lives in Southern Indiana is one that I can get behind.
 
A week before the last preview service of the spring semester, I was invited to sing with the band. This meant so much to me because, even though I had grown up singing with worship bands, I had been told by other college churches that there was no room or that I would first have to prove myself faithful before being considered. I was thrilled to be entrusted with this opportunity and listened to the four songs constantly that week. Singing with the worship band felt like rediscovering a part of myself. I have loved the opportunity to use my voice to help lead others in worship. 


 
Prior to my involvement with Grace Bloomington, I had determined that I was not “Christian enough” to be accepted and that I needed to complete a series of tasks before I could be embraced as a member. I compared myself with others involved in churches and concluded they were better Christians than me. But, as we know, this is the enemy’s favorite trick. He wants us to feel discouraged or not good enough to be a part of what God has called us to. 

I have found a home at Grace Church Bloomington.Tweet: I have found a home at Grace Church Bloomington.Tweet This

In Pastor Banning Liebschler’s book, "Rooted," he maintains that the areas in our lives where we deal with the most discouragement are most likely the key areas connected to our calling and purpose in God. I think back to all the discouragement and heartache I felt and it brings me to tears how God carried me through them and has blessed me with this church. I am so excited to be a part of this church and to be a part of impacting the lives around us. 
 
I have found a home at Grace Church Bloomington.

Find Your Home Here

If you live in Bloomington and are looking for a place to belong, join us! Click here to learn more about us and come to a service! I'd love to meet you and sit with you!

Comments

How cool! I was just praying for Grace Church Bloomington this morning and this popped into my mailbox. Thanks, God, for the update, and thanks for all the effort being put into this new church.

Posted by Tom Huckstep on January 27, 2018 @ 10:14 am