Is This the “Right Church”?
When you hear the word “church”, what comes to mind? What is a church? Is it the building, or the people inside? The place your family drags you to every week, or God’s future family? A place you’d rather keep your distance from, or somewhere you like going?
A church is not a building, it’s the people inside. It’s more than a place you go, it should be the people you love.
There are thousands of religions in the world, and even more churches. You might wonder how I, as a teenager, can be sure that I am in the right church. Actually, I don’t believe there is such a thing as the “right church.” Every church is different, but in its purest sense, it can be defined as the followers of God. How do I know this is true? In the bible, when the word “church” is used, it is translated from Greek to English. If you go back to the original Greek language, church is “ecclesia” which means “called out ones”. Christians are people who are called out of the world and want to become like Christ. In the New Testament, when Jesus came to Earth, people decided to follow Him and His teachings. This is how the first church started.
In Psalm 133:1, It says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” David was writing about praising God, and it was clear to him that one of the most important ways to please Him is to fellowship with other believers. In Matthew 18:20, it says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” It’s clear from this scripture that God values connections we make with His people. We should make an effort to be united with members of the church.
My Experience at CGI
I am very happy at the Church of God International (CGI), because it is exactly that: the church of God. I can tell that God’s spirit and people are here.
Many churches at this time are aging. Young people sometimes stop going to church as soon as they can, claiming that it’s not for them. I think this might be because they don’t feel included in the church. If young people are not allowed and encouraged to get involved at church, the church will quickly start being “a” church, instead of their church. If they begin to wonder “what’s in it for me?” and come to the conclusion that it isn’t helping them in any way, they will probably leave.
One of the main reasons I like CGI is that I can get involved. I don’t feel like I am being forced to attend my parents’ church; this is my church too. I have made lasting friendships with the other teens, and together, we take on service roles in our church. We can serve in many ways like singing in the choir, helping out in the kitchen and helping to organize church events. Even though I am a teen, I feel like a valued member of our congregation. The Bible teaches that it is important to put others before yourself, so we make an effort to help out whenever we can and as we do, we mature.
Not Perfect but Growing
I’m not trying to present CGI as a perfect utopian society. It can be dangerous to think there isn’t room to grow. This church is constantly growing and getting better.
So, next time you hear the word “church”, I hope you think of a group of people dedicated to improving and becoming more like Christ. I hope this blog post has given you something to think about.