Three Sundays ago, on October 21, I made a step forward in my walk with God. I attended the men’s Sunday School class at Faith Baptist Church, the church that I was raised in and spent the first eighteen years of my life. My mother and I were founding members of this church, having joined when I was a toddler. Since my senior year of high school, I’ve only been back to Faith a handful of times, once for a Christmas program that my younger sisters were part of while they were still in school, and a couple of times during my transition from Faith to becoming a member of the Apostolic Christian Church, which is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church, International. Being back at Faith was odd. It was both new and old; it was both familiar and different. The only thing I can liken it to is the feeling that reincarnationists say they have when remembering fragments of a “past life.” As with any church you haven’t been to for the better part of two decades, there were plenty of new faces. But there were enough familiar faces to put me at ease, as I’m not that good around people I don’t know. My former youth leader was in the men’s class that day with me. He kind of recognized me at first, and then it hit him who I was after he was able to see past my lumberjack-esque beard that is now speckled with a little gray. We reconnected and recounted the national youth conference he had led us to in Milwaukee in 1992. It was truly good to catch up with him, and he seemed genuinely pleased to see me.
The lesson that day, given by the Pastor Bob, the discipleship pastor, dealt with how to be a godly husband. Pastor Bob spoke about the “Five Love Languages,” and how to be a better servant-leader in your home. It was something I needed to hear, and something that has been on my mind and heart ever since. The associate pastor at my Apostolic church, who happens to be one of my best friends, has also touched on the subject of servant-leadership and the Love Languages in some of our personal conversations in the last year or so. I find comfort in messages that break through denominational boundaries. In the United Pentecostal culture, I’ve found that it’s rare that non-UPCI-sanctioned messages and materials are used for either teaching or preaching. My friend, the associate pastor (and our senior pastor as well, I should add), seems to be the exception to the rule, as he recognizes that the Kingdom of God and those used of God do not reside solely in his denomination.
Since that first Sunday back, I’ve been back to Faith twice, on each of the two following Sundays. This past Sunday, I even got there for the 8:30AM service before Sunday School. Even though I was a founding member of Faith, I’m “the new guy” all over again. It’s awkward, and I’m a little scared. But all in all, it’s good to be home.