As today is Sunday, I feel that a post about how I am thankful for my church is completely appropriate.
I am so thankful for my church. I have been to a few churches in my life. I went to one for a very long time, and although I had good relationships with several of my teachers, I never really fit in with anyone my age there, despite the fact that I went there from the age of 3 until I was about 17. My family started visiting another church, one that is very big (famously so), in part because we really enjoyed listening to the sermons on the radio on our way to the previously mentioned church. Despite the church’s gigantic size, we felt really welcome there.
When Brandon and I started dating, I would sometimes visit his church, Okolona Christian. I started going there about half the time before we got married, and we talked about trying to split our time equally between the two churches. In the end, though, I just started going to OCC full-time, and moved my membership in the summer of 2010. I really like my church. I like the fact that so much of Brandon’s family goes there, and we have someone to sit with every Sunday. Sometimes we take up a whole row of seats! My church is smaller than my last church, but bigger than the church before that. I help in the nursery once a month, and am a volunteer with the disabilities ministry (though I’m not able to help out with that one as much as I’d like to!) I like the worship music, and I like both our pastor and our assistant pastor. I love the fact that my church is so service-minded, constantly looking for and promoting ways to connect with the community. I like the fact that they are so supportive of local, national, and international missions. I like the fact that the pastor’s wife came to my bridal shower even though she had no idea who I was (other than knowing my in-laws), and when we were all waiting at the airport last summer for my father in law to return from his deployment in Afghanistan, our pastor was there, and he asked me, “How are you doing, Jessi?” This was a really big deal for me, coming first from a church where no one knew me despite my constant presence in a sort of small community, and then a church with 16,000 regular attenders, where I know the pastors didn’t know who I was (through no fault of their own- I just wasn’t really plugged into the church.) Please don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m saying I’m glad the pastor knew my name because I’m so important. I’m not. It’s just nice to be known. It shows that someone cares.
I love my church, and I’m thankful that I have the freedom to worship wherever I choose. I went from searching for excuses to stay home from church to crying on the rare occasion I was too ill to attend (for the record, I believe I have only missed TWO Sundays this whole year, thank you very much.) I’m thankful for Okolona Christian!