Opportunities to Grow
I was raised in a church attending family. I went to Sunday school and attended church throughout my childhood. The sermons were usually interesting stories, with the moral that “you should be a good person and believe in Jesus.” When I was in junior high I went to a non-denominational Christian summer camp, it was the first time in my life I heard about the need to accept Jesus into my heart, and I chose to accept Christ.
When I started attending the University of Minnesota I decided that I would be alright on my own and that I didn’t really need to attend church. I was invited to Hope at some point my freshman year, and I was struck by how thought provoking and convicting the preaching was. I attended Hope for a couple of years and was also involved in the Navigators,
but I didn’t feel like I “fit” anywhere.
After college I decided to look for a church and I found a great Methodist church near my apartment, but I didn’t see a lot of growth opportunities. Around that time I was invited (by the same friend that originally invited me to Hope) to join a Hope small group. It took me a while to get settled in,
but the small group provided the community and support I had been looking for.
The following spring I attended spring retreat and I decided that Hope was a place that would challenge me to grow in my faith. That was four years ago, since then I have had many opportunities to mature in my faith and serve God through various roles. The constant preaching of the Gospel at Hope and in my small group has helped me understand that I am not doing any of these things for myself, or to make myself right with God. I feel it is a natural response to the amazing gift of salvation. I don’t feel like I am striving toward that one perfect leadership/service role, rather I feel like I am constantly given new challenges and opportunities to grow.