My family has always gone to CPC—we go every Sunday. But I also started coming to CPC on Wednesday nights in sixth grade with some friends from school. That’s where my faith journey started, though I didn’t realize it at the time. We were a crazy group of guys that never seemed to get through a full lesson, but I can see now that this is where God was starting to become real to me. Then that summer I went to Wapo Bible Camp with some friends. Not only was I kinda nervous about being away from home, but my grandma died the week before camp. At first I didn’t want to go, but now I feel it pushed me toward God—both the loss of my grandma and how my friends helped me during that week.
I also started teaching elementary kids on Sunday mornings that year, and I’ve been doing that for the past four years. Teaching the kids is great—I like it a lot. I have to admit that I don’t always connect with the sermons. I tend to zone out, and if you miss two minutes, suddenly you’ve missed everything! But when I’m teaching, it helps me learn because I need to explain the lessons in an easier way so the kids can understand on their level.
In ninth grade we went on a retreat for Commitment Class, and we were given a sheet to write down everything we know about God, what we think, what helps us believe and trust in Him. And we had like an hour and a half to walk through the camp by ourselves.
It’s hard to describe, but it dawned on me that God is really present, that He’s here with me. Jesus just kind of . . . found me. It’s hard to put in words, but that weekend was really important to me.
Most of my friends just stopped going to church after ninth grade. High school is stressful! But taking time out of your week to have time to talk, just hang, read the Bible and ask questions—and to not worry about school—it helps give perspective. And on Sundays, if I miss a week, my kids are impacted. Sometimes it’s hard to be committed every week. It can be annoying when I just want to sleep in or do something on Saturday nights. But I know it’s good for me, and good for the kids.
I’ve found that you don’t have to take things out of your schedule in order to fit in church. You can work your faith into every aspect of your life. God has shown me that He’s with me, and I can talk to Him anywhere and anytime. Friends, school, all the stresses . . . that’s where my faith makes a difference.