Throughout my life, I’ve attended a total of two different churches, both of which offered a Sunday School program, dedicated to the kids who were dragged to church by their parents. At some point in my early childhood, I think I adopted the idea that worshipping God, and dancing for Him was a good deed, and that God would reward me for it someday. Also, I think I just found everything I did at Sunday School as a toddler really exciting and fun, so I just danced and worshipped as much as I could. I also learned a lot of basic things about God, such as that He loves me, and that He’s an all-powerful God. I also remember reading the Children’s Bible a lot around this time. However, for whatever reason, I couldn’t keep this enthusiasm when I moved to our church around the 2nd grade and attended its Sunday School. And because of that, I was starting to drift away from that “good side of me” that was worshipping and learning more about God.
Fast Forward to me in the 10th grade. I still attend church, and I feel as though as I was still in a similar place, one where I wasn’t as close to God as I could be. Looking up to the many role models in our ministry, the ones who put so much time into church, it made me wonder how they grew up to be who they were, and it also gave me a desire to want to be like them and become closer to God. Not too long after, at our church came an announcement about a new Life Class led and taught by Pastor Caleb, an eight week session dedicated to revisiting what was taught in our early childhood by our Sunday School teachers, parents, the Bible, etc. Basically, it was a chance to “re-jumpstart” our relationship with God. And after some thinking, I saw this as an opportunity to fulfill my goal in having a more intimate relationship with God.
I signed up for Starting Point along with Sophia and Joyce, who accompanied me during all eight classes. On the first week, Sophia, Joyce, and I were given an overview of what was to be expected in the upcoming weeks. To start, Starting Point was originally meant for non-believers, and so many of the things written in the textbook by Pastor Andy Stanley that we read and brought for discussion time every week was written for those non-believers. From this, we were able to look at God from the perspective of a non-Christian.
For each week of the eight, our homework was to read a chapter from the textbook. Each chapter has a specific theme and is split into three different sections, with each section being a miniature sermon related to the theme, followed by three questions to meditate on and answer. Coming into class on Sunday after Youth House Church, we were to discuss what we felt about the things talked about in the book and then share our answers regarding the questions. For us three, that meant laying down our socially-awkward qualities and openly discussing what we felt about the message, and our thoughts regarding each question. This was pretty difficult, what with religion already being an uncommon and rather sensitive conversation topic. In the beginning, Caleb would ask a question, one that we answered for homework, but when he looked at us to share, we looked at each other, and no one started talking until after 10 seconds. But after the first few weeks, I noticed a more casual feeling settled over us three, and we were able to talk to each other more openly and eagerly.
As the weeks passed, we revisited many basic things about Christianity that were taught to us when we were kids. For example, the second chapter focused on the topic of sin; what it is, what it does to us, and that Jesus has saved us from it. Though I kind of already knew what sin was and what it did to me, I didn’t actually do anything with that information before Starting Point. Reading about it again and getting a refresher helped me to change the way I think about the things I do every day. Learning that sinning destroys your relationship with not only God, but with friends and family, I stopped doing certain things. If I knew that playing League of Legends wasn’t going to improve the relationship between me and my family, I would cut down on that. The basic concepts of Christianity that I thought were so wired into my head, were in fact screwed a bit loose because many of these things were taught to us so long ago. Revisiting these key concepts helped me to remember them and keep them in mind. At a certain point before Starting Point began, I didn’t know if going over things I already knew was going to help me, but in the end, God was able to work through me, and I was able to benefit from it.
Overall, Starting Point was a very interesting and worthwhile experience. Throughout the course of the eight weeks, I was able to break out of my shell and share my feelings regarding the things I read about and learned, and I recommend it to any future grade 10s, 11s, and 12s who feel like they can take something from it too. Thank you.