Tasha Cobbs Leonard recently released a song called ‘the church I grew up in’ and it has completely captivated me. There’s a couple of lines that say:

We didn’t have much
But Jesus loved it
If you wanna know
Why I am the way I am
It’s the church I grew up in

One of our values at YCC is story and understanding that we are part of a story that spans the generations before us and that we have to play in the current chapter being written.

Throughout scripture story matters, family matters, where you come from and where you go matters. Whether you believe life is all planned out or a series of coincidences (I’m not touching pre-destination) it all makes up part of our story and ultimately shapes who we are.

I have grown up at YCC and I feel incredibly fortunate to have grown up in a church that has passionately pursued Jesus and formed that as a habit and desire within my own life. I am incredibly fortunate to stand on the shoulders of giants who have created space for me to explore my passion and gifting and be released to use them. I am fortunate to have had the benefit of people of all ages speak encouragement and challenge into my life forming me to be the person I am today.

Church is a messy place made up of messy people, sometimes the church gets things spot-on and sometimes it causes issues and hurt. It’s easy to find the negatives and point out what could be done better or what more could be done to meet your needs. In all of its strengths and weaknesses I have recently been struck and reminded of the blessing YCC has been to me and my story.

Matthew 20:28 says:
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve, when I walk into church on a Sunday morning I regularly have to ask myself am I coming to receive or am I coming with a posture of what can I give? Am I contributing to worship by how I engage? Am I contributing to what the spirit is doing by listening, responding and engaging in the moment? Am I serving the children by engaging in all age worship to make it a space that everyone can contribute? Am I physically serving in putting our chairs, holding a camera, pouring coffee or praying for others? All of these things add up to forming a church community that contributes to people’s stories in a healthy way. All of these things contribute to my story and forming me to be more like Jesus.

We all have a part to play in making the church a place where others grow up in an environment of encouragement. We all have a part to play in making the church a place accessible to all people. We all have a part to play in serving and making church a place where people get to experience life in all its fullness.

I love our church, I’m grateful for who it has formed me to be and I hope that others can look at their own story and see that they are who they are because of the church they grew up in.