I am constantly trying to write about things that I have experienced and hope that you all can learn from my success or more often, my mistakes. So, this week I would like to talk about finding a church that you can call home while being in college.
Maybe some of you have found this to be easy. For those of you that fall into that camp—that is awesome! I am so glad you have a church to call home, and in your time there, pour into that church, and love the things that God will do! For those of you that do not fall into that camp, I would love to encourage you with my story.
So this starts back to my upbringing in Milwaukee, WI. I grew up going to Eastbrook Church and also attended the school attached to the church, and it was an amazing experience. I was there more than I was at home, and it was a place that I considered home. Leaving there I was excited to move to a new place—but also I was scared that I never would find a church where I could call home.
Let me say a disclaimer before I tell my story. All of the churches I attended during college I enjoyed. I was able to be under some of the best ministers in America and I have learned so much from their leadership. God takes us through different seasons, and no matter what season you are going through He will lead you to where your home should be.
When I came to Trinity, I started attending a church in Waukegan, Illinois called Sign of the Dove. It is a non-demo-national church that has enthusiastic worship led by Cory Ratliff and strong preaching from God's Word led by Pastor Harry Stackhouse. I went here most of my freshman year and it was such a blessed time. The church was a good distance from campus, but as I prayed for a church to call home, I felt as if God was calling me somewhere else. Being at Sign of The Dove was an amazing experience where I learned specifically how the Holy Spirit was involved in our corporate time of worship.
Towards the end of my freshman year and the first semester of my sophomore year, I began to attend a church in Arlington Heights called Redemption Bible Church. This church was pastored by Pastor Ryan Huguley and the Worship was led by Pastor Scott Holthaus. Both of these pastors have moved onto different churches, but this church was such a blessing where I encountered God on so many occasions. The preaching was so powerful and so strong to the Word and the worship was such a blessing.
Why leave this church you ask? I remember one day sitting listening to the sermon, and I felt a voice say that this is not where I should be every week. I do not know why this happened the way it did, but in that moment God was leading me somewhere else. I so enjoyed the time at Redemption and if you are looking at a church in the Arlington Heights area, this is an amazing church.
After being frustrated about where to go to church I was at a dry spot in hearing where God wanted me to go. I was leading a retreat on Trinity's campus and a gentleman came up to me after our set and introduced himself as Carlos Lolett. He told me that he was the worship pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Lake Zurich, and they were looking for some college-age worship leaders to lead. I said I would like to come for a sunday and help lead. When I walked into the church on Sunday morning, this church was different from others I had been to. The atmosphere of the church was different. It was welcoming like other churches, but I could tell from the beginning that this church was intentional about spreading the gospel. As I began to lead worship, it was such a blessing to lead with amazing musicians that also loved to lead worship.
Fast forward to this year, I am now interning at this same church that is now called Heritage, and I lead there regularly and it is amazing. I feel at home there, and I have grown so much, and I am so thankful that I can be involved there. As my time at college ends, I will miss being there, but I am hoping and praying that God calls me to Heritage someday.
What is your church story? LEt's have a conversation!