So, I mentioned that youth group I started attending in high school, and that it changed my life. That's for real.
I learned so much during that time, even if it took me to this point to realize it. I made some great friends, but, more importantly, I learned that my faith wasn't just something I believed, but it was something I needed to live out, and share with others.
It became a relationship.
Which is what it should have been all along. But, I missed that.
I wasn't spoon fed. I figured some things out on my own. And, I even strayed. Not from the truth, but from some of the more legalistic things I was taught. Like using the KJV because that's what Jesus used. Ok, so I was never taught that Jesus used the KJV, but I was taught that it was THE WORD OF GOD. And is was the only version that should be used.
I made some great friends. I depended some friendships that I already had. I learned to be a leader. I became passionate about my faith. And about truth. It was real.
I didn't really see the struggles of the church. All I knew was that our youth group was awesome, and at times we managed to bring 100 youth through the doors. Looking back, maybe I can see some issues, and why some people may have struggled.
We were clique-y. I was clique-y. And, unfortunately, I feel that may have come at the exclusion of others. We got too big, too fast. I didn't know everyone (not that knowing everyone is important, but at least introducing yourself is). The youth director never went below the service with other relationships.
The first time I think I started to realize that "church" had its issues was when that youth director left. He didn't leave under bad terms. He left to go back to school. The search committee listed their number one requirement as having a bachelor's degree.
And then, they hired someone who didn't. And, he had grown up in the church, and his family still attended.
And I was frustrated. So I withdrew to my community of believers at the Christian college I attended. And learned even more.