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I grew up in church, my dad was even a pastor for much of my childhood. I have a lot of memories tied to my church family, past and present. Most are really good, full of laughter, fun, and growth. Some are a bit tougher. Personalities that didn’t quite mesh well. Jobs that needed to be done, but just weren’t my forte or weren’t my favorite. Jobs I wanted to do but was nervous I wouldn’t do well at. Good or bad, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change any of it. You see if there’s one thing I’ve learned growing up in church, it’s that a good church pushes you.

It will push you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if it’s working in the kids’ ministry (trust me it’s the best!), leading worship, cleaning, or wherever you land, there will be aspects of it that will push you out of where you’re comfortable. Human nature likes to avoid being uncomfortable, but out of our comfort zone is where God often does a great work in and through us. It is here we are forced to rely on Him in new ways, which draws us closer to Him as we make Him our comfort.

Taking that first step is nerve-wracking, but if you are being called to it, answer that call. In spite of the nerves, even though it doesn’t feel comfortable at first, I challenge you to do it. Because there is deep growth that happens when you step out of what’s comfortable to say yes to God. 

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It will push you toward deeper relationships. There is an incredible depth that comes from the kind of relationships being in a good church can create. It is a depth built on mutual beliefs, common goals, and shared passions. It is a cord that connects you forever in a way few other things can. It means having someone in your corner when you face trials and to answer the call when it matters the most. It means having people who cheer with you when you get good news and who cry and pray with you when you get bad. And who you can do the same for.

Even the people you may not naturally connect with become allies marching toward a common goal. These people are often the ones who stretch and grow you in ways you didn’t even know you needed. We are called to invest in relationships, and being part of a good church family is a great way to do that! 

It will push you deeper in love with Jesus. Whether it’s an epic worship time or a spot-on message, a good church will deepen your relationship with Jesus. Sometimes it’s worship time that helps you feel close to God in the moment. Sometimes it encourages and reminds you that God is always near even when our feelings try to say otherwise. Feelings are given to us by God, but we can’t let them dictate our beliefs or our life. A good church helps you learn how to reconcile your heart when your feelings and beliefs don’t line up.

RELATED: Dear Christian, You Are Created For Church

Sometimes God uses a convicting message to challenge us to do better. A good pastor should step on your toes sometimes, leaving every Sunday feeling pretty good about yourself won’t bring much growth. God has often used a pastor’s message to shine a light on an area in my life that needs to change. When we heed that call, our relationship with Jesus is able to be what He wants it to be. Deep. True. Life-giving. 

So find a church that pushes you. Out of your comfort zone. Toward relationship. Deeper in love with Jesus. It will feel scary at first, but I promise, it is 100 percent worth it.

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Candice Smith

My name is Candice Smith (though everyone calls me Candi). I am married to the most sarcastic guy on the planet (and boy does he keep me chuckling . . . and rolling my eyes). I am also a mother to two fantastic kiddos (both of whom inherited their father’s wit . . . help me please!). On any given day you can find me sipping coffee, eating chocolate, or crying at a sappy movie. I love anything that involves time with family and never say no to making a new memory. If the only thing I accomplish in life is pointing people to Jesus, I will have accomplished my greatest goal. 

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