Building faith, and experience God’s presence,
in the Church.
Better understand God and our responsibilities.
Engage with God in church.
This particular article is the first in the website section, “God in church.” See the Menu Bar above please.
This (God in church) section, and the following “God in our lives” section, both support the contents of the website’s main or primary section, “Journey of faith.” (Again see the Menu Bar above.) Our reward for taking that journey of faith is explained in the article “What does faith offer us?”
(I am from a senior auditing background and the majority of my advisory team are Christian clergy. To glimpse the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
But, let us get into this article now. Firstly, it is there in the Church that we are all guided to build knowledge of God and our potential relationships: both with him, and our fellow human beings.
Secondly and very importantly, as far as this website in concerned, we can come to recognise and experience his actual ‘presence’ there. Look, I know that may not be easily accepted, by you the reader, especially if you are just beginning your search for faith. Bear in mind too, that I have personally travelled all the way from obsessive atheist to rock-solid believer. Please read the article, “Too good to be true?“
2. HOW TO RECOGNISE HIS PRESENCE
The main aim of this website is to help readers come to actually ‘believe in God‘ and comfortably settle into ‘sound Christian faith‘ as a result. As such, it is all about engaging or connecting with God, through the way he has laid out for us in the Bible. Of course, all this stuff relates to God’s love of each and everyone of us. In one word, “grace“! Yes, the Lord DOES want a deep and meaningful relationship with each of us.
The article following this one, i.e. the second in this section of the website, offers an explanation of ‘why attending‘ fellowships of faith is indeed needed within our journey of faith. As examples, the Church will help us to:
- gain Bible-based Christian faith and then apply it to life;
- become an actual member of the Church through baptism;
- personally witness and experience ‘evidence’ of God’s presence there;
- receive the positive benefits of faith in our lives and beyond.
Again, that last second-last point above may be a bit hard to accept right now. But … well … you may, as I did, have some unexpected surprises ahead. And, yes, some of that evidence can be gentle or subtle. BUT other evidence can be quite ‘powerful’. Stuff that you won’t forget, trust me! Let’s get into it then.
2.1 Gently engaging with God
God IS actually ready and willing to ‘engage’ with us personally there in church. And I write that with total confidence, based on decades of experience. (And remember this is the old auditor writing this.) How he does connect with us though depends on our readiness, and the type of church we choose to attend. The third article in this section of the website, “Choosing a church” offers guidance for making that decision.
Now, I want to make it clear that ‘subtle evidence’ of God’s presence is almost always available, in all types of church fellowships, when we know how to recognise it. The article, “The subtle stuff of God in any church” explains how. Again, it is about engaging with God. Normally he does most of the ‘initiating’ there in church, if we attend of course.
Slowly but surely the evidence, of his presence there in church, will ‘come together’ for you.
2.2 Powerfully engaging with God
Again, please stay with me here!
More powerful evidence – and I confidently write that it can even be ‘palpable’ to us individually – is available in churches that belong to the ‘Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement‘. Yes, you can occasionally feel the ‘evidence’ there! That is they can be termed, “palpable” experiences. And yes again, I know just how difficult it may be for someone, who has never had contact with this stuff, to accept those words. My analytical brain certainly struggled with the possibility, before my wife and I trialled that area of the church decades ago! Again, please read about these events in the article, “Too good to be true?” And look, I keep checking to make sure that it all still happens there. It does!
The contents of this section of the website, beginning with the fourth article, actually gets into that real interesting stuff. God is certainly willing to personally engage with each of us in that area of the Church, when he knows it is right for him to do so. If AND WHEN we are ready for it of course.
Obviously, from my point of view, all of this stuff can be very relevant to our ‘belief’ building journey. That is, coming to truly ‘believe in the existence of God’. If you wish to go straight to that subject now, then begin reading at, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” and then examine the other guidance and explanations in this section of the website later.
Please also check out the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” as well. As the name implies, it describes how I put it to the test for myself (as the auditor that I was at the time). It includes my analysis of events and experiences I encountered and the final evaluation of individual results. Firstly I went in search of those ‘palpable’ experiences that I mentioned above. I admit it wasn’t altogether easy for me personally. Hmmm … yes, I was a bit nervous about it at first. BUT I finally got there. Well, I should really say “God and I” finally got there. Yes, he ‘nursed me’ along, when it all got too much of a challenge! I now know that is not uncommon for God to work that way with anyone in those circumstances. (He loves everyone of us, you see.)
3. OTHER METHODS OF ENGAGING
Having said all that, I also remind you that faith should not be left at the door when leaving the weekly church service. The regular use of faith in day-to-day life is also extremely important for building that belief in God, and receiving the benefits that come from his presence in our lives. That is within Bible-based limits of course. The article, “God’s presence in our lives”, briefly explains how we can recognise his presence there in our everyday lives through the actual use of our faith.
We can do so by just inviting him into all aspects of our lives. Benefiting from that relationship in many ways. That is by continually growing in our belief; strengthening our two-way relationship with him as explained in the Bible. Yes again, as a result we further ‘build up our faith‘ and recognise those ‘benefits‘.
There are certainly other directions you can take to build knowledge of Christian faith and gain ‘evidence’ in my opinion, i.e. relative to the Church. In particular, I recommend attending ‘Alpha courses‘. These are available in 100 countries across the globe. Churches of many denominations offer these courses. They allow course participants to explore life, faith and meaning in a relaxed, respectful and fun manner. No pressure.
Alpha also developed on-line courses as a direct result of threats arising from Covid-19. All Alpha courses, including those on-line, provide an understanding of Christian basics and explain simply how to engage with God in your life. They also offer the possibility of actually experiencing God’s presence in a way you may never forget. Looks impressive? I hope so. So, look out for churches that display Alpha banners out front.
Recapping then, in order to build genuine belief in God and sound faith, that will stand the test of time, we must apply ourselves to both essential areas of development available to us. Firstly we join a community of faith (a church) and secondly we begin to use faith within our ‘day-to-day lives‘. This section of the website clearly focuses on that first area; the Church.
If doubts are still threatening your ability to even consider that God actually ‘takes part’ in church services, please bear with me and access the other articles in this website section. As I have explained in this article already, I was a very serious atheist myself for a lengthy period. And these types of events really helped me to build the deep belief in God’s existence that I now hold.
Of course, atheist websites mock those events. But look, I can now laugh at their attacks. Those writers have obviously never exposed themselves to the ‘movement’ yet they pretend to be experts. Pay absolutely no attention to them.
I’ll also admit that it can be challenging to just walk in the door of a church for the first time, but the result can definitely be life changing. Mind you, there are ways of reducing the challenge. The ‘Alpha course‘ again is an example. The courses are quite relaxed and the presenters usually ‘spoil’ those people attending. They offer a gentle way to join a church.
I’ll finish by saying that the Church has much more to offer than just helping us to build our faith and belief. Truly! And those other benefits are very beneficial to each and every one of us.
Continue to the next article, “Why we go to church”.