Loving A Life that Glorifies Christ
Non-denominational Christian’s bible-based institutions that are not formally aligned with an established religious denomination but are historically Protestant and have no rituals. That is the definition anyway. I was curious to understand exactly what this meant to be a non-denominational Christian so I asked my neighbor, Mrs. Jennifer Patterson, if I could interview her and join her family for their next visit to church. This day just so happened to be Palm Sunday and their church is North Point Community Church. This experience was far different from what I am used to when attending church; I learned about the beliefs that the nondenominational Christians have of God, baptism, and about how they bring God into the lives of children and teenagers. I learned the fundamental aspects of their religion, the traditions they follow, how they have no rituals other than reading the bible, the best lesson to that Mrs. Patterson feels is taught, her involvement in the church, and the involvement the church has in the community. When we were setting up for the interview, we took a good fifteen minutes to prepare for the questions prior and some random ones came up as we got into certain topics on the religion. The questions lead to new understanding of what it is to believe and how this differs from both the Catholic and Christian churches.
Before the Patterson family became a nondenominational Christians they were Baptists, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Christians and when they became Christian it leads them the place that they are now; very happy with the church and what they believe in. During the interview, Mrs. Patterson and I talked about the lessons that they have been taught, but one lesson, in particular, she found the most important was to love thy neighbor and love thyself, meaning doing good towards others will not only make you a better person but bring you closer to God. The main lessons that everyone follows are loved God and love your neighbors. When asked about rituals that they do, the only traditions and rituals that are done are attending church, and the basic holidays like Christmas and Easter, as do both Christians and Catholics.
In the non-denominational church, they do not baptize a child at birth. They believe that when you let the lord into your heart and believe in him with your whole heart is when you should be baptized. This is very different compared to other religions. Some religions believe that a child should be baptized a few weeks after the birth, with the fear that if the child passes before being baptized the child will be damned. To nondenominational Christians, babies have not yet committed sin because they have no comprehension of what that is, so they have nothing to be washed off. Being baptized is a sacred act to all religions in different ways; all of them follow the meaning that you are washing away your sins and letting God into your heart. Another belief of the nondenominational church is that Jesus Christ is everything; he died on the cross for us and paid the price for all of our sins. As long as we believe in Jesus we are wiped clean of our sins, as long as you have accepted him as your savior, even if you have committed sins. Putting emphasis on anything but Jesus is sin meaning anything that takes the importance off of Jesus is the sin.
This isn’t a direct quote from the bible but an explanation of the passage of Jesus knocking at your door and you have the choice to answer him if you want to let him in, he gives you the chance to prepare yourself and be ready. This means, that if you want to let Jesus in, you have the choice, but if you’re not ready for him then he will wait. This goes for everyone including the children and teenagers of the church. They believe that in order for the children to see God, they have to find different ways to let him in their lives, coming up with new inventive ways to keep their attention. They don’t stop bringing their children to church or give up on bringing Jesus in their lives; what they do is find different ways to let God in. Which brings me to what I had viewed at the North Point Community Church. This church was a very large church, I would compare it to stadium size. There were, I believe, four other auditoriums just in that building, along with a basement, and a game room for the kids. In each of the auditoriums there were giant screens and in one of those auditoriums was the speaker being videotaped and broadcasted in the church as well as to six or seven other churches around Georgia. It was by far the biggest church I have ever seen. The biggest thing that shocked me when I was at the church was that they have a rock band up at front; it felt as if I was at a rock concert while singing songs about Christ. I didn’t know what to think of this until Mrs. Patterson pointed out to me that this was the churches way of reaching out to children and teenagers. It was their way of bringing them in, letting them know that God can be shown in all different kinds of ways, not just from reading the bible.
For those who believe in the faith, spreading the word of the gospel is what they are supposed to be doing for God. For the Patterson’s they don’t believe in going door to door to talk to some of their neighbors about Christ. They believe by doing good deeds for them, asking their neighbors if they need anything and helping them in their time of need will do the trick. By doing good, the neighbors may ask what faith they believe in, and where they attend church. Like the main lesson that is taught, love your neighbors, and love God, and great things will come your way.
When visiting the North Point Community Church, I was not sure what to expect since it is different from my own experience. What I learned though is we are all God’s children and it doesn’t matter in what way it is preached. The ritual is not what is important, it’s that Jesus is an important person to hold in our lives. Something that Mrs. Patterson said had stuck out to me while I was interviewing her; I had asked, “What kinds of attitudes, values, and behaviors does your religious culture encourage?” She replied with, “Loving a life that glorifies Christ.”