The first church I was intentionally involved with was Northbrook Baptist Church in Boiling Springs. I started going when I was around ten years old. My parents had just separated and were in the process of getting a divorce. We moved in across the street from some kids our age and started attending church and all the youth programs that went along with it.
I became a Christian about a year and a half after our first time there. I was a young, naive girl, but I wanted to live for Jesus. We spent summers with my father in Ohio and I can remember thinking that I wasn’t saved because I didn’t “walk an aisle.” I prayed the entire summer for God to not come back just yet, so I could become a Christian. Isn’t it funny how we think sometimes? I laugh at myself for thinking that, but it’s how God works in all of us. When he draws us to him and we take that first step of faith, we don’t know everything. It’s just the beginning of a long life of learning more and more about the Jesus we love and serve.
Anyway, Northbrook was where it all started for me. It’s my home church. We went on mission trips, performed musicals to share Christ (complete with movement!), did Vacation Bible Schools and Backyard Bible Clubs, went to concerts and conferences to learn about God, and all kinds of other stuff. I was there all day Sundays and all evening on Wednesdays and whenever else they opened the doors. The youth I was a part of were my friends. We shared life together.
It was, also, at Northbrook when I first felt a desire to serve God with my life. My friends, jokingly, told me I was going to marry a preacher and they had a specific one in mind. However, a few years later, I was introduced to the love of my life, Frankie. We attended Northbrook together, went to college together at North Greenville University, fell in love, and got married. I, also, briefly interned at Northbrook as a summer youth minister.
Soon after college, some terrible things began to happen at Northbrook. The pastor was a God-fearing man. He was and still is one of the most humble men I’ve ever met. The youth pastor, however, had us all fooled for five long years. Looking back, I can see so many things that I never saw at the time. Without going into detail, the youth pastor was asked to resign, but bitterness caused people within the church to torment the pastor’s family as well and it wasn’t long before he resigned as well after being there for at least 15 years.
We continued to attend Northbrook, but it was never the same after that. I never seemed to connect with the new pastor. I found myself becoming critical of his sermons and since I was more Calvinistic in my theology, some of the things he said bothered me greatly.
We left Northbrook in search of something new. We didn’t do it in the right way. We kind of just vanished. I regret the way we left. We were young and foolish and God taught us a lot through it, but I wish we had had the courage to at least sit down and talk with him honestly.
I still love Northbrook. There are people that attend there today that I still talk to. There are so many good memories there and it’s where I got the foundation for my faith.