The first time I went to church

The first time I went to church, I had blue hair.

Well, I had attended liturgical services occasionally through my childhood. But the first time I went to an evangelical church? Messy, long, curly blue hair. A tie-dyed teeshirt. Ripped, baggy cords. I was kind of a mess.

first time



I don’t remember much of the service, honestly. It was very different from the services I had attended as a child. No candles. No robes. Just these crazy people that loved each other. After the service, I was following around the friend that brought me. Trying to remember all the names of the people she was introducing me to. Taking in all these happy, loving people that weren’t in any rush to get on with their day.



The Baby

We stopped to talk with a smiling woman that was holding a baby. I don’t remember what we talked about or how long we stood there. But I remember her baby. He was fascinated with me! Staring and reaching for my hair, my clothes, me! The woman? The mom, holding her precious baby? She said something about how much he loved me and asked if I wanted to hold him.

Me. Blue hair. Hippie clothes. Standoffish and guarded. She passed her baby to me. I had just met her moments ago but she loved me enough, even then, to see that maybe I just needed to hold a baby for a minute. (In case you didn’t know, holding babies heals a multitude of hurts.) I held him for a bit and then passed him back to his mom. She thanked me and gave me a hug.

Who were these people?! Didn’t they know what I was? Wasn’t it obvious? I was not one of the shiny church people or their shiny college student friends!

It definitely was obvious. And it was obvious each time I attended over the next few months. At times, there were fumes from the night before hanging on my breath and clothes. I continued to be a bit guarded and standoffish. {FYI, I might still be battling those tendencies.} 

What The Church Does

But these people? They loved. They loved me like Christ loved them. Persistent, joyful and indiscriminately loved.  And my friend? She invited me to church, even on the Saturday nights that I would stumble down the dorm hall past her room late at night. Eventually, their loving persistence won me over and my guard fell enough for me to let the love of Christ in.

Nothing about their staunch convictions won me over. Nothing about their super churchiness demonstrated Christ to me. It was their welcoming, persistent love. Now, I’m not saying that we don’t need staunch convictions or a ‘churchiness’ about us that sets us apart from the world. But the one thing we need to remember is that those things are rarely what draws people to Christ.

It is our love that draws them. Today, show love. Maybe it’s the annoying person that keeps commenting harsh things or the Facebook friend that keeps antagonizing you. Maybe it’s your own kids or your husband. It doesn’t matter who it is. Show love. Demonstrate peace. Bring grace into your interactions.

Who knows. Maybe some blue haired crazy college student will turn her entire life around because of it.

2 thoughts on “The first time I went to church”

  1. Ah, and one day a very long time ago… I was a smelly, greasy haired, socially awkward girl who had no true friends. A sweet Christian girl befriended me — me, the unlovable — and she loved me back into the Kingdom.

    Yes, it is love that brings the unloved to Christ.

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