11.02.2010

What Canaan Has Meant to Me


The church where I became a Christian is celebrating its 30th anniversary next month, and is collecting stories from members past and present. Here's mine.

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I didn't grow up in the church or in a Christian family, so Canaan holds a particularly special place in my heart because it was where I became a believer. My good friend Ben, who I had always respected as a person, had been inviting me forever to come to their Friday night youth group meetings. Even though I had an emerging intellectual interest in spiritual matters, I considered church to be a little too weird for me, but because I trusted Ben so much I eventually decided to go with him. I quickly found out that there were cute girls there. Ben could've saved a lot of time recruiting me to Friday meetings if he had just started there.

The Lord, of course, works in spite of our not-always-honorable intentions. God, as I noted above, was cultivating in me a hunger for spiritual matters, and it was at Canaan where He provided human answers for my deepest questions, and human manifestations of spiritual concepts like truth and love and devotion. I learned not only how to become a Christian but how to live like one, in terms of conduct and witness and worship. And I made lifelong friendships that continue to sustain me in my walk with Jesus.

I'm sure that others of my generation will share about our musical productions, but at the risk of repeating what they have said, I will share my account. Practicing, performing, and traveling for that purpose was a formative moment in my spiritual development. I learned a lot that summer, about working with others and trusting God and being on a mission. It is one thing to play church on Sunday morning and Friday night; when you are in the midst of something like a church musical tour, you learn what it means to live and breathe Jesus, and it's something I wish for all young believers. I know I was changed from the experience.

I don't know anything about how and why Canaan was formed 30 years ago, but I imagine that when its fathers and mothers came together, they prayed for it to bear fruit in its community and in the people that passed through it. I'm forever thankful to be part of the proof of God's answer to that prayer. And I pray for many more years and generations and answered prayers to come for Canaan.

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