churched (Win a free copy!)

churched-1OK… I’m WAY behind on this… my apologies to Matthew Paul Turner and Waterbrook Press. At long last, HERE is my contribution to the churched blog tour!

I recently completed “churched” by Matthew Paul Turner… What an incredible book! Anyone who has spent any amount of time in church (or several churches, as the case may be) will get a kick out of this great story! I say ‘story’ because while this book would qualify as non-fiction, Mr. Turner has a brilliant style of writing that made me feel like I was watching a new season of the Wonder Years. Mr. Turner re-caps an odd life-journey where he started as a Methodist, transitioned into a Fundamental Baptist church, and ultimately landed at non-denominational Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. I have no problem in recommending this book; first, just for sheer entertainment! There are countless times in this story where you will laugh out loud! Secondly, it will cause you to re-cap your own church journey… and make you wonder how you survived any of it!

Until I read this book, I had never really thought about the many ‘stops’ that I have had along the way. I grew up Catholic, then in high school, a pretty girl introduced me to a different kind of relationship with the God that I thought I knew (I was so thankful that I married her!). From there I had stints in Pentecostal/Assembly of God churches, a Lutheran church, and a handful of multi-flavored non-denominational churches. I’ve had some great experiences with God, and a bunch of good and bad experiences with people who work for and with God… all who have had a hand in shaping the Christ-folower that I am today. While I can see a great value for the person who spends their whole life in one church, I’m also very grateful that my own experience is the culmination of an odd patchwork of church experiences that are now a rich set of memories that I will always cherish!

Now, here is where you come in. I have a brand new copy of churched to give away for FREE! All I ask is that you drop a comment here, and include some insight to your own churched life…and you are entered to win! Just leave a funny story or odd moment that we can all enjoy! I will take comments/entries until Thanksgiving Day (11/27/08) at midnight Eastern time. The winner will be determined by a random drawing on Friday, November 28, 2008. Make sure that you leave a valid e-mail address so that I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. So, leave your own story and tell your friends to stop by too!


19 comments on “churched (Win a free copy!)

  1. Cool, I’ll help start this off. I’m 29. I’ve been in paid ministry for 9 years. I grew up as a PK with my dad being an associate pastor of a 1500+ church in Oregon. As most PK’s everyone knew me (despite me not knowing everyone).

    Despite my numerous stories of capture the flag, sardines and the like throughout the campus, there is one story that sticks out:

    One day when I was in 6th grade, I went to the church with my dad to hang out for a few hours while he had his pastors/elders meeting. One wing of the church was a gym, so I met a buddy of mine there and we were gonna spend the time shooting hoops in the gym.

    Of course we got bored quick so we decided to have a contest. On one end of the gym there were a flight of stairs that headed up to the upper level and to the main entrance to the main building. These stairs had two sides to them. The top of the stairs stood well above the backboard to the basketball hoop. All in all the stairs were about 15 ft. off the ground and probably about 25 horizontal, top to bottom.

    My buddy and I started seeing how many stairs we could jump down at a time. 10 became 15, 15 became 20 until we were standing on the very top of the flight of stairs. My buddy went for it…landed perfectly! There was no way I could not try it.

    I started running…made a perfect jump off the top step…flew through the air…landed feet first on the bottom and then it happened: POP! I felt my ankle buckle under me and I went flying headfirst into the wall at the bottom.

    Long story short, my dad got called out of the meeting by the custodian and I spent the next 8 weeks in a cast and crutches. To this day, my friends (and dad) still bag on me for this!

    I don’t want to think of what my 3 boys will get themselves into in the future!

  2. just saying: “now you know we are pentecostal, right?”

  3. Oddly enough my church story follows closely your own, Dad with the exception of the Catholic part. I have to say though, that my most vast and interesting church experiences happened in Ireland over the summer. I attended 6 different churches in 6 weeks time all over The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I took communion with wine on two different occasions which was definitely different for me. We attended a very charismatic church on the North Coast that left everyone in a whirlwind afterward. Each church offered our group a unique perspective on what church is to different people. I have to say one of the oddest things I heard about church while in Ireland was that the Baptists were considered to be the liberal Christians! Hahahahaha! SO not a funny story, but you get the picture…

  4. Wait! I have another submission! My dad was helping out with my youth group my junior year in high school and he got roped into a bet/deal that my youth pastor made with the group. If we got 100 students to attend an event we hosted, they would both shave their heads. We got 107 students to the events and so one of the ladies in the church came to youth a couple of weeks later and did the honors. For those of you who know my dad, he hasn’t gone back since. That was 5 years ago!

  5. I grew up as a member of a Southern Baptist church where I went to Sunday school every week for 14 years except for the one Sunday I missed at age five when I got my tonsils taken out. Seriously. I visited a Church of God with my aunt once in a while. I dated a girl who was Lutheran, so I did too. I then married a girl who was a dedicated Catholic. I jumped through the Catholic hoops to get that marriage accepted by the Catholics so any off spring we had could attend the Catholic school. We divorced after 2 years with no kids and I don’t think I have been back to a Catholic church since except for one wedding. I then pretty much stayed away from church folks unless visiting my grandma for the next ten years.

    When my wife and I started dating we both agreed that we wanted to “raise our children in church”. We got married in a Methodist church and then began church shopping. Even though my wife and I had some pretty bad church experiences as kids we still wanted to get back “in church”. She grew up in one of those David Koresh type cults out west and my dad gave me a nasty taste of “pastors are human”. Yes, I was a PK for a day. My dad became a Baptist preacher when I was a teenager pretty soon after he was convicted of attempted murder. He committed suicide when I was 22 during my first marriage to the Catholic girl mentioned above.

    I have a hard time with many denominations and I even struggled with “church” in general as it is defined by most people today. The book So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Jake Colsen really hit home with me.

    I now strive to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I am a member of Seacoast and worship God regularly with the Summerville crowd.

  6. My churches background? Wow, that might take a while just because of all the different denominations (and non-denomination) I need to list.

    I “grew up” in a Southern Baptist church. That is, we went to an SBC irregularly when I was age 2 – 7. Maybe twice a month. I remember the basic Bible stories (Adam and Eve, Noah, Jesus) and a good bit of “you’re gonna go to hell” talk. Beyond that, not much.

    We didn’t go to church much at all until I was about 13 years old. At that point, my Dad and I started attending Reedy Grove Pentecostal Holiness Church where a friend’s dad was the pastor. We went regularly (every Sunday) for almost 3 years before we switched to a different Pentecostal Holiness church in town. I’m still not quite sure why we changed but I think it had to do with “church politics” of some sort.

    After going to the new church for a few months, I stopped going with my Dad and started going with my friends to their non-denominational charismatic church. I admit, I did it because they had a very large youth group with a high proportion of high school girls (Hey, I was 16 years old!). I don’t recall the theology of that church given that I had so many distractions while I was there.

    From there, I went to a Church of Christ for 2 years because of the girl I started dating. And then dropped out of Church all together after high school.

    I joined a Presbyterian church (PCUSA) when I was 27 so that my wife and I could get married. She was raised Presbyterian. I had no idea what it was other than Protestant. I didn’t get the whole “grown up Christian” thing for another 8 years. I still had a 7 year old Bible Story theology.

    I *really* accepted Jesus at 35 and started to mature in my faith. That was 3 years ago and the only regret I have now is that I wish I had known Him much earlier in my life.

    Given my background and exposure to different types of churches, I’m still not sure about denomination vs non-denomination. I don’t really know all of what the PCUSA doctrine is. I’m not sure I really care to. To borrow from Mark Driscoll out at Mars Hill in Seattle, “I believe in Jesus and the Bible.” That’s enough to get me going…

    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Steve. Also thanks to all who are sharing on here.


  7. I grew up in a non-denomination church. I was heavily involved in the high school youth group and when I was 15, was a part of the group going to the Dominican Republic on a 2 week missions trip. The day before the Sunday we as a group were presenting our upcoming trip to the church (1500+) we were all waiting in the church after a meeting to be picked up- so we decided to play “hide and seek in the dark”- about 35 high schoolers running crazy through the church in pitch blackness. I was crawling under the pews to hide from someone and hit my face on the corner of one of the edges- blood and pain ensued and I got a HUGE SHINER. The next morning my face was all swollen and black on the right side and I had a huge gash above my right eye. Talk about horribly embarrassing for a teenage girl.

  8. I grew up a PK (preacher’s kid), so I have seen the good, the bad, and the holy of church. And, I still walk with the Lord!!!

  9. i grew up as a preacher’s kid in the methodist church. lots of expectations and compound it with the facts that i was the first born and korean. i didn’t outwardly resent that fact, but subconsciously, i rebelled and found myself being the instigator of many o’ troubles as well as gettin’ into trouble myself.

    now that i’m thinking about it, a flood of memories are coming back to me, but there’s one i’ll always remember — and i guess it’s in theme with the injuries that some others have shared here.

    i was in the 5th grade and it was raining outside. all the kids needed a way to let out some of the pent-up energy after church that day. so what did we do? we ran amok in the fellowship hall despite the repeated pleas to stop from the adults.

    we did stop. but we didn’t stop until i took a dive on the slick waxed tile floor and careened knee-first into the wall.


    i couldn’t get up. i couldn’t walk. talk about your pain and embarrassment. tears were streaming down my cheeks. you could say that “fun-time” ended early that day.

    it turned out that i had partially torn a ligament in my knee and would have to be in full leg cast for what seemed an eternity to a 5th grader.

    to this day my knee ain’t quite right.

  10. So, my story is probably pretty typical.

    I grew up in a conservative baptist church. I grew up being told a lot of things and believing those things because I was told. Why would a Sunday school teacher lie to me?

    I now know that my faith was based on nothing. I didn’t own it. the last 10 years have been a journey of owning my faith and truly living it.

    I am grateful for the life I have had in churches and denominations, but I am so much more grateful for the God that has released me from all of that.

    Now, I just need to make sure He saves me from myself 🙂

  11. I grew up Southern Baptist. After a stint with the unholy trinity of sex, drugs and rock and roll, I came back to church in the Fundamental Baptist King James Only Movement. Then I tried to start a church in Texas. That failed miserably. So I tried again in my hometown to try and start a church for people who dont like church. That got the fundies fired up and they basically disfellowshiped and excommunicated me. But I pastor a great interdenominational church today.

    Anyway – in my former life in the fundamental baptist church – our services were real conservative. The preacher would yell a lot and the godly people would yell “Amen”. We had one guy who was mentally handicapped and he would randomly yell “Amen Brother! Praise the Lord!” only it came out “Amen Brudder! Pwayse da Ward!”

    So one day the pastor is telling a story about how someone hurt him. It was his room mate in college. They had a no PDA (public display of affection) rule in his bible college. He was holding hands with a girl and his room mate ratted him out and he got in trouble. Then one day he came into their dorm room and the room mate was kissing a girl. Hypocrite! So he’s telling the story about this guy kissing a girl. He said something like “And they weren’t just ‘kissing’ – they where KISSING. Swapping Spit, Slobbering on each other. They were KISSING – And I wanted to Kiss Her too!”

    As soon as he said that – the retarded guy hollers out as loud as he can “Amen Brudder, Pwayse Da Ward!” and the WHOLE church started laughing so hard it was deafening. The preacher was laughing so hard he couldn’t finish the sermon. He gave up after 5 minutes of laughter and closed the service with a come to Jesus altar call. It was the funniest thing ever!

    My church background was somewhat ugly – but its also part of who I am and and why I am in ministry today – and I wouldnt trade it for anything. Also we have all reconciled our relationships with the other church so its all good. God rocks!

  12. I grew up in a very small Southern Baptist church. It struggled to stay together, and my mom finally decided that we should move on. She was raised Methodist, so when I was 14 we began attending the big Methodist church in my town and eventually joined. I was a dedicated member until I got married at age 20. My husband and I were not in church, and not surprisingly our marriage ended after just a year. I moved back home and began attending the Methodist church again. I was involved with the beginnings of the church’s contemporary service and played keyboard in the band. I played in the band for five years and felt like I was where I was “supposed to be.” Then, I began realizing that I was just in a routine. When I came in at 7:30 on Sunday mornings to set up and sound check, no one even said “Good Morning”. I didn’t have any friends at church. No one really loved me there.

    After a lot of prayer, I got up the courage to begin visiting other churches. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. However, the first time I visited Crosspoint Community Church in Decatur, Alabama, I felt loved. I felt like I had found a church that got what church was all about. It’s about loving like Christ loved. It’s about reaching those far from Him. I LOVE my church!

    Btw, this is the church pastored by Moviepaster (see his comment above.)

  13. Well, I grew up mainly un-churched until teenage years. Then was introduced to church but not Jesus. It was not until years later that I accepted Jesus as Lord and savior of my life. Then for years, I saw Christianity as a bunch of rules to follow instead of the grace and freedom made possible through my relationship with Jesus. I was so thankful for the day I started focusing on loving Jesus and doing things/not doing things because of that… instead of because the preacher said it…

    I know… that was not to funny… But it was a very freeing day!

  14. As a teenager I became a Christian because of the influence of my teachers and school. I guess you could say that school was my church. My friends and I became very active in Christian fellowship in our last few years at school. Upon leaving, I remember freaking out because I didn’t have a church, and as I was leaving school, I was also leaving my own version of church.

    Throughout the years I had occassionally attended an AOG church just because my friends went there and encouraged me to come, but I never really felt at home.

    After a few years of restlessness and “church shopping”, I finally found my church… my old school started up a Church of Christ in their grounds and I started going late last year. I immediately felt so comfortable and am so blessed to have found a church that I truly love. I got baptised there last Sunday and everyone was so supportive. Although I haven’t had any particularly bad experiences with churches, I remember feeling like I’d never find a church; that I’d never fit in because many of the churches just seemed far too cliquey.

  15. I went to an Independent, Fundamental, Premillenial, (et al) Baptist church-school. (Yes, I wore culottes and tennis shoes…btw, if it’s wrong to wear jeans because they “pertaineth to a man, then why in the WORLD are tennis shoes okay!?!?!?!?!) Whew, glad I finally got that off my chest!

    This is the most evil thing I did during Wednesday afternoon chapel sessions…(when I didn’t skip them entirely!)
    The girls sat on one side and the boys on the other (It’s sinful to do otherwise, you know!), and to pass the time, we would take the hymnbook and look for song titles that could be made into something dirty. Then, we’d signal across the aisle to share our discovery. Those who were really good, would add two titles together to make a naughty sentence.

    It brought us so much closer to our Creator!

  16. Igrew up Methodist and remember when I realized that The Lord’s Prayer really says, “deliver us from evil” and not “deliver us from Meadville” (my home town) like I thought.

  17. I was raised Catholic although becaused my father was Lutheran, we kids went to catechism class on Saturdays (and mass on Sundays of course). This meant giving up Saturday cartoons, but I didn’t mind, I loved going to the Catholic school with it’s cool marble floors, and swell all wooden desks. I’d always volunteer to help the Sisters, especially if it meant a trip to the paper closet to get paper for a project. I loved the paper closet. I wanted to BE a nun because they had such nice paper! I had a born again experience and became a Christian in the 1980’s. Since 2000 I have worked in various support positions in a United Methodist Church, but remain a member of Community Bible Church in San Antonio.

  18. I grew up generations removed from a member of my family that went to church. My family spent Sunday morning cooking bacon and eggs and going to the golf course, which is the best day to go to the golf course BTW. During 4th or 5th grade I went to a birthday party where we were supposed to go to church with the birthday boy the next day. I had a great time at the party, but afterward I went to his room to put away my stuff for the next day and Timothy had these posters of these heavy metal rockers on his wall and I got freaked out, starting thinking about what his church must be like and worried myself to getting sick.

    It wasn’t until High School that a pretty girl caught my eye and invited me to go to church with her. She was a Baptist girl who invited me to attend the Church of Christ church down the road from my house on Wednesday nights. We would go into a room with a long table where we would sit with 15 or so other teenagers as the pastor took us through the Book of Romans. No flash. No high energy music. Just a pretty girl. After a year of attending I had not really learned much, except that my girlfriend liked to go and get a pina colada snow cone after church. I was invited to play guitar at another local church for the student ministry worship. It was through playing worship songs that God began to reach me. I played guitar in the band for about 4 months before I became a believer. Since that moment God has directed each and every step in my life and future ministry because of the guitar.

  19. […] Tags: Books, Christian, church, churched, reading I’ve been taking names for a chance to win a copy of “Churched” by Matthew Paul Turner. There were some cool […]

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