It was a normal Friday evening youth service. We were playing games while eating cheap pizza in a room so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think.
As the regular students arrived, there was a rare sight for a Friday night. There was a new student. At a smaller church, this is one of the greatest sights in the world. As the new student entered he was immediately rushed by other students welcoming him, along with a few who recognized him for school.
I quickly made my way over to him. While engaged in small talk I discovered that he attended a church down the street. It wasn’t “a” church down the street, it was “the” church down the street. He attended the “big” church that I often watched from a distance.
Instead of getting to know this student, I became self-obsessed with finding out information about his church. Every statement he made was quickly followed by an arrogant hyper-spiritual answer:
Student: Our youth services are normally an hour and a half.
Me: WHAT! We have our three-hour services.
Student: Yeah, we have PS4’s and a coffee café in our lobby, which is fun!
Me: That’s crazy gimmicks. Those teenagers just need an encounter with Jesus.
Student: On Sunday, we have two services. Each service is a little over an hour.
Me: Psst. They obviously don’t let the Holy Spirit move.
What this student didn’t realize was this short conversation was some festered up ill-feelings I had toward his church down the street. In my three years at my church, I never stepped foot in his church or even talked with a leader. Instead, I developed a negative perspective of how they operated.