A Letter from Shane

If you wonder what we mean when we talk about creating “irresistible environments” on Sundays, the following letter from one of our attenders should help answer that question. As you read this, keep in mind that Shane, like you and I, is on a spiritual journey, and we’re all at different points on our journey.

All of my life, church seemed to be one of those curious places that people attended, either out of tradition or, when they needed guidance in their lives. For various reasons, I never thought that I needed church or for that matter to believe in God or a higher power.

Because of my background, the idea of attending church regularly seemed strange and foreign.

Then, one day Kelly, my wife, straight-up asked me to go to Access Church with her.

Needless to say, I had some very real apprehensions about the idea of attending church. As we approached the doors to Access, I felt like a wolf among the sheep, a non-believer infiltrating a club where I wasn’t sure I would be welcomed. But, as we entered those thoughts immediately went away. A few guys at the door greeted us with smiles and a cheerful, “Good morning.” I made it in unscathed. We made our way to the auditorium and I heard the sounds of a rock band. I asked Kelly, “Are we in the right place?” She smiled and we continued inside.

I prepared myself for a lot of kneeling, standing, sitting and benches. Nope, comfy theater seats welcomed us as the music got louder. After a few minutes Rich greeted everyone, wearing jeans. Wow, I thought, no formal procession, no robes, no altar boys. I kinda liked it.

After Rich made some informal announcements the stage was set for “Verdict.” Actors portrayed a scene of putting the gospels on trial and at first I thought, “This is cute.” Then, as I watched, I had a thought, for the very first time, that I might be wrong about God being a work of fiction. From then on I was hooked. I continued attending in the following weeks, if nothing more than to satisfy my curiosity.

It’s hard to put into words, but Access has really changed the way I think about attending church. Listening to “Verdict,” then “iMarriage” and the other subjects that Andy Stanley has touched on really make it easy for a guy like me to relate.

To my surprise, the experience wasn’t uncomfortable, and I found that I actually had the wrong idea about church all along. At Access, it wasn’t all about surrendering yourself, asking forgiveness for your sins, or being judged, but it was just about being closer to everyone around you and to God…all while listening to some great music and down-to-Earth communicators.

Now, a regular attender at Access, I can safely say that I’m “comfortable” with church. I not only attend church but my wife and I are also part of a weekly small group where we really connect on a personal level with other couples. While I’m still getting used to the idea that there might be a higher power, Access has allowed me to become better educated about Christianity while making some great friends along the way. What more could you ask for?

Wow. He’s right. What more could you ask for?