I gave my heart to Jesus at 19. I got saved out of drug addiction and had only been to church a handful of times prior to salvation. It just so happened an IFB church is where I went heard the gospel and got saved. Not long after salvation I surrendered to a call God had placed on my life and surrendered to preach. I then moved to North Augusta SC where I attended bible college to further my knowledge of the Bible and understanding of my calling. I met my wife there, hands down the best part of my experience. Over the next ten years I would strive to become the best version of who God called me to be. I wore the nicest suits because true men of God wore 3 piece suits with pocket squares and cuff links. I learned how to argue for the KJV, as well as all the other key IFB arguments. I believed that my wife’s only job was to be “good Christian arm candy”. I watched Pastors throw NIV’s in the garbage “literally”. I learned what crowd I was supposed to run around with, I learned all the key AMEN words to use in sermons. I’ve been in many Tony Hutson meetings where he’d call out other men for wearing pink or having a certain style hair cut. I also learned that these ideas where EXHAUSTING. I started drifting from my calling, my desire started to fade, my marriage was hurt and I was not happy. I found myself thinking one day there has to be more. This can’t be Gods idea for the church. If it is I don’t want anything to do with it. I couldn’t take the legalism anymore. After 10 years I could preach a sermon and use the right phrases to fill an alter and even get people to walk the aisle for salvation but none of it was sincere. It was just talking points. It was about me. I faded from church, from ministry. One day my wife and I decided to try a different church in Easley, SC. We went to 5 Point Church and it was different, they didn’t have a choir. They had lights, smoke, a Pastor who used other versions, woman leading in various areas of the church. Non of this was ok right? What I new about church was the IFB way. I was taught all this was wrong. We went back the next week and before I walked in the door I prayed this prayer “Lord don’t allow me to focus on the things I see today, let me focus on the unseen” as the service started I wasn’t focused on the music, the lights, the production. I focused on the Spirit Of God and guess what!!! He was there (The Lord was at that church), the non denominational, wicked church I was taught to avoid. Apparently God didn’t get the same memo because He was there. I found freedom from man made ideas and judgement and accepted a multi denominational God for who he really is. Fast forward 4 years and I’ve still got a long way to go breaking free from a decade of legalism was not easy but I’m finding joy in my calling again. I’m not on a stage or in front of people and I’m happy with it, years ago I thought unless you were visible to the church you weren’t called. I’m learning the importance of the behind the scenes. I’ve learned more in Gods word the last 4 years than I did the previous 8-10. I’m learning what true community is and my prayer now is that God uses me to help as a vessel. However, wherever it doesn’t matter on a stage again, behind the scenes I want to live a life pleasing to God. I want to honor my family with my calling. I mainly stick with an ESV for bible study now but I’m learning about the beauty of other versions. My Sunday attire consists of blue Jeans and a t shirt usually and my Worship has went to a different level. Thank you all for your witness and being brave enough to stand up and stand out. Pray for me that I continue to build that boldness and that I won’t allow fear to cripple my ability to serve Jesus.

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