It felt good to pick my own pastor.
He was young–so much so that nearly everyone called him “Pastor Doogie” –gracious, eloquent and kind, with a biting sense of humor that showed he didn’t take anything too seriously (besides the love of God). After meeting and working with him on a Teens Encounter Christ retreat, I loved Pastor Matthew so much that my friend and I decided to become members at his church.
For our first act as official church members, we participated in a “30 Hour Famine,” raising money to give food to those in need and fasting for 30 hours so that we might intimately know the experience of hunger. The event also served as a church retreat where they screened The Passion of the Christ; to the shock of my tear-streaked friends, I fell asleep in the middle of it. That my response to a visual depiction of the crucifixion was to take a nap may have been a sign of things to come: just a couple of years later, I stopped believing in God.