As a child, I had no choice when it came to attending Sunday service because whether I liked it or yes, my Parents would ensure that I went to Church with my siblings and that was every blessed Sunday, whether it was raining cats and dogs or the Sun was beating sweat out of every person; the only thing that would make me not to go to Church with them on a Sunday was if I was on hospital admission and that was very very rare because my Mother took steps to ensure that we did not get sick.
However when I turned 18 and out of the House, I "revolted". I did not believe that attending Sunday service made me a better Christian than those who did not so I did not see it again as an obligation to be performed by me like a ritual.
I started attending Church services only for occasions like wedding, baptism, confirmation and the harvests and all that; most of the time though I would even go late.
Then something devastating happened to me (details next time) and took my faith with it. I did not go near any Church again, sometimes even talking about God was an issue because I wondered if He really existed, why did He allow that to happen to me?? you know all those questions that never really get answered!!!!
So for almost a year and some months, I would hang out on a Sunday morning with some "friends" doing stuff and sorts.
During the period I was in Egypt, one of my better friends used to come around and invite me for programs and all that in his Church, of course I never gave him my ears; at a point I asked him to stop coming around me; he never listened but kept coming and talking to me about Church.
One evening, he came again and asked me what I had against God and His Church, I told him that it was personal and that I did not wish to share it with anyone. He informed me that whatever it is or was, that there are other persons who have suffered worse fate but who know that God was always there for them and they have never kept away from coming to Church.
I allowed myself to be convinced, so the next Sunday, I followed him to his Church. He was quite happy about it, but I just went so as to help him have a testimony; it turned out that I was to be the one with the bigger testimony.
My Friend's Church have a time slotted for Members Testimonies in the course of the Service and so at the time appointed, members indicated and came forward to give the testimony of how good God had been to them.
One of the "testimonials" apparently dealt with my case, the man had recounted how he passed through the desert, went to Egypt, came out to Jericho and then God found him and brought him to Jerusalem.
I was lost for words because I had never shared my pains with anyone not even my Parents but someone was just recounting what I passed through and claiming them to be his own.
After the service, I sought him out and asked him if he really passed through all that; he gave my friend and I an appointment to meet up with him in his house and he would show us all the evidence. We did that and lo and behold he spoke the truth.
I was convinced beyond all other shades of opinion that God had actually spoken to me through that man's testimony and so I decided to pick myself up from where I was and to walk in God's Way and Will.
At 20, that which was devastating to me at 18, became a bowl of pounded yam which I demolished with a delicious plate of onugbu soup because this time, God's Hands were in it.
Since then, I have not looked back; I not only attend Church, I got involved in service in the Church from Guild of Stewards to People's Warden; I am a Patron of a number of Church Groups including the Anglican Youth Fellowship; I established a number of Church based Young Men's Christian Association; became a Life Member of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship and today I have also been Knighted by the Lord Bishop of Ikeduru Anglican Diocese as a Knight of St. Christopher.
So, if I ask you that question, is going to Church really important? what will be your own answer?
For me, it is a capital YES
When you find yourself in the presence of God in the midst of His Congregation, you would know that irrespective of what you have passed through or currently passing through, you are not ALONE
Hope this message has spoken to someone
Have a great day