I didn’t attend church much the first two years of college. It just wasn’t something I made time for. I lived across the street in what was then called New Hall. The Sunday morning service didn’t start until 11. STILL couldn’t get there.
But in the fall of 2007, I found myself with no friends, no direction, and nothing left to lose. And then I found University Lutheran. Or, rather, it found me. I’d been getting these emails from Pastor Jay. Nothing fancy, just some pesky newsletters sent out to self-identified Lutherans. But it was enough. I showed up one night out of the blue at a Halloween movie night. I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know what to expect. I just knew something had to change.
It was weird. It was awkward. I remember the movie was terrible. But for some reason, I came back. I started to go to church again. I became a part of this Jesus-centered community of Scripture, faith, and grace.
For two years, University Lutheran became my home. I made friends there. I went there to study and hang out. But most of all, I heard about Jesus, every sermon, every Bible study. That’s not just something it says on the sign; at the heart of everything that went on there was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for poor, miserable sinners like me. We had fun, but it was always about pointing us to the cross. To give us direction.
I needed direction.
I’m a Lutheran pastor now, serving a congregation in North Dallas. Hard to believe where it all started. I have much to thank God for, but Pastor Jay and University Lutheran Church will always be near the top of that list. The Gospel, grace, finally opening one of those pesky newsletters — these are the things I hold onto. To me, that’s what it means to be a LutherNole. – Adam