2 Reasons I Returned to Church: How a Scoffer Experienced Christ through Prophecy

I never thought I would write about, much less champion, prophetic ministry. I’ve always been skeptical, cynical, pragmatic. 

For a long time, I didn’t think God could, or would, speak to me. Doesn’t He have better things to do?

I doubted the stories of prophecy and healing miracles I heard from friends in small groups, on email chains. I cringed suspiciously when churchgoers would explain, without a hint of doubt, how God had definitively and unmistakably spoken to them. 

I just wasn’t buying it. 

Until I tasted, touched, and lived God’s transformational, prophetic words in my own life. 

Rachel Held Evans recently posted 15 reasons why she left the church and a follow up 15 reasons why she returned.  I can boil the reasons behind my prodigal return down to two: 

Hope and a heart for justice. 

When I first visited the Vineyard Church that I now attend, I was struck by the heartbeat of justice that seemed to pulse through the congregation. At the time, I could have cared less about Jesus or daily devotionals or small group prayer time; but I cared deeply about serving the poor, fighting injustice, and living intentionally, compassionately. 

And that’s what I saw in this church: men and women doing meaningful things–making friends with people who live outside, caring for the environment, learning how they could spend less money on themselves so that they could give more to those in need. 

I couldn’t get enough. This passion for justice struck a chord so deep within me that I kept coming back. I keep coming back. 

The other thing I experienced in church was hope. 

It takes an immense amount of hope to work for social justice, to believe that things can change. 

In my church community, I found people who lived like there was a God who reconciles all things. They had hope for our world here and now. They had hope for me. 

They shared this hope with me through prophetic ministry. I know it sounds weird, or foreign, and you may be writing me off like I once did to the miracle junkies in my life. But please just give a minute to explain. 

The Vineyard Church describes the heart behind prophetic ministry, “We believe God speaks in many ways and often speaks to encourage people and release his heart to them and point them towards their destiny. Prophetic sounds a little mystical but is a way for followers of Jesus to give voice to what God is doing or wanting to do in the lives of others.  We believe that God works in us through a still small voice and if we listen that we can use the prophetic ministry to encourage others that God is working in and around their lives.”

I don’t really know how it works or why it works, but I do know that my church friends encouraged me to experience God–and I did. They opened my eyes to see God’s face; they opened my ears to hear God’s voice. 

I know not everyone can relate to this. There can be a lot of pain and confusion in feeling like you’re on the outside. I also know that God loves you. That God wants to speak to you and be known by you. That just because you can’t feel Him or see Him now, doesn’t mean He’s not there. 

My pastor once said, “Your area of deepest doubt can become an area of your deepest worship.” 

So whatever it is you doubt the most, whatever it is that has made you leave the church or doubt the Church or your faith-filled friends, I’d encourage you to stay in it. Look for God even in your doubt, even in the places you are certain He won’t show up.  

I pray today that you be given eyes to see and ears to hear Love Himself in your life–through whatever voice or vision or feeling that resonates with you. 


Curious about these visions? Tomorrow I’ll share more about a prophetic vision that continues to shape me, challenge me, and draw me closer to God. 


Do you have any experiences of doubt-turned-to-worship? I’d love to hear them. 


5 thoughts on “2 Reasons I Returned to Church: How a Scoffer Experienced Christ through Prophecy

  1. Wow. That's a great story, Aly. Can't wait to hear the next part!

  2. I am looking forward to the next few posts, for sure.

  3. Aly Lewis says:

    Thanks Ken! I hope I don't disappoint!

  4. gnstr says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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