Before coming to Experience Church.tv, my husband and I were stationed in Baltimore during my service in the Military. As military veterans, my husband and I were supposed to be transferred here to Washington. A week prior to us moving, my husband came to me at my work and said, “You know Brenda, I want a divorce.” It was like, “Ok, this is perfect timing.” So as we travelled to Washington, I’m under the impression that the divorce proceedings would start, but at the same time I said to myself, “You know, it’s time to return back to the Lord.” The reason I said that was because I was raised in the church. So I knew the word, I knew the Lord, but Brenda turned her back against the Lord and lived her own life. So while coming here to Washington, I decided it’s time for me to get my act together. That was my journey here, and that was back in January of 2000. At the time I said, ‘Well, I’ll have my kids go to a Christian school because who am I to teach them for somebody who wasn’t in the Lord.” So it was like a double process for me to ensure my children knew the Lord, but for myself to be reborn again, and have a capable relationship with the Lord as well.
When I started coming here, it was called South Hill Christian Center, with Pastor Al Batterson as the senior pastor. When Pastor Dennis took on the role of Senior pastor, the name was changed to Experience Church.tv. I thought the name was beautiful and that it explains it all. It’s that it helps people to understand how to have a relationship with the Lord, and gain that healthy experience of knowing the Lord, which is what brought me to stay here at this church, and watch it grow and transform.
I stayed at Experience Church.tv because they really believe in helping people understand how to have a relationship with the Lord, and the reason that is so important. See I was raised Pentecostal. Pastor Dennis and I were from that same background with family. So through the years in the 60’s and 70’s, church for me was very hardcore, very structured, and if you did something wrong, then you must have done something terrible. You’re not with the Lord anymore, and you have to redo the process all over again.
I consider this a healing hospital for me, and that’s how they’ve approached everybody. The church doesn’t judge anybody in regards to what took place in our lives. What they did was embrace me to say, “Brenda, we are here to help you heal from the wounds that happened in your life”. And to have an organic healthy relationship, or a holistic relationship with the Lord was important. So you don’t have the fluff, you don’t have the legalism, you just have a relationship with the Lord, and that’s what makes a difference here for me. This is what makes me stay here at Experience Church.tv, and what made it so exciting to be here.
Since I have been here for 21 years, my life has transformed drastically. You gotta understand me, I was raised with a grandparent that was very hard and harsh, and never really had positive words to say. So it was a transformation for me knowing how to let go of those negative narratives that say, “This is who I am” versus God’s narrative of “Who I am truly supposed to be”. That’s what took place here at Experience Church.tv for me. The church has helped me to understand what the Word of God says who I am, embracing who I am, and by knowing that my life has been more of a positive journey. I still have challenges, but the difference is I now know how to face those challenges with the Word of God, and also work with having joy.
You know, sometimes Pastor Dennis, he’ll get me, and we’ll have conversations. I like when he says “Stop it.” you know, cause it makes me laugh. It’s like, “Okay, I need to wake up and let things go.” The thing is, the change that this church has brought to me, is understanding how to forgive, and how to love, and not to judge. That’s the 3 things that the church has purged into my life. Now I’m able to walk in love, still working on the other things as I live, but I’m just so excited that the Lord has transformed me in such a way that the love of God is being seen through me and that’s the positive with being at Experience Church.tv.