Vanessa Annelies is a daughter of Zion, watchman and intercessor who uses her life experiences to encourage others with their Christian walk. By the leading of the Holy Spirit, Vanessa founded Pearl Sisters in 2015 as a platform to connect Christians worldwide and to spread the gospel. The online Christian blog has been able to reach over 100 countries and has now also started a YouTube channel.
“It is my goal to see women thrive, grow and be the best person that they can possibly be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I see myself as a tool used to help women in their faith journey. It is my vision to see the gospel reach all the nations around the world and to connect Pearl Sisters globally.”
YouTube: Pear Sisters
Former Church Girl
I stopped attending church regularly two years ago. My attendance went from 100% down to 0%. Do I dislike church? Not at all. In fact, I love the teaching, the messages and mingling with other disciples. However, I felt in my spirit that my season at that church had ended, and I was focusing on a deeper, intimate relationship with the Father and His direction for a new church. I had so much peace about this new chapter of my life and looked forward to it. It was when other Christians found out about my non-attendance that I started to feel troubled. In fact, most of the Christians I knew, had something to say about my 0% attendance and it was mostly not pleasant. When I attended church, Christians usually asked me the following two questions:
- What church do you do to?
- Who is the leading pastor there?
When I stopped attending church, the questions piled up. The first always being “why don’t you attend church?”. Each time someone asked me that question, I felt obliged to have to answer it, and for me it was something very personal between myself and God. When I gave my life to Christ, it was me and Him. When I received dreams and visions, it was me and Him. When I used to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit, it was me and Him. In fact, 90% of the things I have learnt during my spiritual walk was during my private time with the Lord. And now, I am forced by other Christians to elaborate and justify on why I do not attend church?
The judgments continued as followed:
- God did not tell you to stop attending church.
- As a Christian, it is mandatory to attend church.
- You are going to backslide now that you are not attending church.
- Since you have stopped attending your church, why do you not come to my church, you will like it.
- I am very concerned about your spiritual walk since you stopped going to church. You are not being fed on the word.
- It is not good isolate yourself from other Christians.
As much as I appreciated some of the concerns that other Christians would show, it felt as if nobody accepted my wishes or believed that God told me to take a step back. I would have to “explain” myself each time and then people would bombard me with messages with invites to their churches as well as their opinions, which was inconsiderate. I also noticed that some Christians no longer wanted to associate themselves with me, since I was the “non attendee” and was made to believe I had committed the biggest sin ever. I was isolated because I did not belong to a community and it was as if I was no longer worthy. I felt like people were spending more of their time judging me and forcefully inviting me to their church, rather than reaching out to the lost sheep.
Little did they know that it was during this quiet time, I really got to bond with God – in fact I was spiritually growing more than I had been during my time at church. It was also during this time that I started my Pearl Sisters blog, so as much as people thought I was not hearing from God, I knew I was.
I also still used to fellowship with a group on Fridays, where we would worship, read the word, pray and the presence of the Holy Spirit was surreal. At times it would take me almost two hours on the bus to get back home at night, but it was worth it. It was indeed a church without walls.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
There are people in the church who have 100% attendance but do not have a personal, intimate relationship with the Father. Does that mean that they are a better Christian than myself because I am not attending church? I am still yet to find a scripture that says that salvation is disqualified for not attending church.
My prayer for us that we will look beyond regular church attendance and focus on our relationship with Christ. I think church going definitely builds on one’s spiritual journey and is a positive aspect for our Christian walk, however it should not be pin pointed to just church going. If a fellow believer has chosen to step away from church, respect their wishes. If anything, pray for them and ask for the Holy Spirit’s direction concerning the matter.
At the appointed time (two years on), God has led me to a small church in my area where I worship as and when I am led. The beauty of it is that I fellowship there with my family, rather than as an individual as I did at the former church (God’s timing is always the best). I am thankful for the season of separation the Lord gave me and glad I did not give in to the pressures from those around me. I learnt to solely depend on the Father and raise my faith to believe He was ordering my steps to a better place.