In these Heart for the House interviews, we chat with a member of our church family about their journey with God, their heart for the house, and their visions for the future. This week we hear from Shekinah Rapata, an incredibly talented wordsmith, valued member of our church family & future tamborine star!
How long have you been following Jesus?
I grew up in a Christian home with my parents and two sisters. I can remember getting dressed up in wee puffy dresses and riding my tricycle to church every Sunday morning, I have been in church for as long as I can remember. My faith growing up was based on the back of my parents faith and the way our household was lead. In my teenage years, I found rebellion quite attractive so I didn’t know Jesus throughout this time. Finally, the day I fell in love with Jesus was the best day of my life. It was the February 2012 and I was in such a dark place - I was in a nasty cycle of alcohol, other substances and spending time with the wrong people. I listened to a message about the love of Jesus and that day it was like I had only heard it for the first time. Jesus really captivated my heart through His relentless love, fresh mercy, and unending grace. I’ve never experienced anything sweeter than the love of Jesus. From that day onwards, I chose Jesus and I haven’t looked back.
How did you hear about C3 Church Wellington?
I remember leaving my church of 10 years in January 2017 and I walked away with a lot of church hurt and burn out. I quickly became quite complacent and lazy in looking for a new church and instead spent 7 months in my PJ’s on a Sunday morning. A friend told me about C3 Wellington as soon as I left my old church but I never visited until my best friend Debbie invited me in August of 2017.
When did you make C3 Church Wellington home?
I remember walking up to the front doors of C3 Church Wellington and there was this bubbly, energetic woman standing, waiting to welcome people into church. The first words from her mouth were “Hey, I’m Bex, Welcome to church” (little did I know she would later introduce herself as the pastor). A hug followed. There were several reasons that very first day as to why I chose C3 as my home but the most attractive reason were the pastors. After listening to the message of such authenticity and vulnerability, I knew I wasn’t leaving C3 Church Wellington any time soon. So two weeks later, I sat down with Pastor Steve and Bex and pledged my allegiance (lol); I knew I was here to stay.
What attracted you to C3 Church Wellington?
Oh my! I could write a novel on what attracts me to C3 Church Wellington but I will touch on a few. There is something so attractive about people who can be open, transparent, real, straight up, passionate, genuine and so incredibly loving - this is pastor Steve and Bex to a tee. I have witnessed and experienced them lead our church to create this culture also. I love the fact that the vision for this church is “to bring those far from God, close to Him”. The fact that I know I have found my home here at C3 brings me such peace and joy. I have found my people, my people to yarn with, learn with, bants with, laugh with, cry with, and to go on mission with. I have made new family members in my friends here at C3, and I have found my tribe.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of C3 Church Wellington?
I have massive hopes and dreams for C3 Church Wellington. My biggest hope is that we indeed on a daily basis fulfill the vision that God has given C3 Church Wellington- to bring those far from God, close to Him. I hope that anyone who walks through our doors and chooses to do life with us, feels welcome, at home and that they belong with us in community. I hope that we can always share the good news with everyone; on a Sunday, during the week, and in the way we live our lives as individuals but also collectively as a church. I hope to see our YA. ministry flourish through dinner parties and worship services and through this, that we will see many, many young adults sold out for Jesus, taking ground in our community within universities, workplaces and in our homes.
My dream is that we would see the city of Wellington and beyond won for Jesus!