Share My Story: Jonathan Snyder
We are kicking off a new series "Share My Story" here on our blog! Each post will focus on the testimonies of different people in our church. We are excited to share these with you and we are positive that you will be blessed and challenged! Our first story is by Jonathan Snyder. Jonathan works on staff at Antioch as our Administrative Pastor. We are so thankful for the multitude of ways that Jonathan serves our church! When not working, you can find Jonathan eating Canes, on some random traveling adventure, or hanging out with friends.
I was raised in a religious family and had an agreement with God: if my little league team won our basketball games, I would attend mass. Up until fifth grade my attendance was exceptional because my team did well. During my sixth grade season though, my team had a few hiccups. That year at confession, I explained to the priest that while I was sorry it had been so long since I attended mass, my team lost by twenty-eight in the first round of the playoffs and God didn’t hold up His end of the bargain. The priest laughed.
Growing up I had this determination to be a good person. I remember winning a citizenship award at my school in fourth grade. I didn’t understand how a nine year old could be a good citizen, but I was voted one. I think my actions originated from the theological idea “good people go to heaven,” therefore I wanted do my best to be a good person.
Fast forward to eighth grade, my parents began going to another church. Without my knowledge, they registered me for something I had never heard of: church camp. I remember trying to get out of going because I knew no one, but the trip was non-refundable. It was either I start a lawn care business to repay my parents or board a bus to Texas with fifty strangers my age, reluctantly I chose the latter.
On the first night of camp, the Gospel was presented in a way that I had never heard. While I grew up knowing that Jesus died for “the world,” I was introduced to the idea of Jesus dying for actual people. He died for people with names, faces, personalities, histories and sins. Every sin Jesus bore on the cross had a name attached. They were real thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, anger, lust and more. While I believed my good actions outweighed my bad, I realized I was one of those people Jesus died for. He didn’t die for bad people, instead He died to make spiritually dead people alive. I was:
Jonathan: performance driven - lustful - prideful - imperfect - spiritually dead
I had never considered Jesus dying for me personally, so I decided to give Him a chance. It’s a night that I’ll never forget or regret. In the natural nothing new happened, but without me even realizing it was a day of crossing from death to life (John 5:24), of turning from an enemy of God to a son (Romans 5:10) and where I was equipped for a godly life (2 Peter 1:3).
Since following Jesus I’ve experienced the highs of being part of helping bring clean drinking water to thousands in third-world countries, the lows of my parent’s divorce and everything in-between. While the highs and lows will happen to us all, I am learning each day that life isn’t about trying to have more high moments than low ones. Rather it’s about our journey of meeting Jesus in each situation and the world taking note and experiencing the same life.
My story is that Jesus has transformed me from my attempts to be a "good person" living "the good life", to being a person that knows he is covered by the blood of Jesus and that Jesus really will be with me in every part of my journey.