I completely understand.
It’s Sunday morning. You’re awakened by beams of light spilling through your blinds. Rising up, you tie on your bathrobe, walk out the front door to fetch your newspaper when you see the most remarkable sight across the street.
It’s those Andersons again. Dad, Mom hurrying the three little ones into their minivan, en route to their weekly shindig with their Holy Rolling friends. So again you ask yourself something perfectly reasonable: Why would ANYONE want to go to church?
And that, my friend, is a good question.
After all, you’ve been there and done it. You’ve got some compelling reasons to give the whole church thing a pass:
- You’d rather sleep in.
- You’ve got better things to do with your Sundays.
- You’ve had bad experiences with church in the past.
- It’s boring.
- The place is full of weird people.
- They just want your money.
- They speak in a churchy language you don’t get.
- You don’t want to be judged by THOSE people.
- Who would want YOU at their church.
- The Andersons aren’t so perfect.
These are valid points. If you end up in the wrong church the experience can be negative enough to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, there are many instances of churches behaving badly. Even if you go to the right church, it will have its fill of embarrassing moments. This is because both the good ones and the not so good ones are filled with imperfect people. Sadly, many Christian churches are awkward and clumsy when it comes to welcoming new people.
But before you give up on the concept altogether, you really ought to consider some of the reasons WHY people do go to church. Because if you’re not part of a good congregation, you and your family are missing out on many of the sweeter things of life.
Here are just a few:
Great place to raise a family.
If you’re trying to grow your children in today’s toxic environment, you probably already know the odds are stacked against you. Our kids are sent out as sheep among the wolves in a world of drugs, sex, hatred and violence. And that’s just what they experience on television. When you add the perversions of the Internet, the competitive drama of school life and peer pressure it’s no wonder they are facing such a high risk of suicides, chronic depression, substance abuse and teenage pregnancies. Raising your kids in a church environment helps give them a “code” which can carry them through the difficult times of life. Those times when you’re not around. Your children will also develop healthy friendships and get an entire church family willing to wrap their arms around them, keeping them safe. This is priceless assistance for you during your parenting excursion.
Place to strengthen your marriage.
Going to church won’t guarantee success in your marriage. All couples encounter challenges which can be overwhelming at times. But what is guaranteed at the right church is that you’ll be in a place which honors marriage. You’ll have people around you to share wisdom, encouragement and support to help you experience victory in your relationship.
Great place for healing.
We all hurt at some time. We’ll all fall short. We all struggle. Going to church won’t change, this, but it will mean you won’t have to face these life challenges alone. A strong fellowship will lift you up when you stumble and help dust the dirt off of your knees. If you have disappointments, guilt or shortcomings you’ve carried with you for years, healing is available to you here.
Your social life will improve.
Many people think going to church will crimp their lifestyle. It’s true that it might change, but it’s always for the better. You’ll meet some amazing people who will take genuine interest in who you are. They will be fired up about helping you become the best person you can be. You’ll get incredible opportunities to serve others and to do it with people who also enjoy being a positive influence in the world. Plus a vibrant church will offer a host of fun activities for you and your family.
You won’t have to do life alone.
Even the biggest celebrities struggle with loneliness. That’s because there is a hole in our hearts that can’t be filled with money, fame and career accomplishments. There is a yearning in each of us to be connected with others and to find deep significance in our lives. There is no better place to build meaningful, forever relationships than a healthy church and together you’ll experience the joy of reaching your greater purpose on this planet.
The Bible will start making sense.
There is no question the Bible can be a difficult read at first. It can be like thumbing through a telephone book. But, as you begin to learn more about the background, the history, the characters, the teaching and the wisdom within those pages, it all begins to make sense in a powerful, life-changing way. You’ll discover truths which will transform your understanding of the world around you and you learn how relevant Scripture is to every facet of your journey. Within the walls of an excellent, Bible-teaching church and supplemented with a small group study, you be blown away by your new-found understanding of the bestselling book of all time.
You’ll build a friendship with God.
I know. You might not even be sure there is a God. But isn’t it worth putting in a little time to determine this with certainty for yourself? And some might say, “Why do I need to go to church to be friends with God?” No. You don’t need to go to church to be friends with God. But if you have a genuine friendship with God, you’ll know He wants you to be part of His family and active in His church.
So how exactly does one go to church?
If you paid close attention to the caveats weaved into the text above, you noticed that quality counts when it comes to having a positive, life-changing church experience. Not all which hang a church shingle are the same and many of them aren’t properly teaching what’s in the Bible. Some of them ignore it altogether.
It’s worth doing a little homework. Visit a few and see which one is the best fit for you and your family. A genuine Christian church will teach about Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s it not, walk away. Here are some good questions you should ask when you visit:
- Are they teaching from the Bible?
- Is it an authentic Christian church that teaches that Jesus Christ provides the only way to get to Heaven?
- Are they welcoming to visitors?
- Do people seem friendly and happy here?
- Do they have good programs for your whole family?
The easy way is to talk to someone you know and respect who goes to church and ask them if you can be their guest some Sunday.
Most likely, the Andersons would be thrilled if you asked to join them. I’m sure they’ll even give you a ride.