Why Church?

Why church?  This is a question that deserves more and more attention as the church (over-all, across multiple denominations) has failed to do what it was called to do.  And I don’t mean failed as in it received an F on a test and said, “Aww, shucks, I need to do better next time.”  I mean utter, abysmal failure in the worst possible way.  Spiritual abuse, sexual abuse and scandals, emotional abuse. I don’t need to continue.  You’ve no doubt seen news reports about these things happening … somewhere else.  BUT, if you’ve grown up in church, you may have seen it on the personal level as well.   So, again, why invest in something that can seem like such a volatile investment?  After all, there are a lot of reasons not to go.  It’s too cliquey, the preacher is too judgmental, all they want is my money, too many old people, too many young people, the music is too loud, the music isn’t loud enough, they only sing hymns, they only sing contemporary music, their children’s ministry isn’t good enough, the Sunday School teacher has a tattoo, no one has tattoos so they can’t relate to me, I’m divorced and feel that people will judge me, I am on drugs and feel like people will judge me, my son/daughter/best friend/etc. is gay and they will just bash them.  And the list goes on and on.  By the way, that’s not minimizing any of the “reasons” listed, just acknowledging that they exist.   With all these reasons not to go, why should you go?  Well, first, I think we should play a little  semantics with the word usage.  The church is not necessarily something we go to, we ARE the church.  Now, that’s not some revolutionary idea by any means, but it gets the point across.  “Going to church,” as we commonly refer to it, is simply a by-product of being a part of the church.  When you are out in the world, every day, living out the love of Christ—showing patience, giving of yourself (money and time), opening your heart and vulnerability to even your enemies, and suffering rejection from people who want nothing to do with these things, then you need more than just a “church service.”  You need a lifeline.  You need a place to come together with like-minded people to remind you that you’re not the only one on the battlefield.   I think our problem comes when no one is on the battlefield.  We come to church for an entertainment fix, not a life raft.  It’s no wonder that so many don’t understand what Church is about and wonder why so much of the church focuses on unimportant things.  BECAUSE NO ONE NEEDS A RESPITE, THEY WANT A PERFORMANCE.  “Entertain me.”  “Entertain my children.”  “I came to be fed.”  Now, do I seek to “feed” those in my congregation?  Absolutely!  Do I aim to make sure I’m not boring in my presentation?  Yep!  I desire anyone coming to a service to indeed feel fulfilled when they leave.  HOWEVER, I intend that my message not be a dessert that they waste, but a necessary filling of encouragement/exhorting so they can return to the work of the church refreshed—and not the work inside the walls, but outside.  I intend that the message would have not just tickled their ears, but truly taught them something about who God is.  After all, theology is the study of God.   Now, before we bring this back to the original question, I do hope I haven’t scared anyone away who doesn’t attend church.  My goal is not to sound overly harsh.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I just simply want to emphasize that we take the care of our people seriously.  So, if you are not a typical church goer and you’re in the market or just considering, I want you to know that we have no interest in judging you.  But, I also don’t want to pull the ole bait n’ switch that tells you we just want you to come and we don’t want anything else.  Our ultimate goal is that you would come to know Jesus and that your life would CHANGE!  And by change, we specifically mean that your life would start to look more like Jesus.  And THAT is what we expect will keep you returning to our services if we are doing our job right.   So, to conclude and bring us back to our original question, let’s ask once more, why church?  Because the church, as the body of Christ, is communal in its very essence.  Jesus was/is part of the Trinity and had disciples, the church in Acts met in homes together, and Paul was adamant about the people of God being accountable to one another.  Can you be a Christian without coming to church?  Technically, yes, if you want to get down to the bare bones.  But, who likes surviving off technicalities or living off the bare bones?  Let’s be a community of believers who are serious about each other’s spiritual lives.  Do that at Grace Church.  Do that elsewhere.  But, get in a community of believers to help your growth.  If you don’t know Jesus but know you want something different or maybe just positive in your life, we would love to have you.  No pressure.  No sales pitch.  Just Jesus.