Sunday, January 3, 2016

Why I Go To Church

I read a statistic that 54% of people are interested in increasing their relationship with God in 2016. This could be because of unsettling things that are happening in the world, or just the new year with more thought turning towards things that are important or eternal or it could be that mankind is looking to fill the large size hole in life that only God can fill. But whatever the case...chances are these people will be looking toward the church (the people or the building) in some way to figure something out about their walk with God. So this statistic got me to thinking a little about why I go to church.

So, you that know me might be chuckling...Duh,'re the pastor's wife, you gotta go to church. But as true as that might be...that's not why I go...because if you only knew...sometimes because I am the pastor's wife, I don't want to go. Sometimes I'm tired, sometimes I am hurt by others, sometimes I need a break, sometimes I don't like the hypocrites (lol), sometimes I'm spent. Just like you. Just because I have a sweet little title doesn't make it different...sometimes I just don't want to go.

But I still do. 

Not because I have a legalistic husband who demands my presence, not because I feel guilty for missing, not because I can't be replaced. No...I still go because God says go...He says go because you will find strength and encouragement together as the time of my return gets closer. He says don't forget, don't forsake, don't neglect the body of Christ. (Hebrews 10:25)

I have experienced the great benefits of being faithful to God's house and His people. Things like deeper relationships, feeling God's presence as it moves through the congregation, hearing the congregation sing out their praise and worship, watching people serve in humility one towards the other, experiencing forgiveness and grace when I fail someone and returning that forgiveness and grace when people fail me. I go because I know me....I know the woman who needs to hear God's Word regularly, I need to collectively worship with my family (both blood related and not), I need to humble myself and in the quiet of a service allow God to work in my life. Because...I have not arrived. After 38 years of relationship with God...I still stumble, fall, doubt and fail God. I go to church because the church is Christ's bride and if Christ loves the bride (and He does) then I want to love the church too. I also see how the church is affecting the other organization does as much as churches do for the world. Humanitarian efforts - check, Social issues- check, Spiritual change - check. The church is faithful to put their money where their mouth is. I am proud to be part of my local church and part of what God is doing through the obedience and faithfulness of flawed people willing to walk in grace, humility and love for each other and the world.

I understand why people don't attend church...I do...but that doesn't mean I agree with them. I understand that you can get fed up with leadership and disappointed with people. I understand how good it can feel to stay home and rest and relax on a Sunday morning. I understand the temptation to believe that you are not needed, unimportant and insignificant....because I have felt all those things before....But let me assure you of one thing...these are traps the devil lays for you. Traps to concentrate on yourself, traps to feel neglected, traps to be self-centered. I know...because I've been there. And I've been on the other side too and can assure you that what God has to offer you through your church is far better that the enemy's trap to keep you from there. Is the church perfect? No...largely because people like me attend. Is the church going to meet every need you have? No, that's God's job, not the churches. Is the church going to feed you spiritually? They better...but unless you can make it the whole week on 2-3 meals, I sure hope you can read and feed yourself. Is the church going to disappoint you? Yes. Yes. Yes. The staff isn't perfect, the deacons aren't perfect, the music guy isn't perfect and neither is the nursery worker or the maintenance person. But I don't know too many of these people that aren't trying with all their heart to serve the Lord with their availability and their obedience and their gifts.

So...I'm going to keep going to church...I mean it would be a little weird for me to stay home after writing this article...but it's more because I know that Christ gave His life for the church...and He's coming back for the church...and I want to be with those He loves...His bride...His beloved. I want to be busy being obedient to what He asked His people to do.

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