I’ve been attending church for almost all my life, and feeling guilty about not going when I wasn’t.
You are supposed to go to church, right? That’s just what good Christians do.
But why exactly do we go to church?
Because it actually makes us better Christians? Because our lives will be better for it? That never sat right with me.
Why should church be about us, and not about others? How often is church about others, especially when it’s not part of a ministry or a program? We do love our programs.
So now, after 30 years, I’m thoroughly questioning why I’m going to Church every Sunday.
My problem isn’t with leadership or programs, or more engaging sermons, my problem comes from what we believe it means to be a Christian. It think it means we should follow Christ.
Jesus was always trying to help others
Can most modern church bodies say the same thing? Are Christians all about others, about spreading the gospel, about making disciples of all nations?
I think we are more concerned with helping ourselves. We dress it up as being better Christians, neighbors and people, striving to be the best people we can. But it all amounts to the same thing.
What we don’t do is preach the word or help the hungry and needy.
Here’s what we usually do
A lot of people go to church every Sunday, talk to a few people they know, sit down, stand up, sing some songs, sit down again, listen to a “sermon”, give some money away to the church, talk to some more select people, then go home. They go home where they don’t pray, don’t read the Bible, and don’t talk about God to anyone for fear that they might have to know something. They don’t help those less fortunate because they don’t go out and meet any, they don’t give away any money to the poor, and they don’t make disciples.
But at least they go to church because they think that is somehow the minimum requirement to call themselves a Christian.
Sound familiar? I know it does for me.
Going to your church simply isn’t enough
Maybe we up the ante and join a small group that meets outside of church, or join a program that helps the homeless once a month, or start a non-profit that helps needy families, or set aside 10% of our income to use as a way to help anyone we see who the Holy Spirit directs us to help.
Does it feel like those actions are mere tokens, and not nearly enough? Yes and Yes.
But it’s a start. And as long as we start, and continue to press on, the wonderful Christian story that God has written for us will unfold before our feet.