I’m supposed to like church.
I’m a “pastor” of sorts, and a “pastor’s wife”.
I grew up “going to church” every Sunday. No. Matter. What.
I’ve been a Christian since I was 14.
I’m supposed to “do” church. I’m supposed to like church. And I do.
Most of the time.
But there are days…
Days when I’m tired, or I don’t particularly connect with the person preaching, or we’re in a series on Revelation, or it’s a rare Minnesota summer day and “I want to worship God in nature dontcha know?”
After all, what constitutes “legal” church? Your small group around the dinner table? Time in the woods reading your Bible? The 5 year olds Sunday School class you teach? Or is it only worship in the Big Church on Sunday?
If our whole heart belonged to Jesus, what would He desire? He’s not keen on rationalizing or self-centered consumerism, but He also has harsh words for the judgy pharisees.
Here’s one thing I know for sure. If participating in worship of some kind is optional, if it’s up for discussion each Sunday, it won’t happen more often than not. There will always be something tempting vying for our attention.
If you are someone who goes to church regularly, and I asked you “Why?” what would you say?
The question “Why go to church?” seems to surface a lot in these days of podcasts with world-class preachers and small groups full of people we like and absent of theology or politics we don’t.
You might just quote Hebrews 10:24-26 Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
But when I was thinking about this recently, what came to mind was Joshua and Jericho and the walls.
We spend six days a week looking at walls – walls of problems and people and pitfalls.
And they can seem overwhelming. Insurmountable even.
Church is not a place, but when we gather together as the Church I think we’re reminded that we’re not alone in our wall-facing.
- Together we can give each other a leg up to see over the wall. Maybe even climb on someone’s shoulders as we hear the faith stories of others, both in Scripture and in our community.
- The Holy Spirit can give us bionic glasses to see through the wall. We see a different perspective, a godly perspective maybe, that we haven’t considered.
- Gathering in worship reminds us that we have a powerful God who can make the walls come tumbling down.
But more than anything, we gather to worship because God is worthy.
When we replace worship with podcasts or even small groups, the element that is missing is the physical discipline of going to a place at a time that may be inconvenient or uncomfortable and bowing before our creator and saying “This is not about me. You alone are worthy of praise.”
That said, make sure you’re part of the right church for you. Maybe ask: Am I experiencing the wall tumbling listed above even occasionally? Is it a community where transformative relationships are possible? Is there the opportunity to serve within my gift mix?
If you are someone who goes to church, and I asked you “Why?” what would you say?