Recently, my husband and I have been pondering the question of what brings people to church. I know the answer lies in a plethora of reasons which are different for each individual and family. However, I think it’s a question worth asking.
I grew up going to church. My parents didn’t give an option, not even the night after prom. On Sunday mornings, you showed up. Moreover, my parents demonstrated to me the importance of faith development. It wasn’t enough that we sat in the pews playing hangman, we needed to have something theologically substantial to contribute over our Sunday dinner pot roast. My parents talked to us about what we’d learned from Sunday school and worship, and shared their reflections from both Sunday school and worship, as well. In this way, my sister and were encouraged to develop an authentic and meaningful faith experience through the church experience.
However, church was also about community. It was the place we went for fellowship dinners, for wedding receptions and birthday parties. It was where we went after school once a week for bell choir, kids choir, GA’s and kids cantata rehearsals. It’s where we met our friends to play on Wednesday evenings as our parents did choir practice. And, it was the site of countless lock-ins and weekend retreats.
Church was a vital part of our lives, and although it smacks a little of nostalgia, it really wasn’t that long ago.
As an adult, my motivations for going to church remain largely the same, although some of my desires have been transferred onto my children. I want my children to know God. I want them to develop a strong and authentic faith. I want them to live their lives in service to God. And for me, that can’t happen without the Church.
Moreover, in our increasingly secular society, I want my children to have a community of believers they can gather with each week. I want them to see Christian principles and teachings being lived by adults around them. I want the wisdom of those who have passed through parenthood before me to help me on my journey–to speak words of encouragement and to offer decades worth of guidance. I want them to help me guide my children in the ways of the Lord and to live out the covenant promise they made when our children were baptized to help rear them in the faith.
Finally, for me, church is the place where God’s Kingdom takes root on earth. It is the place you come in order to show the love of Christ to a world in need. I want our children and adults to have abundant opportunities to engage in mission and service, whether it be collecting money for Imagine No Malaria, bringing in jars of peanut butter for our local backpack program, sponsoring students so that they can go to school, bringing in shoes, making dresses to send overseas, visiting those in the local nursing home, or making cards for our shut-ins. Church is the place where we not only receive God’s love, but where we pass it on to others.
So, that’s why I go to church. How about you? Why do you go to church? Tell me. I want to hear your story.
Blessings and Peace,