Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why Go To Church?

Since I wrote this post, my view on church has changed a bit, through much reading, thinking, and praying.  I hope to share these views sometime in the future, though I don't know when.  In the meantime, you are welcome to read this post and comment. Thank you!

There is a big movement right now of people leaving church.  Not because they have lost their faith in Jesus, but because they have lost their faith in the church.  These people are pointing out some very interesting things to think about when it comes to our attending church each Sunday.  They point out that most Christians today seem to think our main Christian “duty” is to attend church.  They point out that church is meaningless the way it is ran today; it’s too formal with all of the traditions.  And I think I agree with some of what they say. 

After I came across this movement, I began to question going to church as well.  And now that it’s been on my mind for several weeks, I think maybe I’ve pinpointed what bothers me about it. 

I am absolutely not saying that I know it all or have it all figured out.  No way.  But I do a lot of thinking and analyzing and questioning (Jared can attest to that).  And the following is my thinking and analyzing and questioning this movement of leaving church. 

I’m not going to talk about what Christians do the other 165 hours of the week when they’re not at church.  I’m going to focus on what happens in church and maybe why people point out that church today is meaningless.  I think there are two main problems with people in the church today.  The first is passiveness.  Depending on the church, there could be a lot of ways to get involved and have fellowship.  Bible studies, small groups, life groups, etc., are all things many churches have in order to encourage fellowship, especially if the church is quite large.  And I think that churches should offer these types of things because they encourage fellowship more than just listening to a sermon and singing some songs.  And I think if we attend church, we should be involved in these things.  But, it really doesn’t do any good if we are not active in the group.  If we just show up to a small group or a bible study, don’t really talk to anybody, don’t really listen or participate, then we’re not doing ourselves any favors.  And I’ll be honest; it’s really easy to do that and I’m just as guilty as anybody.  It’s easy to just wait for someone to talk to you.  It’s easy to let someone else do the talking and discussing during the study.  But the point of those small groups is to get to know each other and learn from each in order to encourage and be there for each other when needed.  If we are not actively involved in the group and developing relationships, then there’s no point.

The other problem I see is selfishness (and selfishness, I think, leads to passiveness).  It seems today that the attitude about church is very selfish.  What’s in it for me?  How will the sermon today affect me?  How will the bible study today affect me?  How will church benefit me today?  Me, me, me.  And it’s really easy to fall into that kind of attitude because, let’s face it, we are selfish people.  It is our weakness as human beings.  The world wouldn’t be so evil and we wouldn’t be so sinful if we weren’t so stinking selfish.  But it’s who we are.  A lot of people want to blame the devil, but it’s not always the devil making us do things we don’t want to do (and by the way, Satan cannot be tempting everyone at the same time; he is not God and cannot be everywhere all the time).  It’s our own selfish desires that draw us away and cause us to sin according to James.   

Having a “What’s in it for me?” attitude hinders the church.  Because the church is supposed to be about encouraging and edifying one another to grow in our faith so that when we leave church and go out into the real world and live our lives the other 165 hours of the week, we know that we’re not the only ones going through what we’re going through.  We are all facing temptations.  We are all facing problems and situations that are difficult.  We are all failing every day (I know from experience).  And those things are difficult to cope with when we have no support from fellow Christians.  And using those 165 hours of the week to be a light unto the world, in the midst of our struggles, is also difficult when we have no support.  We are not made to walk alone.  Someone may say, but all you need is Jesus.  Yes, God is always walking with us and will help us through any difficulty (as long as we acknowledge him and trust him), and he understands what we’re going through because Jesus was tempted beyond anything we will ever experience.  But he even said that it’s not good for man to be alone, and then he created Eve for Adam.  We are designed to have relationships.   

And that’s what, I think, the church should be about:  relationships.  And those relationships should be built around serving each other.  When we go to church, we should be looking for opportunities to serve each other.  That should be our attitude when we go to church.  “How will I be able to help someone else?” Maybe we’ll come across an opportunity to encourage someone, to listen and be there for someone, to help someone financially, to invite someone to spend time with us, to give advice maybe.  Who knows what opportunities may arise?  And there may not be an opportunity to help someone every time.  We just need to be willing and aware. 

I think wonderful things would happen if we could get into this mindset.  And this had to be the mindset of the early church.  I mean, they sold all of their possessions and gave it to the church!  They literally depended on each other.  There is nothing like that in the church today it seems.  I’m not saying we all have to sell our possessions and give it to the church; I guess that’s a little extreme for our day.  But those early Christians had an attitude of selflessness and were more concerned about the welfare of each other. 

So maybe the answer is not to just leave the church.  Maybe the answer is to set an example; to have an attitude of service that will rub off on each other.  Maybe then church will become meaningful again.  Maybe then people won’t dread Sunday (and who said Sunday and Wednesday were the only days of the week to fellowship?).  Maybe then they won’t be so bored at church.  Maybe then more of us will discover what it really means to follow Christ outside of church.


  1. I wanted to say thanks for including me in the "Interesting Reads" on your blog! You have a precious family. Blessings!

    Brandon Chase
    Zōē Perissos - www.brandonchase.net

    1. Thank you! And thanks for visiting.

      And you know, my thoughts on church have changed a lot since I wrote this only 2 months ago. It's amazing how our paradigms can shift when we're open to finding the truth!