There’s an old joke about the woman who, early on a Sunday morning, calls into the bedroom, “Get up, Sweetie, it’s time to get ready for church . . . .”
The reply, “Awww, do I have to go to church today? Can’t I skip this once?”
“Come on, . . . you know it’s good for you . . . .”
“But I don’t feel like it!
“It doesn’t make any difference, Honey. You’re the pastor!! Now get up and get going!”
Do you ever wonder about your reasons for going to church on a given Sunday? For the ministerial staff it can become something that has to be done because that’s what they get paid for. It’s a shame when it gets to that point. The truth of the matter is that sometimes it comes to exactly that . . . because they’re human. Hopefully, there is more often a clear sense of commitment to their Lord and their calling. But, what about you?
- For many, hopefully most, Christians it’s for all of the “good” reasons: Love for Jesus and His people, worship, study of His Word, to reach out and minister to others in the church and community. Additionally, personal reasons may be very spiritually healthy and helpful.
- Churches have been found in many forms since the time the apostles first began getting together with the first believers. Home gatherings, large groups, “where two or three are gathered together in my name,” formal, spontaneous, structured, impromptu . . . lots of different ways that you see the the parts of Christ’s body get together. People have gone to gatherings of the church for good reasons: fellowship, worship, encouragement, education.
- There are, no doubt, many for whom church is a great source of information about the Bible, support and moral education. People who have gone through a crisis experience usually survive better and recover faster when they have a good social support group. Family is ideally the first line of support, but many people have no family that is close to them geographically. Maybe they have family close, but they don’t have a family they’re close to emotionally. The church family may be their only family for a number of reasons. The fellowship and encouragement the church family provides, whether a physical or emotional need, is very important. And those wanting to grow spiritually by learning what the Bible talks about and how to apply it in daily life appreciate the time with other Christians who are like-minded.
Lots of reasons for going to church and lots of forms of churches. Not all are admirable!
- Unfortunately, there are those for whom church attendance is a way of avoiding conflicts. You’ve no doubt seen the man who goes to church to keep his wife calmed down so she won’t complain and nag at him. He says she does it “all the time.” She says she’s only reminding him of his responsibilities as the “spiritual leader” of the home. Or maybe he doesn’t want his kids to beg and plead with him about going to church. So he goes just to avoid the conflict.
- For some, it’s been a matter of appearance. Attending church has provided an air of acceptability and social approval. In the past, it’s been an evidence of quality that helped politicians get votes. It’s not unusual for that to surface when we get near an election day. What religion is s/he? Will their allegiance to their church hierarchy supersede their oath of office? Church attendance for politicians may increase when they start campaigning.
- People entangled in legal issues have had neighbors express bewilderment because of the accused’s history of attending church. “But he has been a leader in his church for years. I would have never thought him capable of doing that.” Ever been surprised by some faux pas a person you know committed, and though not a legal problem, you were amazed that they did something you never believed they would do? So why were they involved in church if that was their nature? Of course, even the best of Christians make mistakes. Being committed to God does not keep anyone from being human.
- Some are just worried about what others would think if they didn’t go to church. Fear of imagined comments being exchanged behind her back about others thinking she’s such a nice woman. “So if she is, why doesn’t she go to church somewhere?”
Lots of ways to worship and fellowship. Lots of reasons for going to meet with a body of believers close to you. Church Harmony is affected by the reasons people attend church. When it becomes more important to look good or satisfy others than to worship and invest in people, factions and discontent may surface.
So think about these: Why do you go to church? Is it a way to avoid conflict? Or has it become a decoration that you’re able to wear to make yourself look good to others? What do you need to do to make it the place of worship and fellowship that connects you with God?
Examine yourself in God’s light and be resolved to be the person that pleases Him. Don’t do it because of what others say or might think something that bothers you. Be the person He wants. Isn’t that always the best you can be? It makes church a place of meaning, not appearance. And it becomes a place where harmony is seen.
If your church isn’t a comfortable place of worship and fellowship, or if there are conflicts and turmoil, contact Ken Sneed for a free consultation to see what options there are for resolution in your church by clicking on the “How I Can Help” button at the top of the home page on this web site.