I really love my church. Sadly, the majority of people in America probably couldn't say the same. They either don't go, don't want to go, find it boring, hypocritical or judgmental. You name it, I've heard it. Why is this?
People don't understand what the church is.
The church is not a building with a steeple and a bunch of pews. That is just the traditional, architectural design for most religious buildings so people can tell the difference between a church location and the local movie theater. (Although, some churches are now meeting in movie theaters!) The church is a body of believers. We can have "church" in my living room. And we do, on occasion.
People don't understand why the church exists.
Sunday, Monday and Wednesdays are some of my favorite days of the week. Simply because I get to hang out with my church family. Sunday we all gather together in three services in our church "building" located off of I-84 East (it can hold more people than my living room). This is where we sing songs of praise to God, hear testimonies from those being baptized, watch videos that make us laugh, cry or think and listen to our pastor as he teaches us the word of God and how it applies to our lives in 2011. The service usually lasts a little over an hour.
On Mondays (or any day the group decides on), we break into small groups of 15-20 people and meet at a friend's home. Here we share prayer requests, get "real" with each other and dig deeper in the Bible. Sometimes we even enjoy an outing together - meet for dinner at a restaurant, see a movie, bonfire, game night, etc.
The church building on Wednesdays is reserved for children and youth. My husband is the student pastor at our church, so I spend most of my time hanging out with the students in 7th-12th grade. I love it! I began to really grow in my faith when I was in the 10th grade, so I have a heart for that age. Wednesday nights are almost completely student led at this point - the band, lights, sound, videos, games and announcements are all done by them. Josh gets up to teach and that's pretty much it. The reason we do this is to allow the students a venue to use those gifts and talents that God has given them. If they can do it in front of 60-100 people every week in a building, its a good start to reaching their circle of friends at school.
People don't understand how the church functions.
Meeting every week in a building doesn't make anyone a Christian. It's the message that changes lives. Sadly, the only place some people ever hear this message is inside a church building. But then again, none of the other stuff that happens in the building makes sense if you don't know Jesus. Dilemma? It seems so. As long as there are people going to church without knowing the purpose the whole thing is centered around, it will leave them bored, empty and most importantly lost - because they feel as though they're missing out on something that seems to be pretty obvious. Plain and simple, they are. And so are we. And you.
So, why don't you go to church? Hopefully if you fall into one of the categories above, something has been said to help you think differently about what the church is, why it exists and how it functions. And I pray that instead of steeples and fancy clothes, you'll see lives saved by grace. And then you'll love it.