Thursday, March 4, 2010

I was reading a list of top 10 reasons people skip church. Here are some highlights.
  • 10. I’ve been thinking Id like to go to church. But I don’t know anyone. And I don’t know what to do, where to go, what to expect when I get there.
  • 8. There are so many denominations ... even Christians cant agree among themselves about what the Bible means.
  • 6. Church is for good people who haven’t messed up. You don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done.
  • 4. I don’t need to go to church. I can worship God, even when I’m fishing/ hiking/ surfing.
  • 2. I don’t have time. Sunday morning is the only day I can sleep late.
  • 1. People in churches are hypocrites. (Or: You wouldn’t believe what a Christian did to me!)
There are lots of reasons people don't come to church; even those who say they belong to a church don't go but rarely. A big part of it is relationships. People go where they are known, loved, and welcomed. Too often the church gets in the way, rather than reflecting the love of Christ. Perhaps the church isn't reflecting the real need for hope, love, and healing that our culture and community are so desperately seeking.
For those who have no church, I think it's a communication or perception issue as much as anything. People don't know what happens inside those large grey walls. Ignorance is filled in with mistrust and weariness. People think that the people who have it all figured out (or think they do) are in there, so that's not a place for them. They know how messed up their lives, and families are. The reality, however, is that God is specifically looking for the broken, the lost, the poor, and those who mourn. The church is filled with broken people. The difference is the hope inside, that sustains, and heals rather than the hopelessness and brokenness of the world.
I don't know if you have seen the signs around your neighborhood. Big billboards along the 8 freeway said for a time, "Don't Believe in God? You're not alone." I thought about it for a second, and came up with my own slogan. "Don't believe in God? Then we are ALL alone." In God, and the example of his son Jesus Christ I find a source of unquenchable love, and infinite hope. Inside the church, I find a people who are seeking what I am, an ever closer relationship and trust in that divine love and hope. Give up your list of excuses, and start remembering why church is important. There is no better time than now.
God Bless

Pastor John

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