I have struggled to go to church on Sunday. I know I “should” desire to go to church even if just out of obedience. I’ve read Corinthians, Acts and Ephesians when Paul and the Apostles were giving instructions to the new Church. I’ve heard sermons on why it is important to be in church. However, there are specific reasons I stay in bed longer on Sunday mornings. These reasons aren’t hidden to me. I know what they are. I’ll illustrate some of the reasons I struggle attending church.
First, there seems to be a gap in church programming. I was active in high school youth group. I went to all the activities and even drank pop with a sock over the can. When I graduated from college and really needed a church, it was hard for me to find a small group that wasn’t actually a newly married counseling session. I couldn’t find a Bible study that fit where I was at in life. Second, I have seen Christian leaders fall. It’s hard for me to keep myself from judging the person on the stage. Third, there are so many fantastic resources online. I am always tempted to stay in bed, grab my laptop and stream a live sermon. Sometimes it seems easier to be lazy. Fourthly, I have to make an effort to create a community. If I want to have a connection with the church body, I have to do more than just show up on Sundays. I get tired of reintroducing myself. I can’t possibly be the only one thinking about these four things on a Sunday morning.
Do these four reasons sound familiar? I am sure you could add a few yourself. I’ve heard lists that include feeling ashamed, isolated, or being burned by Christians. Whatever the list is, know you are not alone.
Have you ever gone to church and the whole time you were asking yourself, “why didn’t I just stay home?” All of the reasons for staying home from church were going through my head while I was sitting in a church parking lot putting on my mascara. This was a church I was “trying out” and I met a friend there. After the service I started talking to my friend about the complaints I had about church. She shrugged it off and said, “I don’t know, I just know God really wants me a part of a church.” Having a friend, who was in the same life situation as me, was a game changer. I just needed someone like me to say God wants us to be a part of a church. God desiring us to be a part of a church should be enough of a reason to go. I realized God wanted me to be a part of a church even if I don’t feel like I have a place at church.
This sounds so simple. Can this change the awkward part of stepping into a church service?
Speaking of church services, I was in church recently, but not for a service—it was a work conference. I had been talking to a few co-workers before entering the conference. When I went to find a seat, there were no more seats left with my team. This is awkward,I thought as I stood there trying to figure out what to do next. One of my managers grabbed a chair and added a seat for me at the table. Awkward moment avoided!
Just like me not having a chair, God says, “I know it’s awkward, but you do belong here.” The enemy will create a list of reasons for you not to be in community, but God says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22). Being a part of the Church body is part of the process of becoming holy and like Christ. Does this sound like a reason to sleep in?