Why go to Church?

When I was 14 I had the privilege of going to a small church plant in my hometown in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. The eight years that I spent there were some of the most formational years of my life. The reputation of this church in the community was really spoken by what they called it, “The Ghetto Church”. Our Church was filled with crack-heads, vice presidents, homeless people, CEO’s, felons and teachers. When I was older I was able to express some of my gifts through the youth group by putting on youth outreach concerts for our youth group. It was filled with staunch Republicans and extreme liberals. It was a great example of what happens when the Church, or at least the Church leadership decides that the mission of the Church exists for the World and to serving each other.

During the ten years since I first started going to that Church, I have also had run in’s with people who have burned me with their “Spiritual Authority”, or groups of peer’s who wouldn’t allow me into fellowship because of my love for broken people, or because my doctrine wasn’t similar to theirs, or I wouldn’t stand for their petty power games. In their defense, my own “rebellion” was probably at times more for my ego than actually against their stances.

I have also been to Churches where I have been deeply disturbed by what they said and what they did. I spent several weeks where the Pastor proclaimed that the Church needed to condemn John Piper because he was a “flaming liberal”. They said Billy Graham was going to hell because of his association with the heretics and outsiders of their faith. So when people tell me why they don’t want to go to or be apart of the Church, I understand it and at times, I am with them. Because, unfortunately I know the pain that Christians can cause. I also see why being apart of Church can actually separate you from God when this community makes you more angry and more detached from the mission God has called us from.

The Church is going through a rapid change and a rapid polarization. My hope is that we can learn to be less and less for our own “Holy Colony” and are willing to accommodate the universal Church. I also don’t want people to lose their own individual identity but not demean the identity of others. The Church in Acts had these problems but were able to allow the Jewish Christians to be Jewish and the Gentile Christians to be Gentiles, but, they served the universal Church and the universal Mission of God. This is Church at its best, when we can keep our own identity, respect others while being in relationship with them and serve the Mission of God for the world.

Why do you go to Church?

Why keeps you from going to Church?

What do you think Church should look like?


5 thoughts on “Why go to Church?

  1. jenion says:

    You’ve pretty much encapsulated my reasons for not going to church – I have a difficult time finding a church that is both liberal and principled. I don’t believe every belief/thought is equally valid, but I DO err on the side of compassion and understanding rather than condemnation. I do believe the human soul will only emerge in environments where it feels safe to show itself, and many church environments are unsafe in that they are too likely to pounce on emergent ideas rather than to nurture and guide and dialogue. Its not that I don’t think positive church communities exist, its just that, in my experience, they’re not that easy to find. AND they require exceptional leadership, something which most theological/pastoral preparation programs don’t really encourage due to their focus on doctrinal conviction.

    On the flip side, why go to church? Because it may be the best hope for creating social justice, supporting individual spiritual fulfilment, for realizing true community. Especially in the sense of Universal Church you mention.

  2. Steph says:

    You forgot to mention the pro-gambler, ex-mobster and prostitutes at “the ghetto church”! Very good post, Mike.

  3. Rick Garner says:

    Part of our problem with the Church is that we expect too much of it. We expect to be treated a certain way, hear and see certain things, and ultimately be comfortable. Church shouldn’t be about our comfort. We should be wanting to learn more about God, serve others, and grow.

    Church should never be about whether it’s too big or small, too conservative or liberal…church should be about Biblical truth being shared, worship being experienced, and bonding with fellow believers.

    If the Bible isn’t studied, there’s too much room for opinion and cultural distractions to water down a message. If one doesn’t feel they can freely worship and everyone is sitting on their bums, what good is that? And if one cannot connect with people through small groups, again, they are missing out the ultimate chance to have support and growth in the Body.

  4. Josh says:

    My pastor just spoke along some of the interacting lines of this blog. He articulated well some of the changes we all hope for in the church at large.

    Check out this link to hear it: http://tinyurl.com/3nhk9xm

  5. haha I don’t go to church right now because it gets in the way of my family day. We tend to be out at the lakes or biking when church is happening. And to me church is more about the people – and we hang out with plenty o Christians.

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