As I drove through our small town yesterday the Christmas tree in the town square was flashing to the beat of Christmas music and the whole atmosphere in our normally economically depressed city was transformed to a happier place. The people in our quaint town are wonderful, the politics… not so much, but we’ll not park there. The population of our entire county is roughly 7600, depending upon how many people are out of town Christmas shopping, (I’m kidding). But we are rural America at its finest and sometimes worst. I would venture a guess at the number of those 7600 who attend church as less than 1,000. I actually believe it’s far less than that, but according to an article on churchleaders.com approximately 20% of Americans attend church regularly, which would make Calhoun’s estimate at 1500. I have to wonder what they define as regularly. If by annually, then maybe. Well, that’s not very nice is it? You’ll have to forgive my cynicism, perhaps I should go back to town and check my Christmas spirit, but church attendance is a biggy on my list of Christian do’s and don’ts.
It’s like having an unlit Christmas tree. Pointless.
I’ve heard most every argument on why you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, and while that’s true, because there are many who absolutely cannot get to church and they are indeed children of God; my argument is if you can go and don’t you’re the unlit tree.
Here’s the top 10 reason people don’t go to church from AmericanPreachers.com:
Reason 1 – The church is full of judgmental people.
Are there judgmental people in every church? Probably! And let me give you my theory on why. If they’re in a church that’s preaching the gospel of Christ as it should be preached, that preacher stands before them as the brightest Christmas tree in the building and what that does is illuminate wrong living. So rather than dealing with their own err it’s easier to point out someone else’s making their own sin seem less in their eyes. Go anyway.
Reason 2 – Church is boring
You’re either in the wrong the church, or you’re there with the wrong attitude. Go anyway. The church is not for your entertainment, it’s for your edification. If you don’t like the menu in a restaurant, you find a new place to eat, you don’t starve to death! Amen?
Reason 3 – The Church is “exclusive.”
Scratch off denominationalism here. When searching for the right church for you, regardless of what name brand it is, one thing better be there “A welcome sign.” A church is your Father’s house; and if you’re not made to feel welcome, there’s a good chance you’re not home.
Reason 4 – The Church is homophobic
The bible under no uncertain terms says that homosexuality is a sin. It also says that lying, coveting, stealing, idol worship, disrespect and adultery is a sin. And there are those in every church in America. Find a church that loves people, let God deliver the message. If you truly want a relationship with the Creator, you need to position yourself in a place where His message is delivered, and that’s church, and that’s Bible. Go anyway.
Reason 5 – I don’t like organized religion
I don’t either. I like structured freedom for the Holy Spirit. Huh? Let’s face reality, there has to be some sort of organization else there’s chaos. Someone has to be in charge. So, you find the right Pastor and follow him, and then let the Holy Spirit lead. If he’s a God lead Pastor there will be freedom to worship in that place and the experience will be awesome! Go!
Reason 6 – Churches are full of hypocrites
Truth. And you’ll be one too. There isn’t anyone I know that lives a life like Christ, therefore we all are hypocrites. When we call ourselves Christians, by definition we are saying we live like Christ. No, we don’t, but we do the best we can and love each other regardless. Go anyway.
Reason 7 – The church just wants your money
Not true. But it does take money to operate a church. You have to look at it from the survival aspect: you buy food because you need it to survive, you pay for a car because it transports you from one place to another, you buy clothing because it covers you and keeps you warm, you buy things you like because they bring you pleasure. That’s what church does, only in a way that lasts an eternity.
Reason 8 – Life is better without religion
Yes. But church attendance isn’t about religion, it’s about relationship. In the very core of our being is a desire to have a relationship with the Creator and family. Church provides you both. And even if your family is dysfunctional, messed up or nonexistent, God will fill the voids in your life through His people in His place. That’s church. Go anyway.
Reason 9 – Christians live on another planet and wear brown sweaters
I so laughed when I read that, because it’s so true, until you get saved. I used to think that people who went to church every Sunday, and prayed at the altar and talked about God were just people without anything else to do, and then I became one of them. I then realized I had been missing out on the greatest experience in life – Non circumstantial living. Regardless of circumstance, God is good, I am loved, and He understands.
Reason 10 – I don’t have time
Refer to reason 6 and Commandment 9 of the big 10. You lie. In the words of my former Pastor, “You do what you want to do.” If you want a relationship with God you’ll make the time. And then a funny thing happens, you’ll discover you had far more time than imagined because God will open up doors for you to fellowship with Him that you could never have imagined.
John 1:4-5 says “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
If the light of Christ is not shining in you and through you, your tree’s not lit.
Get the point?