Updated: Sep 18, 2018
Why go to church? That’s a question I’ve asked a few different times in my life. For some background, I've been in church ever since I was born. My parents literally took me with them every Sunday. Then one day my parents began to drift apart. My dad was working in a different town and was only home on weekends. I can remember the deacons coming to our house to find out why dad wasn't coming to church with mom anymore. Then one day, when I was 12 years old, my dad told my brother and I that he and mom were getting a divorce. Wow... I remember laying in bed and asking God why he would allow that to happen. I wondered if God really cared or even existed.
All my life I had been in church and believed that families should always stay together and I had this picture in my mind how my family was always going to be this perfect family.
Then, when I woke up one day and realized that my dad was not going to be coming home anymore.... I thought to myself.... all this time of going to church and this happened to my family.... why in the world would I want to go to church anymore? Why go somewhere where I had always trusted that God would always take care of my family... keep us together.... and now, all that was gone.
So you might say that for the next 6 years... I really went to church just to make people happy.... I really didn't care anymore. God had let me down. When I was 18 I made the decision that church was not for me anymore... I didn't need church, or God. In the meantime, I started dating who is now my wife, LaDonna. We got married when I was just 20 years old and just before I turned 22 our first son was born. By the time our second son was born 2 years later we were still not going to church anywhere and I didn't really feel the need to do so until my dad suggested we needed to at least have the kids in church. Long story short... when I suggested to LaDonna that we go to church she agreed but we differed on where to go. Where should we go to church? What church is best for us? What denomination is the right denomination? And so the questions went.
Then if finally happened.... We went.... We found.... and We learned. Let me explain that to you in 5 Reasons You should stop going to church.
Fine print: I’m not telling anyone to cut ties with a local church that’s following Christ together. But, today is as good a day as any to stop just going to church and to start being the Church instead. I’ll explain.
Reason No. 1 to stop going to church: Your schedule is full. You’re raising kids, making friends, trying to figure out marriage, work, health, and finances. Who has time to go one more place?
Reason No. 1 to start being the Church: We’re living life to the fullest. When we gather, whether in large groups in our buildings or in small groups in our homes, we regularly apply God’s life-changing truth to raising kids, loving our neighbors, marriage, work, health, and finances. Our schedules are too full to just go to church. We don’t just have full lives—we’re living our lives to the fullest. That means when we gather and when we go out, we need to start living like church is not just a place we go, but the Church is who we are.
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Reason No. 2 to stop going to church: You go digital. Why go to church if you could just listen to a podcast, watch a live stream, or read something on your phone?
Reason No. 2 to start being the Church: The world is going digital. Now is not the time for the Church to abandon the web. Jesus went where people are, and the internet is where people are. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing. Through technology like Live Streaming, podcasts, and Bible-based content online, the local church can reach the world. We’re not doing this instead of getting together, the Church can reach people online because we get together.
Reason No. 3 to stop going to church: It gets weird. Churches have some weird people. They smile at you. They seem to want to get to know you. They give their money and time to help and serve at church and in their communities. Nobody can just be that nice, right? They might think differently from you, or they might even be really similar to you. It can be hard to tell, but weird people alone are a reason to stop just going to church.
Reason No. 3 to start being the Church: We’re all weird. Our church is weird because it’s made of people. And let’s be honest—we’re all weird in some way or another. That’s okay though, because last we checked, normal isn’t working very well for anyone. Like Jews and Gentiles in the early Church, the differences that make us weird might just be the reason we all fit together. Our church is going somewhere because we we’re all weird, broken, forgiven people with ridiculous faith who found God’s amazing grace. You know what else is weird? Just going to church without being a part of it.
Reason No. 4 to stop going to church: It’s a fight. People at church are always fighting things. Fighting addictions, fighting for marriages, fighting for neighborhoods, fighting despair, even fighting suicidal thoughts.
Reason No. 4 to start being the Church: We don’t fight alone. Life’s too much of a fight to just go to church. People in our churches don’t fight against emptiness, depression, addiction, suicide, anxiety, fear, food disorders, family issues, and marriage problems alone. We fight together with power. In our lobbies, in our LifeGroups, and when we huddle to serve, we find the people who’ll fight for us, and the Church becomes a family worth fighting for.
Reason No. 5 to stop going to church: Honestly, church is not some place you can just “go to.”Churches will at some point ask you to serve your community, help with kids, get to know other people, even help other people, welcome people, invite your friends, give, mentor someone, and tell others about Jesus.
Reason No. 5 to start being the Church: We don’t go to church—we are the Church, and we’re going somewhere. At Living Life Church, we say, “We’re not spiritual consumers. We’re spiritual contributors. We are the Church and we exist for the world.”
Why start being the Church? Because God asked us to. Because believing God’s Word and not doing it is not a good combo. Because the world needs the Church: real people like you, who will follow Jesus into chat rooms, communities, jobs, family rooms, coffee shops, and yes, into church buildings.
Okay, are you ready to stop just going to church and start being the church? At LLC we love to host events to help people like you learn more about how to find a place to belong at Living Life Church. We’d love to see you there.