I got another call last week. Someone needed help with rent, medicine, food, etc. Oh, I don’t mean to sound uncaring; as a pastor, I see a lot of hungry and troubled folks here in the Sidney area. In responding to these calls, I always ask the caller one major question: “Where do you go to church?” Almost always, their answer is, “I don’t go to any church. Why do I need to?”
All Christian pastors have had to deal with this issue. These days, many people wonder why anybody would get dressed up on a Sunday morning and drive to a stuffy old building, sing 300-year-old songs and listen to someone preach words and ideas from an “antiquated” book – especially when you can, wearing your pajamas, watch the same thing at home on your laptop! A lot of people these days haven’t known the benefits of being a part of a church. So, in the tradition of David Letterman’s Top Ten list, here are the top 6 reasons why people should go to church.
6) You feel a “hole” in your life that you can’t explain. It turns out that it’s a “God-sized” hole that can be filled only by the Lord. He’s the one who put it there, and He’s the one who calls you to find a church. Go to the church where you hear His voice. It’s eternally important!
5) Churches are full of loving, caring people. In fact, we call a congregation our church “family.” This is where we make lifelong connections; it’s where each person is loved, celebrated and accepted, where we truly belong, warts and all. And this is where you find that all of your mistakes and shames you’ve been living with are forgiven. That’s why Jesus came as a human, and it’s positively liberating!
4) Those who attend church are lifted up in prayer. Whether you’re sick, broke, in jail, worried about the future – whatever your circumstance, faithful prayer warriors speak to God on your behalf. He hears every prayer. And I’ve seen amazing blessings come with His answers!
3) Your faith becomes an important part of who you are. Scripture says that faith grows only in hearing the gospel (the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ). Where else are you going to hear that but in church?
2) Your life becomes filled with opportunities to make a difference in the world! People who love and follow Jesus yearn to serve Him in caring for one another, feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting those in prison. Your heart’s delight is no longer wealth or a movie star or a political leader. It’s Jesus Christ, because you see all the wonderful things He has orchestrated in your life. You are becoming truly transformed!
And the Number 1 Reason why you should go to church:
You can’t wait to come and join other Christians to worship and serve the Lord. The Bible suddenly makes sense, and you continually see God answering your prayers. And for the first time in your life, you live in immeasurable peace, because Jesus has revealed Himself and His salvation to you; He is the only way to salvation. He has called your name. He embraces you with an everlasting love, and He will never let you go. Our lives will never be perfect, but in a church, you’ll always have Someone walking with you; He alone has the power to heal, protect and provide, in abundance!
So, if you are struggling and can’t seem to find hope in your future, you may have a God-sized hole in your life. My advice to you is simple: Listen. Open a Bible and hear how the Creator of the universe may be calling you. The Lord has been waiting for this very moment to transform you and lead you to a loving church where Christ’s servants are waiting to welcome you into His family! There you will find that finally, you’ve found Home. And it’s Jesus.
The writer is the pastor at Sidney First Presbyterian Church.