I have gone to church my whole life.
Presently, I work at one. I’m a student pastor. Have been for 17 years.
After all this time, I’ve decided to never go to church again for these four reasons. You shouldn’t go to church either for these reasons:
- You should never go to church again if you think it fixes everything. Meeting Jesus (which hopefully happens when you’re around the church) doesn’t always fix everything. In some cases, it makes life more difficult. Peter spent his days fishing before he met Jesus. After they started hanging out, he got beat up all over the Roman empire. His life situation didn’t exactly improve. He had more stress, not less. It might be the same for you. So don’t go if you think it automatically fixes stuff.
- You should never go to church again if you think it entitles you to certain privileges. Some people stay involved and give a lot of money so that they can complain more or throw their weight around to get what they want. That’s not a good reason to go to church. It’s not exactly a good reason to go any place, come to think of it. Because there are a lot of nice people at churches, some will enable you in your manipulation. But if this is why you go, you might want to consider just staying home.
- You should never go to church again if you think everyone there is perfect. They’re not. They will disappoint you the same as everyone else in the rest of the world. The church has gossips and adulterers and all the rest. Have you read the New Testament? It was written to churches. Lots of issues there. Don’t go expecting perfection. You will be majorly bummed.
- You should never go to church again because you aren’t supposed to go to church, you’re supposed to be the church. That doesn’t mean you should never gather with the rest of the church, it just means that the flawed thinking that you go to a church gets your whole theology of church off on the wrong foot.
I hope you’ll be a part of a church. I will continue to be. But not because it’s always easy, entitles me to stuff, or is populated by perfect angels. In fact, going isn’t really the point at all. Being is. And I’m glad I get to be a part of the struggle that comes from following Jesus with a bunch of people who don’t have it all figured out. When we gather, it’s not to take — it’s to give: words of encouragement, hugs and high fives, shared wisdom, and common mission.
There are four reasons not to go to church, but here is one big reason why belonging to The Church is the best decision you’ll ever make:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22, ESV
The Church — the people, not the building — is together a holy temple for the Lord. We are “fellow citizens and saints” in this beautiful, messy household. We’ve shed our skin of stranger and alien and been clothed with a new identity that has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the great love of Jesus.
Even with all our imperfections, who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?