Why We Need To Go To Church (Part Two)
Here are the rest of the reasons I'd choose to go to church, even if I didn't HAVE to go.
Sharing The Load
The funniest joke in the world isn't funny at all if you don't have someone to tell it to. Part of going to church is the sharing of our lives. We pray for each other. We lift each other up. The concerns of our lives weigh down on us like an iron harness. We put one of these on and then are asked to go swimming. Being a part of a church means there are others there to help lift you up, help hold you study while you pull the harness off and hand it to God. Likewise you are there to hold up the next person, to “bear each other's burdens” as the scriptures teach us. The same holds true for our celebrations. Aren't the joyous moments of your life better when they are shared? What's the first thing you want to do when something wonderful happens? You want to share it with someone. Church is the place where can we share each other's celebrations and concerns.
Behold Your Future
It may sound scary but you are a role model. So is every other adult in your congregation. Your students are constantly watching. They are studying. Whether they are aware of it or not they are looking to the members of the church to guide them and show them what it's like to be an adult. They need someone to show them what it is like to be a Christian. Your church is full of mentors. Use them. Train them. Your students will show up for the affirmation and advice they get from the adults who mentor them.
That Whole “Body of Christ” Thing
Everybody has a gift. Church is about using the gifts together for God. We are hands, feet, eyes, ears, and all the other parts. Being a part of the body of Christ means being there to do your part. If you say “I am a Christian” then there's a need for you to be there the same way the body needs the feet when it's time to stand, and the fingers and the mouth when it's time to eat Ben & Jerry's. Add to this the idea that maybe God can use the church to answer our prayers.
We can stand alone on the beach and watch the sun go down every night and ask for God's help with a problem or difficult time. We can ask every day and wonder why God is not doing anything. God gave us the church. We can find the answers to those concerns in the church. The church is also the opportunity for God to use us to answer the prayers of someone else.
You ARE The Church
We learned that in the Vacation Bible School song. You are the church. The church is not bricks and stained glass. The church is US. We are the Church. Why should teens participate in the church? Why should they only participate in their own lives? Some are content to let their lives just coast; they will follow along and follow the crowd. They will let the world affect their lives rather than the other way around. Now imagine that we really believe it when we say WE are the church. We can let it affect us. We can coast along. Or we can BE the church and make it happen. We can become all of those things that we want the church to be.
But it won't happen if we are alone. It will only happen if we become participants in the church. It will only happen if as we grow, so does the church. As we grow closer to God, so does the church. As we seek advice and mentor those who follow us, so does the church. As we become a part of the body of Christ in the church, so the church becomes a part of the body in the world.
Tony Campolo said we are defined by our commitments. If we believe nothing, if we support nothing, then we will feel like and be a part of nothing. If we commit ourselves to the church, we can define ourselves as part of the body of Christ. We can define ourselves as creations of a Creator God. We can feel loved, supported, and part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Church is more than the minister and the choir. Church is more than the bricks and mortar. Church happens. It is a verb—not a noun. It drives us and welcomes us. It carries us and entrusts us. Staying in bed on a Sunday morning does not lift us, embolden us, comfort us, or dance with us. What we need to get through this life…what we really, really need is church.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.