Why Am I Going to Church Today?

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           September 4, 2016

                                

The Pew Research Center recently released findings that gave insights into what the most important factors are for people who are looking for a new church to worship at. The research says that about half of all American adults have looked for a new place to worship some time in their life, most often because of a move to a new living location.

The two most important factors in determining a new place of worship were the quality of the sermon (83%) and feeling welcomed by the leaders of the church (79%). 

    Style of the worship service (74) and location (70%) were the next two most important factors.

Since I’m speaking at a small American Baptist Church in a small town forty-five minutes east of Colorado Springs this question has relevance for the twenty people who attend. In fact, last Sunday one of the church leaders asked me why I thought people who visited the church a couple of times didn’t keep coming? They are wonderful people with limited resources, and I enjoy being with them each Sunday. In fact, I’ve traveled out to worship with them a couple of Sundays when I wasn’t speaking.

So it got me thinking! Why am I going to church today? Why do I go there even on Sundays when I have no worship leadership responsibilities? Being now a retired pastor, going to church on Sunday is not something that I HAVE to do, but rather choose to do.

But why?

I could easily list the reasons that don’t apply. For instance, it isn’t because of the donuts. There are no donuts, although it seems that a pan of brownies or a freshly-baked cake seem to show up just about every Sunday for the post-worship fellowship time. It isn’t because of the music, because the music is not very good…okay, it’s bad! A machine that plays background organ music, but half the time we are not singing the right notes. We’re like an elementary school choir with no practice! Screech!!!!

It isn’t because of the accommodations. The building is one hundred plus years old and does not inspire worship. It isn’t because of the other programs of the church. There are none! (That might actually be a positive for a retired pastor whose churches always had numerous programs!)

So why do I enjoy…in fact, feel drawn to go there each Sunday?

First of all, it’s the people! They aren’t sophisticated. They are just salt of the earth kind of folk. Everyone is loved and everyone is appreciated. They range in age from 3 to 90, from a former county commissioner to farmers with large herds of cattle. Last Sunday I was given a bag of just-picked corn to take home. The communion table has a plate of wheat grain on it that is from one of the farming families. Simple folk who love the Lord and love one another.

Second, I’m drawn there each Sunday because of the peace I experience. Peace is underrated! I can’t think of a day in the past few months of the presidential election campaign when there hasn’t been some kind of accusation or disparaging remark made. We come to a point where we think being insulting, demeaning, and obnoxious is normal behavior. I think we long for peace but have a hard time recognizing that we are peace-deficient in our lives. When I go to this small church I experience peace. For me, it is the Protestant equivalent of spending retreat time with the Sisters of the Benedictine Order convent, a time of drawing to the side and experiencing the warmth of God.

Finally, I’m drawn there because of the preparation. That is, it is a time of being prepared for a new week. In my life right now every week has a bit of uncertainty to it. Last week included three days of substitute teaching. This coming week presently only includes one day of that. Come Monday night or early Tuesday morning that could change instantly. There’s afternoon football practices and writing ideas to pursue. Sunday prepares me- calms me, if you will- for the uncertainty of what is to come.

People, peace, and preparation…I didn’t mean to make it three “P’s”…okay, yes I did! Pew Research has its research and I have my reasons.

The sad thing is that the church I travel to has had some conversations about whether they should close or not. What hits me is that I urgently need to share with them the reasons they shouldn’t, that they are making an incredible difference that they may not realize!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Faith, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: