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Why I Choose To Go To Church

Updated on November 12, 2015
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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Many years ago, I attended a church that became increasingly legalistic. They made rules about everything from skirt lengths to whether or not mothers of young children should work. If members broke the rules, they might be reprimanded by the pastor, disfellowshipped or shunned. Many members were hurt and left the church.

These people still consider themselves Christians, but will not go to any church. They float out there, believing in God but staying away from church fellowship. I have met many other people who have left their churches because they have been judged, criticized, gossiped about, or verbally abused.

My bad experiences in church:

  • False rumors being spread about me
  • Being judged and criticized for all kinds of things both to my face and behind my back
  • Being put down for being poor or unemployed
  • Having my feelings hurt by thoughtless or stupid people who were emotionally abusive
  • Being temporarily disfellowshipped for disagreeing with questionable church policies
  • Having pastors call me on the carpet for my supposed "sins"
  • Being passed over or rejected for ministry opportunities for which I am both willing, trained, and qualified
  • Experiencing in-fighting, struggles for control, judgement, criticism, and rejection while serving in ministry

Now, looking at the list on the right, you may be thinking, why would I ever want to go to a church? The truth is that the church is full of imperfect people and some wolves in sheep's clothing. I can guarantee that every church has people who will hurt us out of ignorance or malice. In a healthy church, however, there are also many people who are loving, caring, and sincerely want to live their lives according to Christian principles.

Christians are not perfect

Some people seem to think that Christians are supposed to be perfect or near perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, for the most part, are weak, imperfect human beings striving but sometimes failing to live up to the principles in the Bible. Even the apostle Paul said he failed to do the right thing because of his human frailty no matter how hard he tried (Romans 7).

It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and dependence on God that we Christians can hope to live our lives as He did. Most Christians sincerely strive for excellence as best they can to sincerely live the Christian life.

The church’s view on hurts it has caused

Nowadays, the church has started to recognize that many people have been hurt by the church and are beginning to address these issues. For example, a new “introduction to Christianity” course called “H20” acknowledges that there are people who have been hurt by the church and apologizes for that.

Certainly, there are unhealthy churches who do harm, but many are striving to follow Christ as best they can. They make mistakes, but can admit them, institute changes, and make amends.

Do you attend church:

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Why I go to church

I do not go to church because I feel obligated as a Christian to go. I am not looking for entertainment or trying to look good in the eyes of others.

I go because I want to worship God, learn more about Him, and serve Him in the company of other believers.

Benefits of church

Learning the Christian walk: I know I can find church services and sermons on TV and online. I can play Christian worship CDs/MP3s or go on YouTube. So why should I go to church? These services may be good, but they cannot match the benefits of being in a church under the care of a pastor or a pastoral team. Effective pastors gear their sermons towards the needs of their congregation. After services, I can talk about the subject matter with fellow Christians or the pastor.

Many churches also offer events such as seminars, special speakers, or one of my favorites, food, or combination of them. These events are learning opportunities and chances for social interaction.

contemporary worship team
contemporary worship team | Source

Benefiting from corporate worship and prayer: I can worship or pray at home, but it is also inspiring and encouraging to sing and pray with a group of believers. I love the vibrant, upbeat new contemporary Christian songs and hymns that are presented in fresh new ways. I also may sing on a worship team or perform dance or a song in sign language.

Benefiting from pastoral and Christian care: There have been many times when I was in crisis that pastors and church leaders have sat in my living room and patiently listened to me go on and on about my problems. Churches and fellow Christians have provided me with financial assistance when I was unemployed. I have been helped in so many other ways by my fellow Christians from someone keeping me company during boring rounds of chemo to giving me rides to special events to helping me move to a new residence.

Building and having healthy relationships: In this busy world, it is hard to make friends and maintain relationships. Getting together seems impossible. At church, I can see my friends nearly every week and get to meet new people. When I was younger, I considered some people my mentors and tried to follow their good examples of healthy relationships and marriages.

Many churches now offer “small groups” to help people connect and grow in their faith. These groups met at various times from once a month to once a week. These groups gives people the opportunity to get to know other Christians, worship, pray, and grow in their faith and Bible knowledge.

Getting specific help: Some churches also offer groups that offer help in specific areas such as cancer, depression, addictions, or past emotional hurts. Others help people who are lonely or in crisis. The people in these programs often have specialized training in how to provide pastoral care and support.

Opportunities to serve: Some of the real highs and most satisfying experiences for me have been serving in ministries in the church - mostly as a vocalist, worship dancer, and sign language interpreter for the deaf. I am not a professional by any means and am not good enough to win any talent shows, but through the Holy Spirit, I can inspire, lead, and teach others about my Lord and spur them to love others as the scriptures say we should (Hebrews 10:24).

Dealing with the negative aspects of church

Many people leave the church after a bad experience that hurt them. In the past, I have done this, but find that it does not resolve anything. It just wrenches me away from people that I have bonded with and denies me the benefits of church fellowship.

Sometimes, I have been hurt not so much from the situation but because the church has failed to meet my expectations. In the past, I had offered my services in ministry and either was told I was not needed or was ignored. I was passed over for positions for which I was well qualified. I do talk to the people involved in the situation if I think it will help, but mostly I have learned to accept the way things are.

When things are not going well, I pray about it. I have seen many situations turn around over time. The legalistic church I spoke about earlier, for example, actually saw the error of their ways and made changes. The church has apologized to people who were hurt by its actions and has tried to make amends.

Through forgiveness, I have been freed of resentment and hurt from my bad experiences. I can enjoy the benefits of being in church without all the garbage and brokenness of past hurts.

I have also learned to develop a thick skin and do not get into a huff so easily. The Bible says that it is both wise and a blessing to overlook an offence ((Proverbs 19:11, 12:16).

Source

Concluding thoughts

I admit that there are a few people I might avoid at a church service or at Christian events because they are or seem to be judgmental, backstabbing, gossiping, or not to be trusted. I feel assured that God will deal with them in His time and I pray for them. I do not allow them to spoil the many benefits I get from attending church.

In the meantime, I plan to continue to attend a church in spite of its faults and hope that others who have been holding back will come and enjoy church with me.

© 2015 Carola Finch

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  • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

    Jennifer Mugrage 19 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

    Great Hub, very well-balanced, doesn't sugarcoat anything.

    I'm surprised no one has quoted this, so I'll say it: "If you find a perfect church, DON'T JOIN IT ... then it will not be perfect ..."

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Carola, thanks for sharing your hub. I agree with you. Before my mother died, we've looked for a church to go to with a wheelchair ramp, since she had trouble walking. The last church we went to was a decade ago, when they served communion every morning with wine and a wafer. We made friends and attended church concerts together. Since we've moved, 5.5 years ago, we had no luck. A few months after she died last year, I've found the perfect church for me, when I can wear jeans to service, since I walk the distance from my home. Everyone was nice and friendly, especially the pastor I met, when he did the last rites for my mom. She would've loved this church. I've made new friends there--some who offered me rides for winter or rain or whenever. It brings me closer to God and to my mom there. Voted up!

  • Carola Finch profile image
    Author

    Carola Finch 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks so much for your comments. I think that some people have very unreal expectations of Christians.

  • quildon profile image

    Angela Joseph 2 years ago from Florida

    Excellent hub! Many people are quick to point their fingers at Christians, calling them hypocrites, but as you said, they fail to realize that Christians are by no means perfect. We are people who recognize our need of a Savior and our need to have the support and company of like believers. I agree that some churches can be very legalistic and turn people away. I didn't come to Christ until I was in my 40s because my mother's church scared me away with all its rules. Voted up and beautiful.

  • Carola Finch profile image
    Author

    Carola Finch 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for sharing, Kathleen. I find that churches either resolve their problems eventually or show that they are clearly not a healthy place to be. Hope your church is the former.

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    When I married my husband I told him he could take me to a psychiatrist (sp?) once a week or take me to church. I needed one or the other. He opted for church, which was an easy choice as we were both raised in church. As an adult, though, I wasn't prepared for the experience of having my heart broken in church. It happens, which was surprising. What was more surprising was that God didn't automatically move me out of those situations when they happened.

    Right now I'm in an extremely political church with many sub-plots and mini-dramas going on behind the scenes. I stay for three reasons. For corporate worship, which encourages me no matter what the pastor preaches on. For my husband and I to share the experience of singing in a large choir, which is something we can do together. And for my mother-in-law, who enjoys our company at church and doesn't ask for much else from us even though she is in her 80s.

    If you are looking for a perfect church, you won't find it this side of Heaven, because churches are full of people who sin (just like me.) If you are looking for a place to worship God with fellow believers, church is the place.

    Great subject to write about for fellow church-goers. Thanks for the reading list included.

  • Carola Finch profile image
    Author

    Carola Finch 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. This hub was intended to explain my choice to become a part of a church and acknowledge how it has benefited to me. It is a response to a lot of negative comments I have heard and is not intended to guilt or push anyone to make my choices. Frankly, I feel a lot more pressure to embrace new age philosophies than I do to attend a church. I try to respect people's choices and hope they will respect mine.

  • Wrath Warbone profile image

    Terry Chestnutt 2 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

    I wish people would stop pestering about going to church. It is good to make friends with like minded people who can help and can discuss the shared interest in an informed way but we are not bad if we don't go.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

    What a wonderful hub here and full of insight. So true, all churches are full of sinners, and it is so terrible for anyone to gossip, judge and shun someone for any reason, as it is opposite to being Christ like.

    I have always loved joining a small group for friendships development, and there are always people who you can depend on to pray with you and know when you are sick or in the hospital and come visit or bring food. Best of all, we can discuss God's Word together and grow spiritually.

    I love the contemporary Christian music and enjoy praising the Lord, clapping my hands, in worship to Him with others who love the Lord God.

    Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

    God bless you

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    Although personally I abandoned church long ago and don't feel the need to connect spiritually in a crowd, I respect the wishes of others who do. I am glad that you have identified the reasons that led you from your prior church as well as back to church.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

    I agree with your reason for going to church: a desire to worship God and to fellowship with fellowship with fellow-believers. Thanks for sharing these very practical insights.

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

    Thank you for a beautiful hub. I too attend church every week. I recognize that being a Christian does not mean that I am perfect (far from it). It means that I am forgiven.