Do We Have To Go To Church? 4

For a short time I was out of the pastor’s role. My family and I had no church home. We got up on Sunday morning asking ourselves what church we were going to go to that day. Some mornings it was difficult to be enthusiastic about going to any church.  Although this time lasted only a few months, we found it surprisingly easy to ask what time the game would be on that day and adjust our schedule accordingly. Some churches we liked; some that we liked presented other problems; others we knew we wouldn’t attend again. But during those months our family learned an important lesson: under grace, people choose to attend worship. And, of course, that means they can choose not to. When we finally settled on a church, we attended more or less regularly.

I will confess that we found a very large church in our community and sat in the back.  We had been pretty well beat up.  We just wanted to find a place to worship God without all the #@*%.  We were welcomed with kindness and allowed to maintain as much distance as we wanted.  I have known the pastor for well over 20 years and he didn’t push anything on us.  He just loved us.  It was great!

We enjoyed worshiping at our new church. We appreciated the teaching. Our hearts were drawn to the Lord. Our boys enjoyed attending with us. In general, worshiping at our new church was a very good experience. So it was easy for us to attend. But what if it wasn’t? Would we have attended if, in the morning, we found ourselves dreading the event? I doubt it. With no preacher to remind us of the “dangers” of our delinquency, and with our understanding of God’s love and grace, we were free to choose whether or not to attend a worship service. This in no way violated the scriptural admonition for us to continue to meet with other believers. Most of our friends are believers and we enjoyed many facets of church life and gathering.




Filed under Church, grace, Legalism

2 responses to “Do We Have To Go To Church? 4

  1. graceandgiggles

    Such interesting stuff Dave! Church has been a bone of contention for me. On levels and facets I’m probably not even aware of. My mother tells me of a story, that I do not personally recall. I was about 12 or 13 years old. My mother, siblings and I were attending a church for a few years after my parents separated. She and I were sitting in the pew (before service I presume), when I said (in all my teenage angst, anger and bewilderment), “Why do we even come to this place?” And my mother remembers the older gentleman in front of us, turning around slowly, peering over his shoulder at us, with that look in his eye that couldn’t even believe I could say such a thing.

    My mom shared that story with me just a couple of years ago, and emotions rushed through me that I didn’t know what to do with. I felt anger towards this man, as if he knew the falling out of my Christ believing family. I felt utter sadness for my childhood self. And I felt shame for my mom. As if being a divorced woman in the early 80’s wasn’t hard enough, she had to have an angry, vocal rebel for a daughter.

    There very well could be a time in my life here on earth when I attend a church regularly. But until then, I will seek to know God more and more each day.

    • Oh no! It’s THE GLARE! Beware children – it’s coming for you!
      I can just picture this happening. If it hadn’t hurt your mom, it would be funny. But the point is that it was meant to hurt. He probably thought he was doing something righteous. How very sad!
      Yep, I can see why going to church would become a negative…

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