One of my family members wrote me tonight about her church experiences. I’m guessing she read something on my blog and wrote me in response to something I said. She wrote:
“I believe in God and I believe that Jesus was crucified so that we could all be saved, and I give thanks before most meals, but I do not attend church on a regular basis.
“I personally feel most churches are for socializing, I also feel if you don’t look or act a certain way, you are looked down upon. It’s almost like high school.
“Everyone has a different interpretation of the Bible, I’m not sure which religion is the most accurate. (I don’t think its the catholics). I thought about getting information about the Lutherans, Methodists, and other religions, but never enough time to do it all. I would rather not attend Baptist churches, had my fill when I was very young. I remember the people all looked so nice but in fact they could care less about me or my sisters for the simple fact I truly believe because we never had money to pay tithe.”
I know how she feels… About church being more like a social club and not knowing which denomination has it right when it comes to interpreting the Bible. While I never really experienced being poor and going to church, I certainly have felt the cold shoulder for not dressing right in some places I’ve gone. That truly is a shame. Of all the places a poor, or poorly clothed individual could go and feel welcome, you would think any church would be it.
For the longest time when I felt like the “church” as a whole was messed up, I stopped going to church. I didn’t stop being a Christian, but I just didn’t go to any particular church. But over time I know it wasn’t good for me to be away from it.
After having Lauren, and with Tyler getting older, I REALLY wanted them to have the positive church experiences I had as a kid. I wanted them to have good Christian friends and other Christian grown ups that would be a positive influence on them. That’s mostly why I wanted us to find something and get plugged in, so to speak.
This church we started attending has been a Godsend, truly. It is a Baptist church, and although we didn’t sign on any dotted lines to become members, we feel we have found the local church body we want to tie in with.
We not only show up on Sunday mornings, but we also usually attend Sunday nights…there’s a children’s program called AWANAS (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) and all of the kids are involved in that. They learn memory verses, do crafts/projects, play games and pray for one another.
Besides Sundays, we all attend church on Wednesdays too. They serve meals each week for a ridiculously cheap price ($7 max per family), then there’s children activities during a 30-minute prayer time. Afterwards Ty, Tyler and I play ping-pong while the kids run around. It’s a fun family time together.
Then Ty started attending the Men’s Breakfast on Tuesday mornings at 5:45 AM…yes, that early! And I started going to the Women’s Bible Study on Tuesday mornings. One of the pastor’s kids comes by and plays with Lauren & Michael while I participate in the Bible Study. It’s a small group, but I’m so thankful to be able to go.
Anyway, it seems like a lot of church when I spell it all out like this, but actually it’s not really overwhelming. It’s not like we’re sitting in a cold pew constantly being preached at. Instead we’re developing solid relationships with other Christians, discussing the Bible and praying for people. It’s very family-friendly and not at all pretentious. We love it!
I wish churches like these were easy to find. If they were, I believe more Christians would go to church. Instead it seems the churches like these are like needles in a haystack. You’re lucky if you come across one in your lifetime of hopping from church to church.
I will say though, it is worth all the searching to find something like this. If you’re struggling with finding the right church, let me encourage you to keep looking. While no church is perfect, the Bible teaches us to go to church.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherâ€”and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25
I’ll pray that God leads you to one that can meet your needs. It just thrills me to death to hear ALL of my children get excited about going to church…including Tyler. Not to mention how much Ty and I look forward to going each week.
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