Why We Go to Church
My three year old son is in the asking why phase of childhood. Whether it’s asking him to eat lunch, turn off the t.v., or go potty his response to every given order is, “But, why?”. This past Sunday morning, after explaining to him why he needed to get dressed and why he needed to eat breakfast, I informed him we were going to church. His immediate response was to ask why.
I paused and pondered how I would respond to my inquisitive three year old. In that moment it was like my whole spiritual life flashed before my eyes. It was like he had inadvertently asked a deep philosophical question I was less prepared to answer than I realized.
There’s not one right answer to this question, but there are more right or less right answers. So, I’d like to share a few of the things going though my head as I stood before my three year old philosopher.
Reasons I go to church
Two things immediately popped in my head. The first reason I thought of was for friends and fellowship. I love seeing individuals I care for and who care about me on Sunday mornings. Friends are a weekly reminder that I matter in the universe and they remind me that I also matter to God.
But, it’s not enough to go to church on a weekly basis to see friends. I could also join any local club or organization to see friends on a weekly basis. So, I knew I had to think of something more.
So, the second reason I thought of was to connect with God at church. There is a special kind of spiritual fill-up a person can receive on a Sunday morning while seeking God with a large group of fellow God-seekers. But, there is a major problem with this I did not wish to pass on to my three year-old.
Sunday morning is NOT the place we primarily know and connect with God. We should pray to, and praise, and connect with God on a daily basis. It’s the same way a marriage wouldn’t stay healthy very long if a couple ignored each other all week and only talked during a weekly date night. Relationships are built daily. I do not attend Sunday morning to connect with God, as if it’s the only time of my week I’m allowed to do so.
I turned to give my three year old a slightly more complex answer only to realize he had already lost interest in his deep question and had returned to eating his cheerios.
So, I’ll tell you my answer. I would have told him that there is something special about the opportunity to connect with God and others on a Sunday morning. Although we get to connect with God all throughout the week, church is a special opportunity to connect with God we get to do each week.
Also, I would add in that Sunday morning is not all about what I receive from God and others. As a follower of Jesus I also receive from God as I give to others, so Sunday morning is also an opportunity for me to truly become more like Christ by serving others in his name.
What about you?
Why do you attend church each week? Or for that matter, why do you not attend church each week. Maybe for some you attend because it’s a habit. Maybe for others it’s all about friends. Or you attend because it’s your weekly “date night” with God and your empty and exhausted soul spits and sputters, starving for some sort of fill up each week. I think this question is so important because it speaks to our view of God Himself and how we view our friendship with Him.
This coming Sunday, think about why you attend church.