|Photo Credit: AndrewH.uk|
Last Sunday as our family left the church building, my heart raged within me. Fighting back tears of shame, anger, and disappointment, I wondered why we even bother going to church. Surely an at-home family devotional would be better for us given the season we’re in.
With three girls ages 4, 2, and 6 months, our family is loud, dramatic, and high energy. We spend the majority of most worship services keeping the 4 year old from bothering her sister, shushing the 2 year old, and entertaining the baby. Honestly, I haven’t heard a full sermon in years!
So, this past Sunday, after all three children disturbed the entire congregation with their crying, whining, even flat out screaming, I began to question my reasons and motives for attending church at all.
Why Do We Go To Church?
1. To worship God, to give Him the praise and glory He deserves
When I asked my 4 year old this morning why we go to church, I was humbled by her response: “To worship God!” She had been listening the 100 times I had taken her out of service to discipline her and explain that concept to her. But worship is the number 1 reason we go to church: to humble ourselves and acknowledge He alone is worthy of praise.
“Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.”
Yes, I can worship God at home, in the car, at the store, wherever. But what better time and place is there to worship the Creator of the Sabbath than on Sunday, with my fellow saints?
In addition, my children need to know that we go to church not to color pictures or see our friends but to give God glory in our singing, praying, listening, and worshipping in our hearts. Unless we are actively participating in and attending church, our children cannot and will not learn how to worship.
2. To take communion with the body of Christ
When I break bread and drink the fruit of the vine with other Christians, I am united with them in the great sacrifice Christ made for us. Together, we recall how Christ’s body was broken and His blood shed to take away our sins. Together, we remember and give thanks.
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
I Corinthians 10:16-17
At our church we take communion every Sunday. Thus, we have many opportunities to share the Gospel with our curious young children. Communion provides the perfect time to explain what the grape juice and bread represent, why we take it, how it should be taken, and when they will be able to participate too.
With our oldest daughter, we give her money each week from her chores, a portion of which she is expected to give back to God. In this way, we are teaching her that all we have comes from God, an important lesson for a child who believes everything is hers.
3. To encourage my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ (and in turn to be encouraged myself).
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching!”
It is because of the challenges of going to church that I go. I crave the encouragement and love of my church family. Fellowship with other like-minded believers keeps me pressing on toward the goal because I know I am not alone in the trials I am facing.
4. To partake of the Bread of Life
Even if I don’t hear an entire sermon because the baby’s hungry or the toddler needs my attention, I pick up bits and pieces of God’s Word throughout worship that pierce my heart and put me in the right frame of mind.
I need to remember that the physical needs I have–for food, clothes, peace & quiet–will never give me the fullness of life I desire. Only through partaking of the Bread of Life will I be filled spiritually for eternity.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.'”
I go to church because I crave Jesus. I want to know more about Him. I want to learn how I can love Him more. Our church offers wonderful Bible classes for both children and adults, so while our kids are singing BIble songs and hearing God’s Word in their own classes, my husband and I are also partaking of the Bread of Life with other men and women in our own class.
Nothing satisfies spiritual hunger like Jesus.
5. To remind myself and teach our children that “It’s not all about me”
In this me-centered world where entertainment is god, churches are not the place people flock to because, well, churches usually are not fun. While church can and should be enjoyable, what’s important is that we remember life isn’t all about meeting my wants and needs right now.
“Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.'”
We aren’t here on this earth to be entertained and enjoy life. We are here to worship God and glorify Him in our lives. That requires sacrifice, commitment, and a life of service, three words this world smirks at.
But it’s not about me; it’s about Him.
So, What Does All This Mean?
- even though going to church is hard right now, and
- even though I feel like we are only a disruption to others by our presence, and
- even though I want to crawl in a hole after every single worship service, and
- even though I don’t always feel encouraged or uplifted when I leave,
I believe going to church IS worth it. To my kids, my husband, the entire body of believers, and especially to me.
In particular, as a parent of three young children, I have a great responsibility to those souls who do not yet know the Lord. It’s not about me; it’s about Him.
What about you? What reasons do you have for going to church even when it’s hard?