A conversation while doing my five year old’s hair before church Sunday morning prompted reflection. (She refers to Sunday School as “school”) The conversation went as follows:
My 5 year old: “Mommy, I no like school. I don’t want to go today.”
Me: “You love school, you silly.”
5 year old: *Giggles* “Yep! I do. But you don’t, do you mommy? But you use to when you were a little girl like me, right?”
I stood there doing her hair, speechless. She was right. I was trying hard to place the moment, the turning point… the ‘why’… Nonetheless, it did happen.
It’s hard to look back on now. Up until our latest move, Church has been the focal point in our lives. We’ve volunteered everywhere we’ve attended, we’ve connected easily, we’ve loved the people wholeheartedly. We’ve reached out, pulled in… until 2 years ago…
We moved. We have had to move before, due to work, and done very well. For some reason, though, this time has been different. When we arrived we began searching & visited several. We finally found a church home we loved, only for it to have to sell it’s building a year later and move further away making it difficult to continue to attend. So, the search continues.
For every church we go into we can list 5 reasons why we should go there and 5 reasons why we shouldn’t. It’s really come to a sad state.
The truth is we need a Church and the Church needs us. Sometimes it’s a matter of jumping in and just working for Christ. I need to change my perspective. Maybe the children’s program is lacking, so help. Maybe the nursery has outdated cribs, dirty toys, and old bedding, so wash the bedding, clean the toys, and let the congregation know about the needs. When did things get so complicated?
Nowadays it seems we make pastors work so hard for our approval. We are so quick to get our check lists out…
- Was it close to our house?
- Were we greeted?
- Did we like the music?
- Do they offer programs that fit our whole family?
- Did we like the sermon?
- Did we like the Pastor?
- Did we like his personality?
- Was he too old?
- Too young?
- Is he married?
- If so, was his wife nice?
- Were his children well-behaved?
- Were the bathrooms clean?
- Was the bulletin well laid out?
- How was the lighting in the sanctuary?
- Could we read the overhead projector?
- Did they have Bibles in case we forgot ours?
- Did they have well padded seating?
- Were there chairs so we don’t have to be too close?
- Was it too crowded?
- Were there too few people?
- Is it too conservative? Too formal?
- What’s the dress code?
- Do they have a cry room?
- Were there refreshments offered? Coffee?
And then we do it all over with the Children’s program, the Children’s director… the youth program, the youth pastor…. the associate pastor… it’s endless and nearly impassable.
It makes me sick to admit that I have been doing this for almost 6 months… Maybe not that exact list but one similar. In the past, if I’m honest, we’ve always jumped in. And once we do, some of the things we first considered as negatives, we soon realized were actually positives and, in others cases, once we’ve lent a hand and helped, improved greatly. So maybe we just need to stop making excuses and realize we just need to jump in and make a difference.
Maybe that church that doesn’t stack up to our standards is the very church that we need & needs us the most. Maybe instead of searching for the church that has it all, we should be searching for the church that doesn’t and figuring out how we can help. Maybe we should strive to be a reason someone else who is visiting our church chooses to come again. Maybe our goal should be that we dig in, working so hard for Christ, that if we ever have to leave that church, it looks different than it did when we first arrived. Maybe that should be our goal.
Maybe my checklist should be changed and turned around toward me… I wonder if the church had a checklist for prospective members, I wonder what it’d look like. Is she a sinner? Does God love her? Did God send His one and only Son to die for her? I think it’s safe to conclude it would be much shorter than mine and simply say: Would you like to come in? You are always welcome.
Jumping in… Here we go… *Deep breath*