In the home that I grew up in, I had no choice but to go to church, but even though I had no choice I loved going to church. I loved the people there. I loved the hymns we sang and the praise music that we started incorporating as I grew older. Every summer the adults of the church would take a camping trip and go floating. By the time I was old enough to go almost the entire church was going and it had become a weeklong trip for many of us, not just the weekend. I felt like I was part of a giant family, and for someone who has never I fit in anywhere that was important. I loved the church and I couldn’t ever imagine not going to church.
Fast forward to today…
I haven’t been to church in almost a year and for a few months before that I wasn’t very consistent as I was trying to find a new church home. I have had all of these excuses for not going. Many of them have been legitimate and the strongest reason is that I’m needed to stay at home with my grandmother. We have other family members that aren’t believers that could probably come and stay with my grandma on Sundays, but we can’t depend on them to do that so I stay home with Grandma. (In fact, it would never occur to those family members to even offer.)
But not only am I failing to go to church on Sundays, I am failing to involve myself in the church in anyway other than watching sermons on the Internet occasionally. I’m not involved in any ministries. I’m not involved in any Bible studies with other believers (although it is not completely my fault). I have failed the church and it is showing in my life.
It shows in my daily life, my relationships with others, and how isolated I am, but the impact not being an active member of the church shows most in the questions that I have been asking of myself and of the Lord.
Can I still be a member of the church without actually going to church?
Whether I am able to attend church on Sundays or not, I am still a part of the body of Christ. I am still a member of His church.
What is my role in the church?
I’m still unclear on what my role in the church is right now, and I will be honest. There is a lot of fear in me right now when it comes to reaching out to other believers. I have tried to reach out by inviting people to join me in Bible study or asking other believers if they know of any Bible studies I could join. Even in the last month or so I have tried and been rejected. I’m tired and I’m weary because it seems like I’m usually the one reaching out only to find no one reaching back.
What is the role of the church in my life?
The church should play a major role in my life, but it should be more than attendance on Sundays and weekly Bible studies. The church should be my community and my family. And honestly, if I can’t come to the church, the church should be coming to me.
What is the purpose of the church?
I think I need to do an in-depth study on the book of Acts to answer this question, but for our purposes here, I’m going to keep it simple and say that the basic purpose of the church is to spread the Gospel. It is to both tell and show the world about Christ and the love He has for us.
What does it really look like to be a member of the body of Christ?
To sum it up in one word: LOVE.
If we are truly a member of the body of Christ, then it looks like love. Now how each of us expresses and shares that love is truly unique, but the root of all we do should be love. It should love for the Lord and love for others and love for ourselves.
I have failed the church. It hasn’t been the first time and it probably won’t be the last. There are lessons to be learned in every failure. The key is what you do with them. What am I going to do with the lessons that I have been learning? I don’t know yet, but I’m sure the Lord will use them in a mighty way.