I have struggled to go to church on many Sundays. I know I "should" desire to go to church even if it's just out of obedience to God. I've read first and second Corinthians, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Ephesians where the apostles were giving instructions to the new Churches. I've heard sermons on why it is important to attend church. However, there are specific reasons I am tempted to stay in bed longer on Sunday mornings. These reasons aren't hidden to me. I know what they are. For the sake of transparency, I'll illustrate some of the reasons I struggle to attend church.
First, there seems to be a gap in church programming between general needs and more specific needs. For example, I was active in our high school youth group. I went to all of the activities and even drank pop with a sock over the can. When I graduated from college and really needed a church, it was hard for me to find a small group that fit my stage of life. Most of the small groups for my age group, I observed, were geared towards newly married couples and counseling sessions. I couldn't find a Bible study that fit a young, single, professional.
Second, I have seen many Christian leaders fall from grace. It's extremely difficult for me to keep myself from judging the person on the stage. Therefore I avoid the temptation to judge altogether by not attending church.
Third, there are so many fantastic resources online. I am always tempted to stay in bed, grab my laptop, and live stream a sermon. Sometimes it seems easier to be lazy.
Fourth, I have to make an effort to be a part of a community. If I want to cultivate a connection with the church body, I have to do more than just show up on Sundays. I get tired of introducing myself and sharing my testimony over and over again.
I can't possibly be the only one thinking about these four things on a Sunday morning! Do these reasons sound familiar? I am sure you could add a few yourselves. I've heard lists that include feeling ashamed, isolated, or being hurt by Christians. Whatever the list is, know you are not alone.
Have you ever gone to church and the whole time you were asking yourself, "Why didn't I just stay home?" All of the reasons for staying home from church flew through my mind while I was sitting in a church parking lot putting on my makeup. This was a church I was just "trying out." I happened to be meeting a friend there. After the service, I started talking to my friend about the complaints I had regarding general church attendance. She shrugged it off and said, "I don't know, I just know God really wants me to be a part of a church." Having a friend who was in the same life situation as me was a game changer. I just needed someone young, single, and fresh out of college to say, "God wants us to be a part of a church." God desiring us to be a part of a church should be enough of a reason to go. I realized God wanted me to be part of a church even if I didn't feel like I had a place at church.
This sounds so simple . . . can this change the awkward part of stepping into a church service?
Speaking of church services, I was in a church recently, but not for a service—it was a work conference. I had been talking to a few co-workers before entering the conference. When I went to find a seat with my team, there were no more seats left. "This is awkward," I thought as I stood there trying to figure out what to do next. One of my managers grabbed a chair and added a seat for me at the table. Awkward moment avoided!
Just like me not having a chair, God says, "I know it's awkward, but you do belong here." The enemy will create a list of reasons for you not to be in community, but God says, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" (Ephesians 2:19-22). Being a part of the Church body is part of the process of becoming holy and Christ-like. Does this sound like a reason not to sleep in?
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.