If you were raised in an average church-going family, you probably asked this question – maybe even with a little whiiiiine in your why. Do you remember the answer? Sure you do.
It’s the same answer you gave your kids when they asked you.
“Because I said so.”
“Because that’s what we do.”
“Because you want to be a good person.”
Pretty unsatisfying, right?
Well, Monday night I was talking with a young guy whom I’ve been meeting with to explore what Christianity is all about, and he mentioned an interesting conversation he had had with his mother about going to Church. When she was young, she, like many people, didn’t get a good answer to the why question. As a result, she opted out of church.
Somehow the conversation gravitated around related questions like, “Where would you find the answer to this question?” “Who started the Church?” And, “Does God have the right to tell me what to do (like, go to church)?”
Today, I played our conversation over in my head, and thought about how it could’ve (should’ve?) gone a different way.
It could have gone, “Why should we get to go to Church?” Have to assumes it’s a negative, obligation-only, raw-deal. Get to implies that there’s a privilege here that we don’t yet understand.
The Get To
So, it occurred to me that I should write down my get to thoughts about church. I’ll try to keep it in mind next time the subject comes up. Maybe, you’ll find it useful, too.
Local churches are the visible expression of Christ’s Kingdom. We get to be part of what God is doing to bring His Kingdom on earth (“Thy Kingdom come…”) and rescue the world. So, we gather with people in our communities who follow Christ (the local church):
- To glorify God by offering Him the worship due Him through Jesus,
- To receive strength and comfort from God’s promise to love and help us because of Jesus,
- To remember how great is His grace and mercy in forgiving our sins because of Jesus,
- To learn how to faithfully serve God through Jesus’ power in us,
- To be the means for spreading the message of forgiveness offered in the gospel of Jesus.
That’s a bit much to explain to a 9-year-old. So, if I had to do it again for a little kid I’d say:
We get to go to church because that’s where God reminds us how much he loves us, how much Christ has done for us, and how we get to be part of what He is doing to rescue the world.
Now get in the car, we’re late!