Skip to main content

Why I go to church

Why do I go to church? Because I need a bigger story than the one in the air. When I was younger, I went to church because it’s what I always did. I didn’t really think much about it. But now?

I need the church.

I need a deep sense of groundedness in something stronger than the latest headlines. And in all the stories I’ve heard, this story of how Jesus lived and moved in the world is the most compelling one I’ve heard.

I need other people smiling and hugging and reminding me there is still good in the world. And they’re willing to link arms with me and do hard things.

Most of all right now, I need to physically be around people I both trust deeply and who see the world differently. Every single time I enter in a conversation with someone like this, I leave with more hope than I thought possible. The voices in the air try to tell us we’re incredibly divided. We’re so polarized that nothing good can come of trying to work together. It’s easier to throw up my hands and retreat into my own world. But this simply is not true. We are not as divided as they tell us.

The church teaches me this.

So really, I don’t go to church on Sunday mornings because I have to. I go to a building on Sunday mornings because this community of beloved people somehow love me in the middle of my imperfection. And if these people can love me, then maybe I’ll keep learning that God loves me too.

I know anxiety is at an all time high for many of you. If you’re looking for some solid ground to stand on with other people who are asking some of the same big questions you are, I’d encourage you to look up the websites of some churches in your area. Find one that resonates with you and this Sunday, pull into the parking lot, walk in the door, sink into a chair in the back row and see what happens. God might just meet you there in a quiet moment. May the hope you’re looking for rise up within these communities of imperfect people. 

Friends, we’re not alone. There are communities of people waiting for you and your story. Be brave and share it.


Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…