Why Do You Attend Church?

Okay, I have been a little on the radical side a little lately but it has raised some good questions and discussion – which I know we all enjoy. But for me, it raised the biggest question – why do we attend church? What are out reasons?

I attend a little church (about 9 members on a good week) called the First Nations Alliance. My brother (and his wife) are the pastor there and it’s very ‘laid back’ (likely because we all came from a strict religious mind-frame prior to some of our de-conversion – pentecostals anyways). There is a about 4 song worship set (all my family on the instruments), then there is open sharing (and by open – I mean really open – this week drugs and child neglect were on the lips of 2 ladies), and followed by the word (which is usually framed as a counseling message). Service concludes with another song.

Now I like this church – although I have only attended twice this year (means I missed at least 4 services – all in a row). First off, I have family there and I am more than glad they support a vision for the Action Group. Secondly, the people there don’t have to impress no one and we can ‘come as we are’ and still find some acceptance (people can say whatever they want and the pastor isn’t too proud to admit his every fault). Lastly, we all have a love for our culture – First Nations (Cree and Saulteaux) and that is perfectly cool. We also have a music night where we play songs from CCR, the Rolling Stones, Elvis, etc…we just have fun with our musical talents. I know stone them all – oddly enough many of us were getting stoned before we were doing something like this (little play on words – sorry).

To be perfectly honest I don’t attend church for the worship (not much of that smacks of sincerity to me). I don’t go to get prayed for – for the same in-sincere reasons or even (in some senses) superstitious reasons. I have to be honest, I really love the word of God and when I hear someone speak on it I always learn something new…not sure why but I always do. The community is also quite cool also – we are a very open bunch of people – I can dig that. We also all know we have a lot of work in our communities to do and no one is bullsh*ting the next one on that point. Were fractured, fragile, hurt, and poor human beings trying to recover what we lost – I like that type of brutal honesty.

To be even more honest, I could live without church – it doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot. We meet at a building, sing some songs, maybe give some money, listen to someone talking, and then we leave (all of this done to the magic of Power Point). But in the end, we aren’t accomplishing a whole heck of a lot – we don’t solve many problems in our communities for as much as we talk about them (unless you count prayer) and the Action Group does what it can for the less fortunate on an extremely small scale (one person at a time) – but Action Group can exist apart from church I noticed (I just want the church as an organization with resources to get involved on a more major scale).

So why do you attend church? What makes you go week after week – or not? Is there a disconnect going on or is the disconnect each person’s personal problems? No quick and easy answer here – but a good question nonetheless.

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16 thoughts on “Why Do You Attend Church?

  1. Hi Society,

    Basically, I go to chruch because the Bible says that we shouldn’t give up on meeting together. When I’m discouraged, that is the only reason I go. When I am discouraged and go, it usually isn’t as bad as I had made it up to be. When I get there and see the familiar faces, give and get hugs, sing praises to God, and hear the Word preached, I leave happy. For the last few my months, my health has kept me away and I actually miss church.

    I have been in the same church for over fifteen years. I don’t really believe the same way that I did when I joined. I have grown and changed a lot but the church I’m in is still ‘sticking by the stuff’ and in many ways I can feel stifled but I still have Jesus in common with them. I, like you, would prefer that they be more outwardly focused. I love to see people come to Christ and that isn’t something I’ve ever seen very much of as a result of this church’s ministry. We’re too busy worrying about outward appearances and saving the culture. I’m not very involved anymore and tend to hang on the periphery. My ministry seems to be in my daily life in the people I meet along the way and my family. I consider the writing I do online as an important part of my ministry, which I define as Jesus living in me and through me. I don’t think organization is needed for this to happen. All that is required is a heart in whom Jesus dwells.

    I guess, I basically go to church to be with others who believe in Jesus, and to get hugs,and to learn how to love people that I don’t really like very much.:0)

    Pam

  2. really enjoy reading your blog. thanks for your honesty and questioning, i find it inspiring.

    i think my reasons for going to meetings depend on the day.. yes, i’m that fickle. often it’s a choice to go, often i feel it’s a good thing to do, often i go to give and see people, mostly i go cos i want to hear from god. but if church was reduced to being about one sunday meet per week, i’d rather not bother.

  3. Two years ago, the idea of leaving the church was unthinkable to me. I was at the helm of the music, missions and youth programs for a congregation of 350. My duties consumed close to 30 hours/week, time I gave gladly. I believed I was doing the Lord’s work.

    Fast forward two years. I’m at a point now where, even though I have a small group of believing friend, I long for the relationships of the larger body. The thing is, the Sunday service is the part of the whole scene that seems the least significant to me now. I miss the people, but I think the idea of fellowship would be better served if several of us got together for dinner a couple times a week. I don’t need a sermon from a guy who’s never had a real job. I’d much rather have a beer with a few people who know what it’s like to have to hustle to make the mortgage. Scripture has so much more meaning in the context of real life than coming from the ivory tower of a seminarian.

    (I don’t mean to put down pastors. It’s not entirely their fault. They’re in a system that coerces them to be pharisees.)

  4. I don’t need a sermon from a guy who’s never had a real job.

    Dorsey, that is an excellent point! You might be on to something here. The original Christian church was just as you described, a few seekers having dinner and drinking a few beers (the “love feasts”).

  5. dorsey,

    Reading your post encourages me to not feel that I am so off track when it comes to those who minister to us professionally. I don’t know if my present cynacism is really spiritual but in reality, it seems to me that those who are paid to minister to us really soak up all the ministry they can get from the lay people of the church. I don’t think it is good for them not to know how to do anything else.

    Pam

  6. You pose some very good questions here.
    I’m actually at a point where I’m wondering what good it does to warm a pew every week. Same building, same people, same songs, same routine…
    What would happen if we used The Lord’s Day to go out & do good in our communities?
    I think coorporate worship has it’s place, but perhaps instead of dressing up and going to the meeting place, we should consider dressing down and taking the Gospel to our communities in the form of service?

  7. … Or to do something totally different one could mean the words they sing during worship, commit to the commands in the Bible reading, or even trust that God will do what He promises.

    There is a subtle difference between going to Church and actually being there.

    And I don’t think it depends on other people.

  8. “Or to do something totally different one could mean the words they sing during worship, commit to the commands in the Bible reading, or even trust that God will do what He promises.” (BB)

    BB I don’t think that is at the heart of the problem – for me anyways – I did all those things and felt more empty as time moved forward. I sang the songs (even danced at camp meetings) with everything in me. I read the commands and did them as best they prescribed (and even in the prescription of those commands they eventually revealed those commands stand in stark contrast to one another at times). I trusted the promises and have even been healed and regenerated. These things aren’t the problem in the case in point – although I wish it all was that easy.

    For me the problem is where too next? Can someone spend 20 years in a church doing nothing but simply doing those repetitive things never doing and adding more things? Is that following the biblical commandments – the church as we see it? I have some strong reservations if this is all God wants from us? Are we missing something – has our faith grown – does it grow – is what is accepted as normal Christian standards actually the normal Christian standards? I think the questions are being asked, then people leave, without an answer – and if God gave them an answer – who is gonna listen? (I always go back to personal credibility)

    But I do agree – church is what we make it – how involved we are when we are there. I admit that – but I also admit that I see things that just need to change (most of them are teachings that result in some suspect behavior). We then find people who represent Christ representing a variety of wild and crazy notions – which will be my next blog.

  9. “Can someone spend 20 years in a church doing nothing but simply doing those repetitive things never doing and adding more things?” SocietyVs

    Even the smallest act of love can carry an infinite amount of value.

    Consider the Danish folk-writer who was asked about going beyond faith. He responded: “Faith is a task for a lifetime.”

    At my Church they have water, and those who drink it never thirst again.

  10. Dorsey – your pic and that comment made me laugh – very well suited.

    BB, I get what you are saying about faith – it is true – a lifetime might not even reveal the magnitude of the idea. Again, thanks for commenting on the blog – much appreciated.

  11. LOL, Dorse! 🙂

    At my Church they have water, and those who drink it never thirst again.

    And here I thought one didn’t necessarily have to go to an institutional/conventional church to have living water…that Christ was “living water” personified. Heh.

    Okay, back to the initial question…

    To be honest, I don’t know why I still go. Even though I’m involved with it, sitting in a chair/pew, where virtually no one can see each other, all of us facing the pastor three times a week, listening to a message rarely–if ever–does much for me. Part of me wonders if I fit in with the conventional church anymore. I get more out of my interactions with various people online nowadays. I wish some of them lived closer to me, or I closer to them. 😦

  12. Shelly thanks for the comment and I am in the same boat as you in some senses – traditional church just doesn’t give me much anymore, I actually am asking my brother to move his service to Saturday at 1:00 pm – just because I work on Mondays and I like to sleep in on Sundays – it seems lazy and stupid – but I like Saturdays and I feel way more at home in church on a Saturday – no clear reason but maybe my mind frame is better than day (less worries).

  13. I used to attend a med-sized Baptist church up until about a month ago. I just could not take the routine anymore. I now occassionaly attend a Catholic mass, just because I can meditate and find God in the liturgy. I don’t find God getting up early Sunday morning to sing some corny songs and listen to a lecture that came straight from the Doctor Phil show. I have never liked long talks derived out of a single verse paraphrased from ‘The Message’.
    Last year, I hosted and sometimes lead a small groups Bible Study in my house. I thought I would be radical one week and suggested we put our stuff down and head out to the local retirement home – they really love when people go visit with them and bring small gifts. “no no, let’s organize and plan and wait for next week” everyone agreed. But you know how that goes – it got planned to death and never happened. It was so frustrating – all big plans and zero action.
    One last comment. Am I the only one who does not like power-point slides in church?

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