5 Reasons I Love My Church
I was fortunate to grow up in a Bible teaching, kingdom investing church. So, many of my fondest childhood memories come from those moments and yes, I still attend that church, though I left for a bit in college and it was then that I realized how lucky I was to be a part of such an amazing congregation. I realized that I took a lot of things about my church for granted when I began meeting people from all over and maybe you’ve had a bad experience in church or don’t get the hype because the only options you’ve experienced have been boring, negative and basically dead. Please hear me out… That is not the way church is supposed to be and while no church is perfect because it is made up of a bunch of sinners, you should see life, grace and hope pouring out of the congregation.
Let me give you just five reasons why I love my church. You might be shocked that this doesn’t fit your expectations or maybe it will remind you of why you love your home church but regardless I hope this small, personal snapshot paints a picture of the family of God because that is the true reflection of the church.
They pour into children.
A sign of a healthy church is one that has babies crying, toddlers smooshing cheerios into the carpet and playgrounds full of screaming, laughing children. Now, there should be more going on than just play but what an amazing way to check the pulse of a congregation. Kids need to be fed and they WILL be by someone so why not the church? Proverbs 22:6 speaks of training a child so when they are old they will remember those lessons and man, have I seen this concept first hand. There are so many wonderful testimonies of friends and church family who found their way back to hope and health because of the love and lessons they remembered from their youth.
Personally, I have a hard time remembering what I did a week ago but in dark or trying moments I will have the truth of a praise song pop in my head that I learned when I was in children’s choir back in the 80s. And, it was the truth of John 16:33 that kept my head above water in my teenage years which I learned in Bible Drill. I can still sing and dance to SMAK (Summer Musical Activity for Kids) songs I learned 25 years ago which is funny but also practical when you think of the truth in those words. There are men and women who poured into me throughout my life that still go out of their way to show me they care because they really are invested just like I want to invest in raising up the next generation.
They pray intentionally.
This is one thing that I’ve come to appreciate more the older I get because I better understand the power of prayer. I know it’s also something that my church has worked to become intentional with as part of our community. We have an awesome prayer ministry that provides resources to help believers pray boldly and with intention rather than as a means to check something off the list. We have a very busy prayer room, a ministry of praying moms and an annual prayer walk over the local schools and university campuses. We pray over the future of children who are dedicated, over teachers as the year begins and over ministries and missions as they are sent out into the trenches. It’s obvious that the power and truth of Jeremiah 29:12 radiates through some mighty prayer warriors walking our halls and personally my prayer life has exploded because of their investment in helping me come boldly before the throne!
We have a diverse congregation.
I understand that different people, age groups and cultures can prefer certain styles of church and I have no issue with that as long as you are teaching biblical truth. In fact, there are some incredibly godly churches in our area that are about as different as imaginable from each other but when we all come together we still have love and laughter because our hearts are the same. However, let me tell you why I like that my congregation is multi-generational and made up of a variety of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds… because that’s a good picture of Heaven. You can learn so much from people who aren’t like you and even more so, you can see the true power of the Gospel. I love that we have so many wonderful senior adults who are actively pouring into my generation and those coming behind us. I love that we have singles, couples, widows, parents, grandparents and more. I love that we have people in our community from all over the globle. I’m also grateful that we have people who are lost as a goose because that means they feel comfortable searching for the truth with us.
1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the church as a body with diverse parts that all function differently which is such a beautiful picture of a church that understands the wonder of God’s creation. Can you imagine if we were all feet in the body? Not only would it be super creepy but it wouldn’t be very functional. Preaching is an incredibly important job in the church but you know what else is overwhelmingly important? Changing diapers or wrangling 10th grade boys. I know a couple who have such servants’ hearts but one of their main areas of service is fixing beverages for any and all events. Personally, I love being able to give back to the children’s ministry because of how much they poured into me but I also know that I don’t have the gift of working with small children but I have been given the ability to design sets and costumes and to set up events and activities. We have all been given a story and skills to represent Jesus so as a church we should celebrate the abilities not try to conform people to ours.
They believe in the “Heads, Hearts, Hands” concept.
I had a Bible fellowship teacher that always talked about how our knowledge of God should move from our heads to our hearts and finally to our hands. He meant that if you truly understood the Gospel it should come out in your actions. My church is very missional minded, both in our local community and throughout the globe. We firmly believe that the church should overflow the physical building and I love to see so many partnerships within the community. What a blessing it is to see students going on mission trips and joining the Gap Program. I love that we help plant churches near and far but my personal favorite is our commitment to “doing life together” as I call it. Literally, the coming along side of each other in the day to day of this world. Yes, I’ve been prayed over and taught and given spiritual resources but I’ve also had food delivered and someone sit with me while I cried and someone cheer me on from the bleachers of life. The Lord created fellowship for a reason… Life is hard so why wouldn’t you want to do it with friends and family who truly love you? Our church mission is simple. Love God. Love people. Serve both.
They challenge me!
If your church doesn’t talk about the hard topics or challenge your growth, you might want to find a new home. I love my church and I feel comfortable within its walls but let me tell you, there are moments I squirm in my seat because I’m a sinner and I know it. We talk about tough and uncomfortable topics because that is real life and I am so grateful that our ministers aren’t afraid to speak out publicly and privately in regards to the truth of the Bible. Even, more so, I’m grateful that accountability and trust come with the community we share. I’ve had tough conversations with church family but those tough conversations came in love and grace. As Christians, you are called to love but not to accept the sin and let’s be honest…sometimes I need to be called out because I’m ignoring what I know to be true. My church family is willing to do that even if it’s temporarily uncomfortable because it eternally matters.
In the end, my home church is truly my foundation, community and family. Like minded individuals just trying to do life who are overwhelmed by the hope, mercy and grace of the Lord. It’s in the crisis moments like our current situations, that you come to truly appreciate your loved ones and boy, do I love my church family!