Last Sunday I asked the question, Why do you go to church? Today, I ask the opposite question to everyone else: Why don’t you go to church?
Though I’m not in this group, I’ve talked to many who are. They have multiple reasons, some of them good, some of them warranted. Here’s what they say:
- I don’t get anything out of it. (In our Western-world culture we approach church with a consumer mindset, looking to get something. What if we went with the goal to give something, be it to God or someone else?)
- It’s boring. (The true wording is “I’m bored by it.” The reality is we choose to be bored or seek to be engaged. However, this is far easier to do at some churches than others.)
- No one talks to me. (Yeah, this can happen, but we greatly increase the odds of conversation if we’re approachable. Even better, initiate the conversation.)
- It’s full of hypocrites. (In one way or another, aren’t we all?)
- They don’t talk enough about _____. (Maybe that’s because we’re preoccupied with a certain topic, perspective, or issue; seek balance.)
- They talk too much about _____. (Maybe they’re out of balance. Or Perhaps God’s trying to convict you of something.)
- All they do is ask for money. (Some churches do a lot of that, too much, in fact. People who go often learn to tune it out, but it can really make visitors squirm. I’m sorry.)
- I don’t like the minister. (Yeah, personalities can get in the way, just like in all aspects of life.)
- I don’t like the messages. (There may be a reason; is God trying to tell you something?)
- I don’t like their style of music. (Personally I don’t like the music at most churches, but going for entertainment is the wrong reason; sometimes music connects us with God, and sometimes we need to push through the music.)
- It’s superficial, full of phony people putting on a false front. (Yes, there are poseurs in our world, including church; just make sure you’re not one of them.)
- I’m too busy. (We make time for what matters.)
- I don’t experience God’s presence there. (Whose fault is that, the church’s or yours?)
I understand what they’re saying and agree with much of it. Yet I persist in going. For all its limitations, church is worth the effort.