Going to Church
Why should I go to church?
For many teenagers, going to church or Sunday school can feel like a drag. But if we consider the true meaning of church, instead of getting lost in all the religious promotion and corruption in the news today, it's a whole lot easier to see all the good that church offers -- and to want to be part of it.
When Jesus spoke about building the church on a rock -- "And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra--a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church" (Matt 16:18 AMP) -- he intended church to be a place to come together and to be closer to God.
But over the years, the "church" has taken on new roles. For example, in Martin Luther's time, the church was the main government and political influence. One of the aspects of church that Luther rebelled against was the sale of "indulgences," which many believed would pardon them for specific sins. Also, people have started wars in the name of religion and their church. But drawing closer to God isn't political.
Today, the idea of church is often branded with the reputation of being strict and even prejudiced against other religions and churches. As a result, more and more people are turning to alternative religions or simply giving up on religion all together.
Religion has also given in to fads: wearing a cross is cool, but going to church is not. Wearing a Kabbalah bracelet is like wearing a Livestrong bracelet: it started with a good idea but became a fashion statement, especially because all the celebrities were wearing them.
But there are many reasons why church is important:
- Church is a sacred place where people can study and discover truths that apply to their lives.
- Whenever Jesus preached, he preached at the temple because it was a place where the community gathered to pray and learn, to listen and follow.
- The people came to the temple because they were interested in God and their relationship to Him.
- After a long and busy week, a chance for reflection and prayer is a welcome relief, an opportunity to be refreshed.
This is the true idea of church: it's a place to learn and grow. That idea needs to be re-established in our minds. Next time we enter a church, we can think about the goodness of God and how we express it, not what else we could be doing instead.
I'm speaking from experience: if you close your mind to church and religion you will never know the blessings you are missing. No one is ever "too cool" to enjoy the sunlight of truth that shone in the first church under Peter and that still shines today.
Ellie Langford, age 15
Church is also a place where we learn to give.
- Sure, we all want spiritual inspiration, comfort, peace, safety, happiness, joy, and much more.
- But why?
- If we don’t share any of this with others, what real good is it? What value does it really have?
- Going to church to be inspired about how to give to others; how to meet a need of a friend or stranger; how to love the people in one’s family, school, and community is endlessly interesting, engaging, renewing – meaningful!
After all, Jesus instructed: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15 NIV).