What if your attendance at church actually matters? I’m not talking about any sort of eternal reward or risk as to where your soul rests. But what if attending a weekly gathering has impact that is greater than you realize? What if your generosity is displayed best in the way you selflessly serve alongside messy people of faith with an outstretched hand to those far from God?
Let’s be honest—you just don’t see the “big deal” with going to church on a Sunday. Quite frankly, I don’t blame you. You’ve had a long week, you can listen to the message online and while you sometimes enjoy going to church, you just don’t feel it changes things much for you.
Is it possible that you’re missing out on something even better than the mimosas at the brunch you went to instead? Something even better than the time you spent out on the lake? Even better than sleeping in? Whoa, is that even possible?
Yes, even better, but it may not be what you think. There’s not a secret VIP room hosting a brunch buffet with mimosas at your church (at least not any of the churches I know of). There’s no sun-filled boat ride after congregational singing. And although you do have the option to sleep, it’s far less comfortable than sleeping in your bed. So what are we missing?
I’m not sure how we’ve landed where we have, but somehow church has become an event—and honestly, it’s a pretty forgettable one if we’re comparing it to the Zedd concert you went to in Las Vegas, or whatever your last thrilling event was.
Some churches have tried to recreate the concert feel and have a pretty killer show every week. There’s nothing entirely wrong with that, but it’s pretty expensive and exhausting to maintain. It’s also nowhere to be found in the New Testament.
So what could this reimagined, can’t-miss-it church look like? I think it looks like you. It looks like you joining in and taking ownership of your local church. It looks like you living out what you always dreamed others around you would believe and do. You are a difference maker. You are God’s church.
While my local faith community, North Central Church, considers the expansion of its community reach to elementary students and heads into a generosity campaign, I can’t help but wonder what it would look like if more of my peers joined in with what their local church was doing. Maybe your church has no current plans to impact your neighbors, and you’ve given up on your leaders. The church as a whole is in need of balance that young people see and desire, but haven’t entirely joined in yet to see those ideas through.
Ultimately, when we look at Jesus our understanding of generosity drastically changes. As you consider what it means to be generous, I’d invite you to take the journey of processing what that means for you personally. As you’re inspired by Jesus’ generosity, your contribution to your church will in part be financial, but it should also be generous in that you give of your time and talent.
God has uniquely gifted you to strengthen your local church. Without you, the church is a less beautiful bride and God’s chosen means of gathering people sputters out. If we fail to believe in the local church, we’re failing to believe in God’s primary structure for growing each other up in our affection for Jesus and reaching those far from him. Remember, this is his idea, no one else’s.
As we look at the example of Jesus, we see a man who spent most of his time living on mission with his church family. Let’s join in and help shape the culture of what an authentic and inspiring faith community should look like. Will you lead the way? Will you join the mission? Come home, your church needs you.
For more on this topic, check out:
7 Reasons Why People Don’t Give to Your Church from tithe.ly
A Different Take on Reaching Millennials by Carey Nieuwhof
3 Steps to Leading Your Church to be on Mission by Matt Carter