Renew Your Spirit!
At LaRue United Methodist Church, the emphasis is on unconditional love and acceptance for members of the congregation and for members of the community. Visit us and discover boundless opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, along with meaningful ways to make a real difference in your community. You'll be greeted with genuine warmth and embraced by a supportive extended family.
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Why Bother with Church? Part 2
Last month we talked about how patterns and attitudes about going to church have changed. Here again are some statistics we shared:
The United States is the third most unchurched nation in the world.
Only about 18% of our overall population attends a house of worship on a weekend
(this figure includes Christians, Jews, and Muslims)
90% of churches in the US are plateaued or in decline.
Somewhere in the US, 50 congregations close their doors each week.
It used to be that if you wanted to learn about God or develop some good virtues you went to church. But that has changed. People no longer believe that church attendance is necessary for being a good or even spiritual person. The fast-growing religious preference in America is “spiritual, but not religious.”
So last month we started looking at some of the reasons why we “bother.” We point out that Jesus himself attended regular worship, and that it is a good habit, something we could all use more of. Here are a couple more:
It Is a Positive Example for Others
There was once an old lady who went to church every week, even though she was losing her hearing and her vision. Someone asked her why she bothered, since she couldn't possibly get much out of it. She said, “I just want everyone to know whose side I'm on.” If you are a regular worship attender you can bet that there is someone who notices – and wonders about it. Going to church is one simple way to show others that God is worth the trouble of giving some of our time and energy. It can also show that you don't have to be perfect or “have it all together”, but there is a place where regular, everyday folks with faults and foibles just like ours are accepted and valued.
It Is Important for Fellowship
Life is hard. Being human is not easy. We all run into various kinds of challenges; health problems, financial issues, conflict within our families. We simply were never meant to try to get through this by ourselves. Do you have people in your life who will stand by you and encourage you and help you bear your troubles? At the very beginning of creation God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18.) We all have times when we get discouraged and frustrated, so hopefully at church we can find a few cheerleaders. We all experience times of pain and doubt when we might find it difficult to pray and have faith, so we need some other people who can pray and believe for us. And we all need to know that there is someone who misses us when we are not around. Worshiping together, learning in classes and serving in groups are ways to get to know people on a deeper level.
Many people shun church because it is full of “hypocrites.” But aren't we all hypocrites to some degree? Do any of us perfectly live out all the values we profess? Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have been popular developed because addicts know that often the people who can help you the most are the ones who have had the same struggles. Think of church as a kind of “Sinners Anonymous.” None of us have reached perfection, but together we can help each other get closer to it! To be continued!