Crisis in Confidence

What is the point of Church?

Today, more than ever before, society challenges us in our priorities.

Sports, school, clubs, college applications, family vacations, scholarships, part time jobs, homework, church programs – our children are overwhelmed!  Oh yeah, and how about some fun thrown in there too. (They are kids after all).

The truth of the matter is that there simply are not enough hours in a day, nor days in a week, to get it all done. Something is going to get cut. We are forced to prioritize.

It’s no great theological statement to say that one of the first things cut in our schedules is the church. Whether it’s because events are scheduled on Sundays (more popular than ever before), or because they are just so exhausted from events that were scheduled the night before – church events are usually the first to go.

It’s not that we don’t like church. Sometimes we hate giving up the events. Sometimes we really miss being a part of that group – we miss those friends. We miss that family. But when it comes to prioritizing our schedule – church probably doesn’t look as good on a college application as another sport.

Many of us have forgotten what the point of church is. For a lot of us - it has become that thing you’re supposed to do out of guilt or fear – it’s that thing your parents forced you to go to. It’s the icing on the cake. It might be delicious, but it’s extra – nonessential. Thus, the first thing cut from our calendars.

We could not be more wrong. The Church has had a recent crisis in confidence. The Church has forgotten how important it is to our lives. The church has so much value, so much to offer our growth and life on this earth – we’ve just forgotten that. God should be our priority number one. It’s not something that goes on a college application – but why is that the most important? 

Please do not misunderstand me – college is important, clubs are important, band and basketball, choir and football, volleyball and dance – these are wonderful, wonderful things. They are the substance of life. They are the “what” of life. But Church is the why. God is the purpose of life.

Simple truth of the church: Jesus loves you. Whether you have ten PhD’s or barely graduated high school – Jesus loves you. Whether you are the captain of every sport offered, or can barely put your shoes on without falling over – Jesus loves you. Whether you’re Richie Rich or Tiny Tim – God loves you.

If God loves us regardless of all the “whats” of life, why are they higher in our priorities than God? Are we so busy trying to stuff “stuff” into our lives that we forget why we are even here? If God doesn’t really care about all that stuff, why do we?

Now – hear me out. In no way am I saying that a Youth should skip studying for an exam to come to a movie night at Church. I am not advocating throwing out all our other priorities. I went to college, I played sports, I worked lots of part time jobs, I got good grades and I even had some fun (gasp!). I would be a huge hypocrite if I said these things are not important. But there is a difference between important and essential.

So next time you’re checking out your calendar and realizing that it will not all fit – remember what’s really important in life. God hasn’t forgotten you, so don’t forget God either.

[ final note: I could write a whole book on how God and the Church are not the same thing. I know that. But the Church is a great place to start. It’s where God’s family hangs out. If your church doesn’t offer what you are looking for – do something about it! Be the change.. and all that. You ARE the hands and feet of God after all. ]
 
With much love to my family and friends in the Church,

JJ Mannschreck
Interim Youth Director
Downers Grove UMC

p.s. if you like articles like this – please let me know. I can post these types of things more often if people find them edifying. Otherwise they will probably stay few and far between.

Comments

JJ... Love this article and will post this to my FB page... Keep them coming!

Keep on writing! You just "realigned" my life"s priorities. Thank you!

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