Real Church: Real Value

Real Church: Real Value

You join a church. You attend as much as you can. You give them your money. You give them your time. You put God as your first priority – you are giving up other things to be in this place at that time. The question that comes to my mind is: What’s in it for me? What do I get from it all?

There are those who think it’s improper to ask that question. Those who think that it’s selfish or think that a place in heaven after we die should be enough motivation. I submit that this is a lie spread like a disease by the “guilt-trip” church that doesn’t actually believe there are true values and benefits from the church right here and right now.

Please don’t misunderstand me – gratitude for the free grace given to us by God through Jesus Christ is a wonderful reason to be in church. But we should not be afraid to ask God questions. We should not be afraid to say: “What’s in it for me?”

So here we go: What is the value of the church?  Ha, trick question! The value of the church is different for each person. We all get something different from this thing we are a part of. If you feel as though you don’t get ANYTHING from church, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Start a small group, a support group, a bible study, a volunteer group – something that benefits your soul. Better yet, find someone in your pew on Sunday and find a way to meet a need in their life.

Three things we should all get from Church: preparation, support and God.

I’m a Youth leader, and so I’m going to relate this to our young people. Just like school prepares our minds, the church prepares our soul. The world will test us – will you be ready? The time for a student to decide if they are going to drink underage is not when someone hands them a cup at a party. The time for a student to decide if they are going to have sex is not when they climb into the back seat of a car.  Preparation means that when the questions come – we know how we will figure out the answers.

There is a real world out there – sheltering them from it won’t help. Preparing them for it will. In our youth program I have no interest in trying to provide all the answers. Eventually they’ll come up against a problem we haven’t covered. I’m much more interested in giving someone the tools to handle problems.

Yet, even with all the preparation in the world – stuff* happens. The church will do its best to help
prepare us, but it will also be there when we fall. When we make mistakes, or when bad things happen in our lives – the church is there to be your family.

I know a lot of people who point to examples of hypocrites and screw ups who go to church – as an excuse for not going to church. They’ve got it all backwards. The church is not a place for perfect people to congregate. The church is a hospital for the broken. The church is a place designed for screw ups and hypocrites to get help.

Finally the church brings us God. I’m not talking about the abstract, invisible God who sits on a throne high above us. I’m talking about the God dwelling inside the person sitting next to you in the pew. WE ARE THE HANDS AND FEET OF GOD.

Quick Story: My mother was hospitalized when I was in high school with a ruptured appendix. For those who don’t know, once it ruptures – the likelihood of death rises dramatically. For those terrifying three weeks of my life God fed my family. It wasn’t exactly manna from heaven, but casseroles kept showing up on our porch. I say God fed my family, and in this case God looked a lot like the members of our church.

Hear me out: I am not claiming that we are all deities. I am not saying the people in the pews are divine, or perfect or any of that nonsense. I am taking seriously the responsibility Jesus gave us when He sent His Holy Spirit to help us out. God dwells in us, God works through us.

So again I ask, what is the value of Church? The value of Church is that it prepares us for stuff* of life, comforts us when that stuff* hits the fan, and brings us closer to our creator in the process.

At least, that’s what it is for me – what is the value of the Church for you?

(Seriously folks, comment what it means to you)

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