The other day some of us were involved in a hashtag game called #ICantComeToChurch.
It was highlighting some of the excuses we have heard (or used) to avoid going to church. Here are just a few of my faves:
#ICantComeToChurch because of all those hypocrites
— Doctor.Donna (@DonnaGeee) February 27, 2014
#ICantComeToChurch because the youth pastor is filling in while the senior pastor is on vacation (not a joke, heard this one)
— Anon Parishioner (@AParishioner) February 27, 2014
Pastor, #ICantComeToChurch because my husband’s ex-wife always shoots me dirty looks (yup, you guessed it – real)
— Xian Satirist (@TheXianSatirist) February 27, 2014
#ICantComeToChurch because last time I skipped, no one noticed, so now I’m too offended to come back.
— Back Row Baptist (@BackRowBaptist) February 27, 2014
#ICantComeToChurch because <insert lame excuse here>
— Tamster Too (@chattytamster) February 27, 2014
There were a lot more, some were plain silly and fictitious, but it highlights the fact that we’ve all heard and used examples on why we can’t be in church.
I’ve frequently heard people argue that you don’t have to be in church to be a Xian – that being in church doesn’t make you a Xian any more than being in a garage makes you a car. And that’s true. But church isn’t about you and what you get out of it.
In his book, “The Good and Beautiful Community” James Bryan Smith points out that how you feel about church and the feeling you get from church isn’t the point. It’s not about your inspiration, but “rather the ‘transformation of the person within, by, and for the community.”
Being part of the community of faith transforms us. It teaches us. It holds us accountable. It allows us to participate in God’s story, other Xian’s stories, and to share our story with others. When all is said and done, while salvation is by faith in Jesus and not dependent on your church attendance record, we are missing out on the chance to grow and mature into the kind of person we could be if we would participate in the life of God’s Community.
So when Sunday rolls around next week try something different. Don’t look for excuses why you CAN’T go. Look for reasons why you SHOULD go. Engage. Plug in. Start participating in the story. Let others influence you. Influence others.
We all get better because of it.
And together we start to look like the Community God designed us to be.