Why Church Still Matters
“Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.” That familiar mantra describes the attitude of many regarding
Over the past year I worshipped as a visitor in several churches and had the privilege of serving in short term interim positions. It has been enlightening to experience the varied ways people give expression to their faith. Linking with congregations for brief periods of time renewed in me the excitement of being church in today’s world. Church still matters! There are at least three reasons that is true.
*First, the gathering together with others with the intention of worship remains a significant conduit for us to experience the Holy. Of course, God is not limited to our assemblies and quite often speaks in the quietness of solitude. Yet, participation with others in singing, prayers, meaningful liturgy and rituals creates a venue for God to speak. As we gather together, we position ourselves to encounter that which is Holy. We are poised to feel the Holy Spirit when we pray together the Lord’s prayer whether in a high church cathedral, a small wood- framed church building, a camp ground or rented space in a public building.
*Secondly, church provides the opportunity for faith development. Living as disciples of Christ is a journey. We move forward and hopefully grow deeper faith. Church provides a place for teaching and learning. Likewise, it is a place for accountability. Faith building has seasons. Just like human development there are stages and phases of faith development. For example, the most important thing an infant or toddler learns from church is trust and love. In a non-verbal way they get the message, “these people love me and God loves me and I can trust them.” Older children and youth enter a season of learning content such as the ten commandments, the Beatitudes, the books of the Bible, the names of pioneers of their particular denomination or faith community, the theological principles of their community, etc. Then for adults of all ages the church is a place that fosters an environment for faith to be nurtured, confirmed, tested and lived out.
*The third reason that church still matters is for the purpose of embracing our world. Constantly Jesus encouraged his disciples to go to persons in need and help them. Jesus was friends with the leper and the tax collector. For each disciple there is a call to mission and service of some kind. Church gives us a launching point to embrace our community, to love our neighbors and to impact our world, even to change it for the better.
We offer the best expressions of church when we are busy building the Kingdom of God with love and grace. God’s voice is fresh and new every day, therefore church still matters.
Rev. Debra Griffis-Woodberry