Why I Love the Church by Amy Green
There’s a whole lot of cynicism about organized religion these days. Maybe you’ve noticed it in articles going around about why the local church isn’t necessary. Most of that comes from burnt-out people who have been frustrated and betrayed, and I don’t want to minimize their pain. But if, like me, you find yourself trying to explain why a local church matters to people inside and outside of the faith, or if you just need a reminder of why you come every Sunday, here are a few reasons why I love the church in general and Sovereign Grace specifically.
I love being drawn into corporate worship.
Not just worship in song, although that’s a beautiful way to lift our voices in unison before God and praise him. But also worship through studying the word, using our gifts, and challenging each other in evangelism. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised by a different perspective on Scripture or in need of a talent that I don’t have…and my brother and sisters came through for me.We bring God more glory together than apart. That’s what the church was created to do. (Col. 3:16-17)
I love being shepherded.
Confession: do you know the #1 reason why I come to the Tuesday Morning Prayer time in Burnsville? (Hint: I don’t even like coffee.) The properly spiritual answer is probably because I want to lift up this congregation before God, and I do, but another motivation edges that out.
I come because I love to hear our pastors pray for us.
You’re probably already aware of this, but I’m going to remind you anyway: the elders of Sovereign Grace love you. They carry burdens on your behalf that you’ll never know about, and they want to see you growing in your faith. I see in them the fulfillment of Jeremiah 3:15, “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
That matters, and that’s something you can only experience by being part of a local gathering of believers.
I love being inconvenienced.
Do I always like it? Of course not, because I’m selfish. It’s exactly because I wouldn’t seek out those experiences that I need the church to give me a regular challenge to serve, whether in an “official” ministry, or more often, to send a check-in text or babysit or help someone move. (I have the spiritual gift of cleaning toilets, in case you were wondering.)
We call it the “family of God,” and a family isn’t just about what you get out of it—a sense of belonging, times of fellowship, and people to listen to your fears and failures and love you anyway. It’s also about what you give, and the obligation you have to the ones you love—a Philippians 2 kind of service that reflects Jesus.
Those are all great reasons, and there’s a lot of truth there. But at the end of the day…it’s not enough. Because sometimes you won’t feel like you belong. Sometimes, one of the pastors will phrase something in a way that offends you and not even notice. Sometimes small group members will accidentally exclude you or a sermon won’t relate to your life or that one person will look right at you during Communion and still won’t apologize for words that wounded you.
So I asked myself, why do I love the church on those days?
It’s kind of like asking me why I love my twin sister. I could tell you all her great qualities, or my favorite things that we do together, or even the ways she’s helped me grow, but none of that actually answers the question.
You see, I love my sister because she’s mine.
She’s family. There is nothing she could ever do to lose my love (or earn it, for that matter). I will always love her, no matter what.
Same with the church. It’s good to know some of the benefits of being part of a local church, but that’s not why I love it.
I love the church because she’s mine. She’s family. There is hurt here, even at Sovereign Grace—some that we cause, some that is inflicted on us, and some that just seems like a domino-fall of misunderstandings and half-truths and disputes and bickering from the very first sin until now.
But there is also joy.
Sometimes that joy looks like coming home sunburnt and sticky from a dozen kids’ popsicle-stained hands after the baptismal service and praising God for what he’s done and is doing in the lives of people I love.
Other times joy is being called out on my pride or fighting to forgive. It’s listening to a hard application from a difficult sermon or facing a conversation I’ve successfully avoided for too long or once again wondering if the kids got anything out of lesson time other than how to pronounce Lazarus’ name and not being dead, maimed, or kidnapped.
But you know what? I promised the parents of those kids at their baby dedication three years ago that I would come alongside them and show their children someone who loved God with all her heart. I promised to be part of the family.
So, here I am, now and always. And that is why I love the church.
Amy Green has been coming to Sovereign Grace Church since she moved to Minnesota in 2013. By day, she’s the senior publicist at Bethany House Publishers. By night and by weekend, she’s a youth group leader, small group member, kids’ ministry teacher, and blogger at themondayheretic.wordpress.com.
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