Sunday, November 21, 2004

Church: Why Go?

Why do people go to church? Why do I go to church (besides to collect a paycheck)? Why do you go to church?

Some church-goers are undoubtedly motivated by guilt or habit. They will feel awful or awkward if they are not in church on a Sunday morning, and so to alleviate the guilt, they are there. Others go to church simply because that is what a person is to do on Sunday. Church attendance is a part of their weekly routine, and they wouldn't dream of missing. In my estimation, these motivate Builders and some Boomers much more than other generations.

What then drives consumer-oriented people to church?

The programs? Some people go to church for what the church has to offer by way of its ministries and methods. The music, the youth group, the children's programs are all enough to get some folks interested enough in church to attend. But what happens when the children outgrow the program or the music changes?

The preaching? Some people go to church for the preaching. A gifted and interesting preacher can go along way in both attracting and assimilating people into church. But what happens when the preacher gets called to a bigger church?

The people? Ultimately, a church is more than music and programs. It is a web of people who believe the same things about Jesus and come to need one another in life. A church full of welcoming, caring, and conflict-resolving people will sustain long term growth. But, a church full of cold, bitter, and grumpy people will level-off and decline. Church is about relationships.

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