Thursday, July 16, 2015

Far From Home


I am often challenged to prove that Church attendance is important.  I once heard the following and have found it to be true…

You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, but I don’t know any sold out - on fire - evangelicals who don’t desire to attend church regularly.

It’s been said that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to Mc Donald’s makes you a Big Mac. I agree with that. There are lots of people who go to church for all sorts of reasons that have little or nothing to do with being a Christian. BUT, if you are truly seeking a deeper, more mature relationship with Christ, you are not going to find it outside of church. That’s like thinking that you will find a Big Mac at Taco Bell.

If you follow the blog, you know that I spent a week in the mountains with a bunch of teenagers the first of this month. We chose to include “little ones” on this trip. These are kiddos who are entering 6th grade in the fall and moving into the youth group. At least 2 of the mamas were concerned about their little ones going off with the “big kids” for a week. It wasn’t like they could run home in the middle of the night if they got homesick. We were about 10 hours away from home.

I admit, I was a tiny bit concerned, but quickly learned that I had no need to be. Here’s why….

  
 
These kids showed me what church should be like. The “big kids” made sure that the “little ones” were taken care of. Being far from home wasn’t so hard because the “little ones” had “big kids” to help them through the week. They had people they could trust to help them through the obstacle course, navigate the waterfalls, or find the courage to ride a really big horse through the mountains. Were they perfect? Absolutely not. They teased each other and gave each other nicknames. The older boys took a group snipe hunting and played all manner of pranks. That’s what you get when you take a bunch of teenagers off to the mountains for a week.


Know what else we got? A week’s worth of memories of kayaking, waterfall climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and a feeling that, when it comes down to it, there is someone there to help when you get homesick…or stuck. When you have an obstacle in front of you that you can’t get over or when you are rafting down the river and you get stuck on the rocks, there are people who will help you get going again. When you have a choice to make, there are people there to help you make the right one.  

That’s what Church is like. The people aren’t perfect. They aren’t supposed to be. They don’t all get along and they aren’t all best friends and that is really okay. Church helps us when we get homesick for heaven. Church helps us when we have obstacles we can’t conquer on our own. Church helps us know the right choices. Being part of a church means knowing that, when it comes down to it, there is someone there to help you through the rough spots.  As we go thru life together, we grow. We look for those who are homesick and offer them hope. We look for those who are struggling with an obstacle and we offer a helping hand. We look for those who are stuck and help them get moving again.

I’ll close with this. The kids who didn’t go on the trip don’t share the deep growth in friendship that the kids who went have. Not anyone’s fault. They just weren’t there to experience it. Same goes with church. You won't feel part of it if you aren’t there to experience it.