“Just showing up on Sunday morning, as part of a crowd, doesn’t cure loneliness or create community, let alone friendship. That takes effort.”
I’m not sure where I originally heard or read the statement, but it popped up in my Timehop app recently. And I nodded.
People stay away from church for a variety of reasons, and others go to church for a variety of reasons. Some get involved and open up their lives to relationships that are messy. It’s not so much a perfect situation or solution they’re looking for. In fact, it’s more about following and finding than achieving a specific goal. Others go to church to check something off a list, an obligation or a penance.
I believe God can and will use just about any reason and motivation. I also think he moves outside the church walls, that you can connect with him wherever you are. However, wherever you’re comfortable isn’t where he will always keep you. We have all kinds of reasons and rationalizations for what we believe and how we express it. None of us get it completely right.
It takes effort, humility, and relationship. It takes change and growth. It takes a search for truth. And it takes others. We’ll agree with some and argue with others. We’ll have personality clashes, get our feelings hurt, and hurt others. We’ll wonder if it’s all worth it. We’ll wonder how such a group of imperfect people can point to and follow the same God.
Perhaps each of us need to glance in the mirror as a reminder. Maybe we have a lot more in common with those imperfect, messy people – inside and outside church walls – than we want to admit. Perhaps by distancing ourselves, we’re missing out on the influence we can have on them and they can have on us. Maybe it’s not about “us” and “them” after all.
We often have more common ground than we’re willing to admit.