Well, we have been through the many excuses people use for not attending church. The following is a summary along with some final thoughts. Here is your summary (in bold) and response list:
“The church is full of snobs.” So let’s show them God’s love and reassure them that we are no better than the next person. We are all God’s children.
“The church didn’t help when I needed it.” We feed all God’s children, as we are able. It is a call to sacrifice, not selfishness. Worship with us and see.
“The church has done terrible things.” We cannot change history. But we can continue to govern ourselves through open accountability and decisions determined by equal numbers of church and laity. With God’s guidance we can be better Disciples.
“Churches are so different. How do I know which is right?” Tell them no church gathering or worship teaches the same thing. To do so says “we are in control, not God.”
“They dislike people who worship.” We can only continue to show God’s love and pray that Jesus will help set the captive free.
“I’ll get to it later”. Putting things off takes on a life of its own; a given instead of a one time gesture. We choose now, because we don’t want it to cost us in the end.”
“They are all hypocrites.” Remind them that we gather and worship God to “practice” spiritual discipline. Remind them we’re not perfect and need God’s grace. Remind them that through practice, play-acting a good Christian life becomes the ‘new habit’.
“I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Remind them that we are community. Invite them to share our worship experience. Tell them their presence would mean something.
“I don’t know the liturgy, the Scriptures, or the customs.” Everything is learned and experienced by everyone in the congregation. No one knew it before they came.
“I’ll try to make it this Sunday?” Just do it. When they do, they will find God’s love, and a loving church family.
“Churches always ask for money”. The one who gives freely ends up with far more than those who say: “I have no more to give.” We don’t know how it works, but it does.
“I’m not good enough to go to church.” Tell them we are all sinners and that God is the final judge. We are all in this together.
“I can’t because my children have . . . “. Prioritize! Jesus says “Those invited who make excuses, may not get another invitation.” Harsh words from a loving Lord.
“I don’t go to church because the Pastor . . .” Remind them that worship is about a perfect God, not imperfect Pastors. We are all human; even our Pastors.
Circumstances, situations, and perspectives vary throughout the reasons we have visited. And only WE can worship and acknowledge our privilege to know God. I pray we take it seriously and joyfully, as Disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your continued encouragement.
Virgil Aldag, C.L.M.