Do I Really Need to Go to Church on Sunday’s?
Christian: Let's get real. Who wants to have another surface level conversation?
Samantha: Not us. I'm Samantha.
Christian: And I'm Christian. Two friends having raw, but truth filled, conversations about the messiness of life.
Samantha: So buckle up and don't be shy.
Christian: Because, yep.
Both speakers: We're going there.
Christian: We're back.
Samantha: Back together. We are kind of in between some series right now. So we're excited to go back to our kind of roots of what we're doing and just picking a topic.
Christian: Back to our roots.
Samantha: Back down to the roots and picking a topic and flushing it out. These are conversations that not only have Christian and I had to figure out and wrestle with within friendships of ours, like close relationships, but I also feel like we just hear a lot from other Christian girls our age, or just people in general. Especially this topic in a post COVID, I can't believe we're still kind of saying that, but we are yeah. Still in this-
Christian: Probably forever.
Samantha: Yeah. Post COVID time of how we kind of pick a church, how we find a church and what qualifications do we use to do that?
Christian: Yeah. I mean, Samantha and I wanted to bring this up. We are a part of a lot of different conversations with friends or family members or just people in our community about either, even in this post COVID world, are you coming back to church? Are you watching from home? What are you doing? Are you, even if you're maybe now unsatisfied with your church, what are you thinking about? What are those things that you're considering that you're not happy about? And are those good things, bad things? How should we think about all of that? And so that's kind of the conversation we wanted to have today. And just kind of challenge ourselves and then just kind of have some thought and biblical truth of what are we called to in looking for a church.
Samantha: Yeah. I mean, I think there's so many reasons you could be looking for a church. I mean, I think the first one is moving. So like maybe when you go off to college. I remember kind of wanting to find a local church I could be a part of on top of being in the student ministry. I think, I'm remembering back, even when Justin and I got, we were dating and then engaged and married, we were both going to separate different local churches here in Columbia. And so kind of deciding, well, do we want to go to one of these? Do we want to try a totally different one and landing on that? I think, yeah, like you said, if you're maybe finding things to be unhappy about your church that you're currently in or feel like you're not growing, which we'll kind of like get to some of that too. But there's a lot of reasons you'd have to be choosing a church. And so Christian and I, just to be fully handed, both work at our local church. So we are obviously really big advocates for the local church. And for honestly, stepping into the hard things that are a part of a local church. I mean, I think it's very easy and we hear a lot, a lot of people really want to state their opinions about what they like and they don't like about our church. I mean, don't you feel like you hear that all the time.
Christian: Oh yeah. All the time.
Samantha: And sometimes I'm like, okay. This is also, it's not only a place that I worship and my family chooses to worship. It's also like my place of employment. And I mean, I'm glad people are very open and honest and we are very big that we don't think everyone should be at our church that we go to. There's awesome other great local churches around, but we kind of wanted to pour into why would it be important to be involved in going to church? Maybe you're saying, okay, over COVID we saw so many churches do live streams so well, and we were able to still grow and somehow be connected. And honestly, I just haven't gotten back into the habit of waking my kids up early or pulling myself out of bed to go. What would you say to that person?
Christian: I mean, yeah. There's so many reasons and we want to preface this entire conversation with, obviously there are really valid reasons to maybe be continuing to watch from home or be just engaged in your church community through an online platform. There are really valid reasons for that. But I think we do want to challenge the person who's maybe just not back into that groove yet and maybe making excuses that maybe we just don't feel really hold up. Like Samantha said, we both work at our church and so I think something to that is that we get the opportunity to talk to people about what is it like to work at your church? And it is a big difference. And I think one of those things I say to people all the time, please know that this place is full of sinners.
Christian: And we are all probably there at our church understanding we are there because we are broken sinners needing a savior. And so if you are expecting that you're going to walk in and not to have someone offend you or hurt you or not be this perfect Christian towards you or about a situation. We can't be surprised by that because that is what the body of believers is. And so I think I say that often that it is really hard, but I think if we're looking at a lens of, well, everything needs to be perfect to meet my needs in every way, then that's going to be a really hard road for you to go down.
Christian: ...in looking for a church.
Christian: But I think to that person who is just saying like, hey, yeah, I haven't gotten back in the groove. I think we just want to challenge you in just a few verses about just community worship, being involved in a community, what that brings out in people. If you've not heard this term before, in the Bible, there's a lot of conversation about the body of Christ and this idea that God has created all of us in his image for his glory and ultimate purpose. And so we each play a different part of that. And so a lot of these verses point to this body of believers and that we each play each part.
Samantha: Yeah. I'm thinking back to when you start really thinking about it's like, well, God created the church. He commanded for there to be believers that would join together each week. And even if we don't fully understand the purpose, like he says that and we see that play out a lot in the early, early churches of Acts and Corinthians. And we see Paul writing to these bodies of people and really encouraging them, calling out sin. But he was also telling them good job, you're all meeting together. And even though it's, honestly, most of it was really messy and they were really going wayward in a lot of that, he was still saying that was good that they were all joining together. And so we even see a verse in Hebrews that says, and let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another in all the more, as you see the day approaching. And so that's just one example of how he's kind of saying, it makes me feel good too, that maybe they were all struggling with kind of understanding the importance of all meeting together as well, even back in those early church days. But that he's saying no, when we're living our own faith individually, there's only so much growth that can happen. We need other people to encourage us. And who knows? You might be someone that could need another person and really spur them on in their faith. And so there's just some beauty in all joining together. I remember the first Sunday back, all worshiping together after COVID, when a lot of people still weren't feeling comfortable to do so. And that was fine. But I do remember, it's so different getting to worship in a giant body of people versus on my couch where my four year old is also climbing on me and I'm trying to get her coloring books situated, but then two minutes later she wants the blocks and all the things. I mean, there really is a difference.
Christian: Well, I think it's just like a beautiful thing when I remember that Sunday as well. And even since. I just, sometimes I look around and I think there's so many, I mean, we could have this conversation for a long time, but there's so many awesome things that happen when, even if you're going through the motions and even if you got there on a Sunday morning waking up and you're like, I really don't want to go to church today, but I'm going to go. You're grumpy walking in. You get your coffee. You sit in the auditorium. And I think there's something beautiful to even looking around and saying, okay, this is awesome. And if anything, I think all of us should feel really humbled and honored that we get to, one, even just worship in that way, that in our country, we get to worship in a free way and we get to just walk around into a building and-
Samantha: Carrying our Bibles.
Christian: Yes. Carrying our Bibles, worshiping a God. That's not the case all around our world. And that is a huge honor in itself. But also even, I just think it sets our heart and mind and a posture of just humility and a place for us to be able to come and say I want to learn, I want to grow in this area. And even if you are just sitting there, maybe not even listening, but literally just physically there, others see you there, you are at least hearing something and you are getting yourself in a rhythm and pattern of consuming truth and getting to a place where other people see you there. And maybe that's going to spur something on of, hey, I've seen that girl there now five times I should ask her to hang out. Or who knows what should be. So even if you're the person who's like, okay, I'm going to just start going because maybe I'll just get into a new rhythm then I would spur you on even in just getting there because I think cool things can happen.
Samantha: That's good. So a lot of you might say, okay, yes, I agree. I do want to be a part of a church, but let me just tell you, I've tried this church and I didn't like the music. Oh. And then this church, the way they did childcare was really funky. And then, I really tried this church and I just couldn't connect to the pastor. I mean, can we just be honest? We've all been there. I mean-
Christian: Oh, we've all been there.
Samantha: We've all been there. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church. I've been with friends to a lot of different styles of worship. I have been to black churches in Chicago. I mean, the way they worshiped there for three hours straight, women passing out; that might surprise some people, from worshiping so hard and dancing and praising. And our church now as a Presbyterian church, there's so many different ways people worship. I do think there is a point to, okay, you want to feel some kind of connection or you want to feel comfortable where you are choosing to worship and that's fine. And I would say, even before you feel comfortable, you should agree with most of the theology of the church you're going to. And I think that's really easy to figure out most churches have that on their website. You can do some research and you can find a church that most aligns to what you believe.
Christian: And I can guarantee you that if you do have some questions or if you are interested in learning more, you can for sure reach out to that person. And if not the head pastor, another pastor or some leader in the church will be able to answer those questions for you. And then you can obviously take that to God and pray about those things, research them yourself, and then make that decision off of their theological stance of things that you inaudible question maybe.
Samantha: Yeah. So when I think I, we're going to go into kind of maybe how you shouldn't choose the church. I do want to validate, it's okay if you try a church and you really do, you're prayerful about it and really feel like it's not the right fit for you. But I think what happens is we get a little bit too self- centered about what we want church to be for us. And what I mean by that is I even have to fight against this. We think church should be for us. We want church to be this spiritual experience that we get to go and enjoy on a Sunday morning. And a lot of times the music uplifts us and we do feel good and we get to see smiling faces and we get to feel connected. And I know just to be really real, there's been so many weeks where Justin and I are bickering in the car, my daughter's screaming, we've had a hard morning and we go into church and then we're just like, I don't know. We walk out and we're like, wow, I needed to hear that. And it does kind of like change the trajectory of our day. But I think what happens is we look for church to be that when that is not why it was created. It was created for it to be a place, like Christian was explaining earlier, a communal place of worship, an example to others to spur one another on. And so sometimes I think we forget that we have to be looking at it as, well, how could I fit into this church? How could I bring my servant heartedness and my service and just who I am to this place, instead of what can they give me?
Christian: Yeah. And even not even what can they give me, but what is God going to do in my heart here? And what is God working in my heart and mind? I mean, there are even so many, I mean, just being vulnerable and honest, even still to this day, I can fall into this trap really easily and I'll leave a Sunday and I'm like, mm, that was fine, music was fine. Or that sermon didn't really touch me, but I hope it did other people. I will say some of those or think some of those things. And I think I'm challenging that, even again, being able to say, no, God, what do you have for me here today? And what am I learning from you in this? And even if I can't even imagine anything right now, or I can't think, or wrap my head around something that was said today that I need to work on or think about, you probably do. And you probably just need to take some time to maybe step back and consume that a little differently and pray on that. And maybe go back to the verses they were talking about and meditate over those or whatever that may be. I mean, there's a lot of things, but I do think so often, again, I do it myself. So I'm not calling anyone out here, but I think so often we just make it about ourselves and we think, well, that just didn't meet my needs, so I need to go somewhere else or I just shouldn't go at all. And I think that is not the stance that we can take, as Christians.
Samantha: That's good. Yeah. I think I'm reflecting, like I said, I had grown up in a Southern Baptist church. So maybe with a more traditional church choir versus maybe a worship band and different style of preaching. I really do challenge myself when I go with my parents still to my home church or when I'm going to my church or I've been on mission trips where I am worshiping sometimes in a different language and I still have felt God's presence and really tried to open my heart to be, wow, this is a cool experience. Even though I don't even really know what the pastor's saying. Your heart can still be worshipful in that. And I'm still looking around and saying, wow, I'm meeting with other people who, regardless if some of the theology is a little different than mine. Or maybe we're choosing to express our worship differently. We still have more in common with the fact that we're here to worship God than any of those details matter. And I think that's cool.
Christian: Well, that's what I was going to say. That brings me to, I'm sure we've all heard the phrase, as Christians and believers and brothers and sisters in Christ, we have way more in common than what we have different. And I think that is just a reminder. Taking me back to the days that my dad, we planted a church in 1999 and prior to that, my dad had finished seminary and we go around planting the church. And so my dad took us on a tour essentially of every church in Kansas State for a whole year. It wasn't probably a year. It was probably a summer. He was like, hey-
Samantha: That's probably a cool experience.
Christian: ...this summer, we're going to be visiting different churches around Kansas City. That's where I'm from. And if you guys don't own Kansas City at all, there's tons of different cultures. Even in this one Midwest town. And so we went to all different types of churches and after every service we would get in the car and my dad would ask, so what'd you think? And we would all... I'm probably, how old am I, 10 at the time. So we're all kind of going through our things and they would send us to childcare. They would send us front for the children's story. Whatever the thing was, we did all the things because they were like we want to experience it.
Samantha: I love the little sweet churches that do a children's story. If you've never been to a little sweet... For me, like southern churches and southern Baptist churches-
Christian: So sweet.
Samantha: ...they would always call up the little children to the front and someone, probably the pastor, would do a story.
Christian: And you always get a little thing, like a bouncy ball with Jesus in the middle of it.
Samantha: Yes. Yes.
Christian: But anyways. But I remember leaving and honestly, probably as a 10 year old, I didn't really, I couldn't wrap my head around what are we doing here and what's the purpose of this? And it was cool to watch. I love that my parents directed that. I love that he said, no, we're going to go see what other churches do and what they're like and what they're structured like, as we plant this church. I feel for my dad, that was his most faithful move at that point. No, let's go like do this. And I remember growing up. And so for me, I just think because of those experiences, I really do appreciate a lot of different types of worship. And I like that. And I can find, I don't know, something exciting about it because I'm like, that is cool. And I think a good reminder for me in, when we read through the Bible of different tribes and tongues, no, that is actually that. That is that there are different styles of worship and different ways of worshiping. So just because someone does it different than you does not really make it wrong, but obviously I think that's more of a heart check of what we need to look at internally of what we're wanting or desiring in that.
Samantha: Yeah. I think I want to speak, too, to the person who's maybe at a church that they are thinking about leaving or wanting to try different churches. I think I have always encouraged close friends that are going through that, of course, I want you to be where you and your family are going to grow and flourish the most. I think the danger in it is maybe jumping from church to church, just waiting for the correct thing. You know, maybe we're a little sensitive to one little thing that you don't like about a church. And so realizing you should jump ship. I would say if you're going to leave the church that you had originally felt called to, there would probably need to be a pretty significant reason why. And that would be something that I would hope you have really prayed through or sought wisdom or hopefully both on, because I do think sometimes God calls us into some situations. I know that I have a family member who, something really kind of traumatic happened at their church, with a pastor that they had had for years and years and years. And a lot of people did feel called to leave and find other church homes for their families. But I know this family member of mine, they felt really called to stay there. And I even kind of was like, oh, I'm kind of confused by that. But they just felt really dedicated to being kind of missional about their new church and bringing in a new pastor and being part of that decision and helping those people that were choosing to stay a part of that church body. And so if it's healthy for you to stay and if that wasn't going to be a detriment to your own faith, I do think sometimes God challenges us. There are a lot of things about our church that I could easily say, I don't 100% agree with, not big things, but people I've experienced or just maybe small parts of theology that I'm still wrestling with, or I wouldn't 100% agree with. And I think that's really not just okay, but good for me.
Christian: And I'm going to go back to the point. I'm thinking about conversations I have had. I have a few family members as well that, and I've left churches and we've had to kind of fight through some things. But I go back to my same point of, if you have concerns about something or questions about something, talk to someone. Because someone wants to explain to you why they do what they do, what their thought behind that is. I'm in operations at our church. And so it's easy for me to get into this mind of, no, we have a system of why we do something we do. But I actually love having conversations when people maybe disagree with even the simplest things. When I say these simple things, it may be the thing that you actually hate. But it could be how our children's checking goes or how we pass out donuts or do we do donuts at all? Do we do coffee? how do we pass out communion? It could be all of those things.
Samantha: Guys, you can yell at Christian for not having bagels back at our church.
Christian: They're back. So you've obviously not gone back there?
Samantha: Okay. They're back. Sorry.
Christian: But I think it's those things that, yeah, we may do it different. We do it way different. I mean, as I say, my dad planted a church. My dad's church size was probably 200. The church we now go to is thousands. And so even the first time I went to the church we are at now, I was like, no way, is this going to be a good fit. But it's cool. I'm in college, who cares, I'll go. And it ended up being the place that God spurred my heart on. And I feel really fed. It's not the place for everyone, but I think it's cool to hear someone else's perspective and hear, yeah, maybe that staff's intention or hope or desire. And then you can take that information that you get with those answers and do something with it. But I do think that's a hard place if you're not willing to talk about it, but willing to be frustrated about it. I think that's kind of something to challenge yourself in maybe.
Samantha: Yeah. So these are all really good things to think about. Even for me when I can just tend to, like we have said over and over, go into a Sunday morning, wondering what God's going to do for me or what my church is going to give me that day. This isn't hopefully encouraging to you. Maybe you're not a part of a church right now, but you really want to be. I would just encourage you to take that step. I mean, I know that it can be really intimidating for a lot of my single friends or even on weeks where Justin's traveling. I'll be honest. I don't like to take my daughter to church by myself. I really don't. It's harder work. And I also, even though this is crazy, because I'm actually on staff at our church, but I don't like sitting by myself. And so I know that sounds really intimidating, but maybe try to find a friend to go with you for the first timer. I know at our church, if you're coming for a first visit, you can go online and you can actually, there's a page where you can say I'm new and want to make a first visit. And someone will literally meet you and kind of show you around and even, maybe sit with you if you wanted to. And so there's so many churches that offer things like that. Or just be bold and go do it and try it out and see what happens.
Christian: Yeah. And that's why I love that encouragement because even I'm thinking about the few conversations I've been a part of as well where people are like, no, I purposely show up late, so I don't have to do all of that. So if that's more of your style too, do that, show up late so you don't have to go to the welcome desk. You don't have to talk to anyone. Just get your butt in a seat and let God do his thing there. And maybe try that for a few times. And so I think that too, consistency. Don't just try it once. Try it a few times. Obviously, if they're not preaching from the Bible or using scripture as their guide, then that's going to be an issue. But go for a few times. Maybe that song didn't really hit home or maybe, I don't know, that rapping on stage was really not your vibe. I get that. But maybe give it a few times and I think again, excited to see what God could do in your heart and mind in that place.
Samantha: Yeah. The last thing I want to say before we wrap up, I know that this just seems kind of like an easy topic to talk about, but that some of you have been really, really, really hurt by churches in the past. And you still love God and you still have a personal relationship with him, but maybe you've endured actual trauma as a child in a church or just growing up. I know that churches, because their man made in a way, God created the idea, but then their man run, I guess, that there are a lot of hurtful things that happen within churches. And if that has happened to you and you're listening to this and you're like, okay, I'm really annoyed with this conversation, I'm sorry you've gone through that. Because I have heard some really horrific stories of friends who have endured things like that. I want you to know that there still could be a place for you. And that could be a really healing thing to find a church body. But we also recognize that's really hard and it's not just as easy as showing up somewhere on a Sunday morning. So we hear you too or we see you.
Christian: Yeah. And to that point, I mean even before this conversation, Samantha and I wanted to have a heart for the person too, of maybe you are in just a really unique situation. Maybe you're, I don't know, in school and you're a resident or something like that. And you have really weird hours and you work Sundays and Saturdays and there's literally no opportunity for you to go to a corporate service. Maybe church for you looks like watching online. But then being really involved in your small group on that Tuesday night that you're available. Or maybe it looks like getting 10 people together in your living room and saying we're going to do this together very Sunday. Maybe you have reasons to be still really just conscious about COVID and germs. And maybe then that looks like getting your core people, because you are seeing core people, getting together in that room and watching with them and then discussing and being intentional about that. And so for sure, we hope that you guys hear our heart in this conversation of wanting to consider all options for anyone's reasoning of why they do what they do. But also trying to challenge and encourage you guys to kind of be spurred on your faith in a corporate setting as well.
Samantha: Hey, thanks for going there with us.
Christian: If you loved what you heard, don't forget to follow along with us at Going There: The Podcast.
Samantha: And it also means so much to us if you subscribe to our podcast and shared it with a friend.
Christian: Talk to you soon.
This may be a challenging one! Join us as we deep dive into conversation about deciding to go back to, or find, a church home. There are many reasons you could be looking for a [new]church or trying to go back to a church in this post-COVID era. As moms, it's hard to rally the kids and get everyone ready, but it's also hard to virtually attend church while taking care of the children mid-sermon. You might have gotten hurt by your church or maybe don't know where to start and need a push in the right direction.
Today we look at and challenge why you or some we know might not be attending church. As Christian women, we have a personal relationship with Christ, but we hope to encourage community worship and grow our faith together.
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