There comes a point in every churchgoer’s life when church becomes monotonous. The music doesn’t hit you the same way. The sermon becomes background noise as your mind races across various landscapes. The people become less inviting and more annoying. And every so often, a thought comes to mind: maybe I should just leave.
I won’t mention a specific church that I’ve attended or currently attending, because I’ve felt this way with every church I’ve been to. If anything, it’s like a rite of passage. The spiritual and emotional highs of church community immediately send you crashing into harsh realities. People suck. The sermons can be boring. The songs are not that great. I just don’t feel like volunteering, yet I’m still smiling at the door. Church then starts to feel like high school, where everyone is typecasted into cliques and I’m the weird loner with no subgroup to call his own.
I imagine most outsiders view Christians as smile ridden strangers who love to talk about their unhealthy obsession with a crucified carpenter. And church is just a meeting place where they can indulge in their beliefs and never wrestle with their faith. But as someone who has been in the inside for his entire life, I can tell you that it’s not always the most comforting experience. Christians (especially older ones) are always watching. From your clothing to your demeanor, anything is prone to judgment. And it’s not inherently bad. What family member doesn’t offer criticism whenever necessary?
The church is like a family. Although you can pick it, there are moments when you would rather not deal with them. It reminds me of a verse in Hebrews that commands Christians to not forsake the gathering of the saints. Regardless of how you interpret the verse, it’s clear that the Christian life is better lived with people. Imperfect, failing, yet loving people. Right now, I’m not so in love with my church, but there’s no telling what can happen later on.
And the same may be for you. As a newcomer or veteran, understand that church is not a country club for the perfect. But a hospital for the sick and sinful. Casting comforts aside, I need to be more willing to love the family I only see on Sunday. I need to appreciate our weekly reunions where we come together to meet our Heavenly Father. At this moment, I don’t feel like meeting with them. But I’ll have eternity to spend them.
So it’s best to get comfortable, even when you feel uncomfortable.