It’s hard to argue with the fact that our country is changing. The rigors of war, difficult financial times, moral failures among our religious and political leaders and the breakdown of family and social institutions leave many people wondering what happened to the America that we once knew. Or, more directly, how do we raise our children and grandchildren in this new and confusing world that we wake up to each morning? Historically, Americans have always turned to their faith to sustain them during difficult times, but in recent years, more and more people have become disillusioned with their church or simply have lost interest and have wandered away. This Sunday, September 13th has been designated National Back To Church Sunday. Churches across America are extending the call for people to “rethink Church,” to reconsider what being a part of a loving church family has to offer them.
Obviously, the principal benefit of attending a church that preaches the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, is the opportunity to know Him in a personal way and come to salvation through His finished work on the Cross. There is no greater need in this world than the need for a Savior. Going back to church is the best way to investigate the truth claims that Jesus Christ made and see if His promises are true.
Another reason to go back to church is found in a fact that seems to have been lost in our ‘dog eat dog’ ‘every man for himself’ world. The Christian life was never intended to be lived in isolation. Christ instituted the church so that a Christian would have a framework in which to build a joyful, fruitful, and blessed life in community with others with whom they will one day spend eternity. When we try to muddle through on our own, we are like straggling sheep without a shepherd.
On a very practical level, being a part of a local church family offers access to foundational principles that guide us through the murky waters of our changing world. The church provides instruction and encouragement in how to live our lives, raise our children, and function in society in a fruitful and productive way. And having a church family supplies the loving support that we need when we face the trials and tribulations that life invariably brings.
Sure, there are hypocrites in churches; liars, cheats, drunks, and thieves, but if you were ill you wouldn’t avoid a hospital because there are sick people there. You would find one that had a pretty good success rate at treating people and you would see what they could do for you.
We live in perilous times. No one can accurately predict what will happen next week or next year. Maybe we should look past today’s bad news and return to the simple values that brought our ancestors through their dark and difficult days.
This Sunday, go back to church. Become a part of a family of faith and see what God can do when we give Him a chance.