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4 reasons I came back to church

4 reasons I came back to church

Christian Piatt tells the 4 reasons he came back to church in the Huffington Post:

I Found A Community That Defied Christian Stereotypes

I was welcomed for who I was, not what I could do or give, and I was included in gatherings outside the Sunday evening service as well.

I Found My Voice

It wasn’t until a minister friend encouraged me to bring my guitar to worship one night and just share a couple of songs that were meaningful to me that something changed.

I Found Deeper Meaning

I was more interested in finding deeper meaning in this life, rather than worrying so much about what comes after that.

I Found A Sense of Belonging

I wanted to find a group of people passionate about things that mattered to me, and who would make a space for me, regardless of whether we agreed on everything, or if I gave enough money, or if I had signed my name in some official book.

….

I’ll close this piece out with a short list of all the things that didn’t mater so much in my decision to come back to Christianity, but which many churches assume are critical to their transformation:

I didn’t care that much about the preaching.

It didn’t matter to me that there wasn’t an elaborate music program.

I was all right with the fact that there weren’t tons of small groups to instantly “plug in” to. In fact, I just wanted to hang out with people I liked and who cared about me.

I didn’t care what denomination the church was a part of.

I didn’t care about whether they had doctrines or creeds they all agreed on.

I didn’t care if the carpet was nice, the garden was manicured or the bathrooms smelled like lilacs.

All of those things are nice, I guess. I’m sure they’re important to someone. But I can hear great sermons online. I can download more great music to my iPod than I can listen to in a lifetime. I can join a fancy country club and feel like I’m a part of some fancy, exclusive group. What I can’t necessarily get in other parts of my life is authenticity.

Everything else was nice, but it wasn’t what brought me back.

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Bill Dilworth

A minor point, but Christian Platt is a man.

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Lois Keen

I shall take to heart the four reasons Ms. Piatt gives for returning to church, and I shall take to heart, also, those elements that had no influence on her decision. The point is she came in the door and stayed, and from there God can accomplish anything.

I fail terribly at seeing "me, me, me" in this in any greater amount than the "me, me, me" that motivates my generation and those that came after. For that matter, it also motivated my parents' generation.

There was a time when people went to their parish church and stayed, whether or not they liked the minister and what he did or was or preached. With greater mobility came the possibility of jumping ship and going to a "better" parish with a better preacher and better people, or whatever. I will speak only for my generation, which seems to have patented programs as our prime motivator. Is that not all about "me"? What "I" want? No nursery? I'm outta here!

I care not what brings a person to church, in the long run. It's one of God's mysteries, like baptism. I know the wisdom is to not baptize unless people sign on the dotted line that they will take part in church life and come at least x number of times a month. I don't do that. I'll baptize any child even for the slimmest of reasons. Who knows in what way God is at work in the Baptism prep classes? And when/if a child or young adult, baptized but not brought up in church, runs across this yellowing baptism certificate, who knows what God is about when that person begins to wonder just what that is all about?

So, maybe this is a bit of a rant. And seriously, I do not see any less "Me" in our terrible, obsessive need to pin down those things that will work to get people in the door, our desperate need to have some fiction of control that will promise results. The only non-"me" activity is to acknowledge it is all a mystery, and only God knows what it's all about. Trust, absolute blind trust in God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is the only path to not looking for what "I" want, and I'll tell you, I'm not there yet. I know it's the truth, and I know I'm not there. God help me, and all the faithful, and the unfaithful as well.

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Josh Magda

I am of two minds here. I want Church to be more than the image described by the poster. But in our society, where human community and Spirit have been run out of our collective life, having any kind of spiritual community that welcomes people, at all levels of commitment, is a great gift to many broken and hurting people trying to navigate this spiritually toxic culture, and is in keeping with God's larger Trinitarian efforts in our world of healing and drawing all things to Herself in Christ.

Cultural Christianity has its place, a healing place even, but we have a responsibility to help people go to the next level, when and if they are ready. But always remember "the battle belongs to the Lord."- I would prefer a less violent image- but its true- all spiritual development is ultimately God's doing, in concert with our cooperation, and She is in it for the long haul.

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Kraut1701

I disagree with the knock on preaching/sermons. Good preaching can make or break a congregation, regardless of what denomination it is. People can "belong" anywhere, like a bowling league, knitting circle, Star Trek club, etc. Listening to a sermon on podcast is a lot different than the immediate give and take that can go on during good preaching.

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Clint Davis

Well....who said the "me generation" is a thing of the past? *ducks*

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