Why I’m Still in Church
I love family dinners. I love when we gather around the table to feast on the abundance God has graciously given to us. I love the company, the chatter, the conversations and the laughter. But the aroma rising from the table captures the essence of why we’ve truly gathered there: to feast. Let’s face it, it’s not about us. It’s about the the food.
I’m a millennial. At least, I’m pretty sure I am, the lines are a little unclear. Even Wikipedia didn’t clearly define it when I googled “millennial generation.” However, I was born in the mid-1980s and I came of age about when the Internet did, so I think I fit into the “millennial” category. I’m also very active in church. Even before I married a man in ministry, I was very active in the church. Fellowships, Bible studies, revivals, choir–you name it, I was probably in it or a part of it. If the doors were open, I was there.
I didn’t grow up in church. I was taken to church occasionally as a child, but I definitely didn’t attend with any consistency. My parents were unchurched. My mom was a paranoid schizophrenic drug addict, my dad lived over an hour away from us until I was a teen. So my only church exposure occurred when my grandparents took us, and they were part of the Assemblies of God denomination. I met Jesus and gave Him my life as a teen at Falls Creek. Even after my conversion, I still didn’t attend church with regularity until I was in my early 20s.
I entered the church at 22 because I had a longing in my soul that I hadn’t been able to satisfy. I’d tried the college party scene. I’d pursued intellectual prestige, graduating summa cum laude from OU and then making Dean’s List at OU Law. I chased after relationships and physical affection. I was like Solomon, I tried everything this world offers and it was all vanity. I found myself wanting.
Then I met some people who lived like they believed God’s Word was actually true. This was a stark contrast to the many so-called Christians I’d met in college, who didn’t look or seem any different than the adamant atheists I’d also met in college.
And then these same people took me to church with them, where I found something even more satisfying: large groups of people committed to living like God’s Word is true. It wasn’t moralism, behavior-modification, or the cherry-picking of Bible verses to condemn or to judge, as many have accused of the church. It was just a royal feast of Kingdom proportions with the main course being the truths of Scripture.
So, when I read the abundance of verbiage that has flooded the Christian community lately about how millennials are leaving the church because they don’t find Jesus there and they’ve been beaten up by Christians spewing the Bible at them, I’m confused. I guess I just don’t identify with them, and I can’t help but wonder where they’re looking for Jesus? Is He not there in the pages that also contain the verses many have seemed to grow so tired of hearing thrown at them?
I may be wrong, but it seems like many of us are seeking to find Jesus in church in ways other than how God has revealed Him in Scripture. We’re looking for our Jesus, the one created in our image and who fits into what we think He should look like and espouses the principles we think He should teach. But you know what? It’s not about us, and to claim any other Jesus than the one contained in God’s Word is to claim a different person entirely.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1,2,5
So, why am I still in church? Because I love family dinners. I love how we come together to satisfy our hunger with the richest food containing the most delectable morsels of God-given goodness in the universe. That’s why we’re there, right?