As a military family, we have been members at a couple of churches and visited even more. We’ve held worship in our home. We’ve worshiped in large congregations. We’ve worshiped in small churches. Because we were always meeting new people and looking for a new church to call our own, I often asked people, “Where do you go to church?” And new people to my community often asked me too.
Now, I know that as a writer I’m pickier about words than most people, but the older and wiser I got, the more I realized it was time to change how I replied to that question. Now when someone asks, “Where do you go to church?” I tell them, “I worship at . . .”
Why? Because when I say where I go to church, it sounds more like I’m simply telling you where I spend an hour once a week. It sounds like I’m checking the box to feel good about myself. It makes me feel more like a passive consumer than an active part of an amazing group of people who serve a living God. To be honest, being complacent is a pretty scary prospect if you take the words of Revelation 3:15-17 seriously:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
I think that’s a wake-up call to stop simply going through the motions.
Plus, I believe it’s especially important as America becomes less and less of a “churched” society, that Christians stop going to church but start being the church. First, fuel up while you worship. Then, because fewer people are in your church building, go and make disciples. Don’t simply bemoan the fact that they aren’t coming to you. Take the joy from knowing that God has completely forgiven you and now calls you his child and share that with the people all around you. Share your hope with others and use your energy serving them.
Then when people ask you where you go to church, invite them to worship with you here on earth, so we can all worship God together forever in heaven.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is more than happy to tell you where she worships.