I am writing this entry about something that I have been wondering about for quite a while. In writing this, I want you to understand that I am not doing so to cast any judgment on anyone. I am just really intrigued by this issue I am going to describe and I’d really like to have a dialogue about it.
Allow me to cut to the chase: All current data indicates that the majority of people, including the majority of those who were raised in an organized religion, very rarely attend worship services. For most people, in fact, being present in a house of worship is limited to weddings, funerals and special events involving family or friends.
Now all you have to do is read my title above and you know something about me - I go to church every week! No surprise there. Yet, in addition to the fact that being a clergyman is my profession, I also happen to really value both participating in worship and being part of what is usually described as a religious congregation. Now, I can give you several reasons for that, but the reason I am writing, as I said, is that as a clergyman trying to serve a congregation and be part of a larger local community, I really want to know peoples’ perceptions of organized religion and participation in the activities it provides.
As a Christian pastor, I wonder what it is that keeps people away from worshiping in and being part of a local church. My sense is that for many people, the church has just not met your needs. I also would like to hear from you for whom the church is a life giving and energizing people and place.
For a good number, I would suppose, what we offer does not seem relevant or meaningful to your life. In future writing, I will be glad to share with you what it does for me, but, right now, quite honestly, I would be most pleased if you would offer some feedback to me. Please leave a comment if you are so inclined.
While in future entries, I will explain my personal perspectives on these matters, I have to say one thing before I end this column today! I have heard people tell me that you don’t need to belong to a church or synagogue to either worship God or be a good person. What I want you to know is that my belief in the value of
worshiping and being part of a community of faith completely accepts the fact
that faith in God and good ethical living is found both in those who go
regularly to places of worship as well as in those who never or rarely set foot within.
Yet, as someone who believes that worship and connection with a group of people who are connected to worship is important, I don’t want to live in a churchy bubble. I want to know what people in the everyday real world are really thinking...so I’d love it if you’d give it some thought...and maybe give it a response!