Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 Reasons Why We Go to Church When It's Easier to Stay Home

Church of St Mary, Thornham Parva
Photo Credit:

Last Sunday as our family left the church building, my heart raged within me. Fighting back tears of shame, anger, and disappointment, I wondered why we even bother going to church. Surely an at-home family devotional would be better for us given the season we're in. 

With three girls ages 4, 2, and 6 months, our family is loud, dramatic, and high energy. We spend the majority of most worship services keeping the 4 year old from bothering her sister, shushing the 2 year old, and entertaining the baby. Honestly, I haven't heard a full sermon in years!

So, this past Sunday, after all three children disturbed the entire congregation with their crying, whining, even flat out screaming, I began to question my reasons and motives for attending church at all. 

Why Do We Go To Church? 

1. To worship God, to give Him the praise and glory He deserves

When I asked my 4 year old this morning why we go to church, I was humbled by her response: "To worship God!" She had been listening the 100 times I had taken her out of service to discipline her and explain that concept to her. But worship is the number 1 reason we go to church: to humble ourselves and acknowledge He alone is worthy of praise.

"Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care." 
Psalm 95:6-7
Yes, I can worship God at home, in the car, at the store, wherever. But what better time and place is there to worship the Creator of the Sabbath than on Sunday, with my fellow saints? 

In addition, my children need to know that we go to church not to color pictures or see our friends but to give God glory in our singing, praying, listening, and worshipping in our hearts. Unless we are actively participating in and attending church, our children cannot and will not learn how to worship.

2. To take communion with the body of Christ

When I break bread and drink the fruit of the vine with other Christians, I am united with them in the great sacrifice Christ made for us. Together, we recall how Christ's body was broken and His blood shed to take away our sins. Together, we remember and give thanks.
"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf." 
I Corinthians 10:16-17
At our church we take communion every Sunday. Thus, we have many opportunities to share the Gospel with our curious young children. Communion provides the perfect time to explain what the grape juice and bread represent, why we take it, how it should be taken, and when they will be able to participate too.

With our oldest daughter, we give her money each week from her chores, a portion of which she is expected to give back to God. In this way, we are teaching her that all we have comes from God, an important lesson for a child who believes everything is hers. 

3. To encourage my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ (and in turn to be encouraged myself).

As the Day of the Lord draws nearer, I believe Satan is working harder than ever to keep people from following Jesus. I have felt his pull on me countless times. Going to church with others who are struggling spiritually like me strengthens my faith in God and helps me persevere.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching!" 
Hebrews 10:25
It is because of the challenges of going to church that I go. I crave the encouragement and love of my church family. Fellowship with other like-minded believers keeps me pressing on toward the goal because I know I am not alone in the trials I am facing.

4. To partake of the Bread of Life

Even if I don't hear an entire sermon because the baby's hungry or the toddler needs my attention, I pick up bits and pieces of God's Word throughout worship that pierce my heart and put me in the right frame of mind. 

I need to remember that the physical needs I have--for food, clothes, peace & quiet--will never give me the fullness of life I desire. Only through partaking of the Bread of Life will I be filled spiritually for eternity.
"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.'" 
John 6:35
I go to church because I crave Jesus. I want to know more about Him. I want to learn how I can love Him more. Our church offers wonderful Bible classes for both children and adults, so while our kids are singing BIble songs and hearing God's Word in their own classes, my husband and I are also partaking of the Bread of Life with other men and women in our own class.

Nothing satisfies spiritual hunger like Jesus. 

5. To remind myself and teach our children that "It's not all about me"

In this me-centered world where entertainment is god, churches are not the place people flock to because, well, churches usually are not fun. While church can and should be enjoyable, what's important is that we remember life isn't all about meeting my wants and needs right now. 

"Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.'" 
Mark 8:34-35
We aren't here on this earth to be entertained and enjoy life. We are here to worship God and glorify Him in our lives. That requires sacrifice, commitment, and a life of service, three words this world smirks at. 

But it's not about me; it's about Him.

So, What Does All This Mean?
After some reflection, prayer, and words of encouragement from a sister in Christ, I came to the realization that:
  • even though going to church is hard right now, and 
  • even though I feel like we are only a disruption to others by our presence, and 
  • even though I want to crawl in a hole after every single worship service, and 
  • even though I don't always feel encouraged or uplifted when I leave,
I believe going to church IS worth it. To my kids, my husband, the entire body of believers, and especially to me. 

In particular, as a parent of three young children, I have a great responsibility to those souls who do not yet know the Lord. It's not about me; it's about Him.

What about you? What reasons do you have for going to church even when it's hard? 


  1. Years ago I dealt with this very issue. I hadn't been "in" the church service for several months with a noisy infant. We met on a college campus so there was no 'nursing room' or alternative place to hear anything. I heard nothing of the message at all. So for the next 5 weeks or so I stayed home and had my own time with the Lord.

    Then, one morning as I was preparing to send my husband, I felt the Lord speak to me, "Do you love Me?" To which my answer was, "Yes, Lord." Then I sensed Him say, "Then worship WITH the saints!"

    So, I've always gone to church, even when it wasn't easy or convenient. I go because I love the Lord and HE tells me to worship with His children.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. This is really great and I agree. We go to church because of the reasons you stated in #3. In a fallen world where I often feel so alone as a Christian, it is good for my spirit to worship with other believers just like me.
    With a 2 and 4 year old we are just getting to enjoy the full service. Our 4 year old can pray with us, stands and sits when we do, and our 2 year old can sing hymns with me.
    There is no better feeling in the world to me when my little family is at the communion rail together, receiving forgiveness anew, together, united, Christ's children.

  3. Thank you for writing this! I only have one but she is a handful and every Sunday I feel this way. I have been going more often recently because someone reminded me that if I don't go to church, I may miss an opportunity to encourage someone else in the Body. This is an easy to say, hard to practice sort of thing. In the end, it is all about Christ!

  4. This post was such a blessing to me. It is so important to fellowship with other believers and grow in the Lord together. You are right on all of your points! Thank you so much for linking up with Leaving A Legacy. I hope you have a wonderful week!



  5. I remember the season with little children and how hard it was as well (mine are now 10, 14 and 17) and going to church each week wasn't always easy. But we did it and I can see the fruit of that in their lives now (my 14 year old daughter was asked to lead worship last week and she led our whole congregation!) . So young mamas, keep on going! You will reap a harvest in your children's lives someday for doing this each week. Even when it seems you get nothing out of it because you can't hear a thing, surrounding yourself with other believers is meeting a deep need in your Spirit and in your children's. This is a great post!

  6. Keri, this post was fantastic. So many weeks I have to drag myself and the kiddos there. It can be such a MESS to take them, but for all of the reasons you delineated, it is important and exactly where we need to be. Thanks for sharing this post.
    (stopping by via the MMM link-up--Meredith @

  7. Thanks for sharing, Keri. I feel for the young families in our church who go through this each Sunday. Thanks for providing a God-honoring perspective on the importance of gathering together as the body of Christ.

    I'm hoping to start a blog series before too long that this will tie into neatly, so I really appreciate your perspective!

    Suzanne @

    P.S. Found you via the linky party over at Time Warp Wife, just so you know!

  8. I can totally relate to not having heard an entire sermon for a long time. In the first months of my baby's life, I questioned whether or not to keep attending on Sundays because feeding/entertaining/changing her diaper even in a nursing room with speakers to hear the sermon, my attention was directed to baby & I missed so much of the message. Like you, I know my priority is God, so I continued to attend, but whew! It was a surprise to me as a new mom how difficult it is to attend with littles. Thanks for linking up with me at {MMM,} Keri.

  9. Hello Keri...visiting from the Legacy Leavers linkup. Very beautiful post. I remember those early days was even worse for me as a Catholic mom because somehow my children would choose to act up right at the consecration time (when the bread and wine are transformed to the Body and Blood by our belief). Imagine my embarassment when everyone else is on their knees worshipping Jesus and I'm fighting up with a child who chose that moment to be fidgety and loud. Even now, my last daughter who is 6 still gets restless in church but we sit right at the front where she can see everything (this worked with the others too) so it keeps her interest and she's improving.

    Loved your post and I'll be back to check out more of your looks very inspirational.

    God bless!

  10. I just found your blog today...and was drawn to this post. At one point, I had three children
    under the age of 3 in church at once! I missed MANY MANY sermons during those years...but the training has surely paid off. My children are now 9, 8, and 6 and three quarters! ;) They are well-behaved and respectful to our pastor when he speaks! Many times I left feeling JUST like you described, but it will be worth it in the end! Keep on keeping on my sister in Christ!


  11. Very well said. Church is such an important part of a Christians life.