Well, since we are at the final days before Christmas I want to share with you one more reason to consider visiting a church this Christmas season. Of course I would love for you to visit the one that I am involved in pastoring, however I know that we aren’t the only good church. But, this Christmas season I decided to take a serious look at why people should consider checking out a church at Christmas time. Don’t we live in a culture where it makes sense to see if things are actually beneficial before we try them out? I certainly do. So, what are the benefits…that’s what I’ve been endeavoring to show. Today I want to talk with you about belonging.
Webster defines belonging as “to be secure in a relationship because of affection and dependence.”
Did you catch that? Secure relationships based on affection (care/love) and dependence. That is exactly what we are looking for as human beings. Acceptance. Love. Care. Help. Friendship. So..here is reason #4 that I recommend you check out a church this Christmas:
#4 – The church is a place where you belong, even if you don’t believe or behave the same way!
At least that is what we are aiming for and practicing. Here’s what I mean. Many are afraid to visit church because of their past, their present or even the fact that they don’t feel like they fit in. This is why I think it is imperative for the church to be a place of belonging before believing. So, whatever your story, whatever your past; I want to invite you to take a risk and check out a church – but remember it is supposed to be a place where you can belong even if you don’t totally agree yet. So if your experience in church is different then that, don’t give up. You Belong!
With Christmas being such a special time in our culture, I’ve spent some time thinking about the connection between church and Christmas. Last week I started a series of writings on whether or not you should consider church this Christmas. You can see part 1 here and part 2 here. Today I’d like to share with you reason #3 for giving church a try at Christmas. Really this is a question of “what’s the point?”! Is there really a benefit to me checking out church this Christmas. Now, this particular reason focuses on something at Oak Grove, so if you are checking out another church you might want to keep that in mind.
REASON #3 – HOPE!
Yes, hope is the reason. In our community, our city, hope is one of the most amazing and helpful outlooks available. If you live in Kansas City you remember the hope and the expectation that came when the Royals won that first wildcard game in 2014. I remember celebrating every game with confidence that we were going to win the World Series, and finally we did in 2015. Hope was infectious. Hope was exhilarating.
Now, fast forward to your life as it stands. If you are anything like most people, there are times that we feel hopeless. Your boss has been riding your case for weeks, months, or even years. Even though it’s Christmas time, he’s still pursuing the divorce. Death still comes to our homes and our families despite the celebrations. I know that for me, I need a good dose of hope and encouragement at key times in the year.
Well, this particular time is all about hope. Yes, I know that difficult and bad things still happen. But I know that at Oak Grove you are going to see that there is hope now because of Christmas.
So…do you need some hope? Are you skeptical that there could even be hope? Come check it out!
With Christmas being such a special time in our culture I’ve spent some time thinking about the connection between church and Christmas. Last week I started a series of writings on whether or not you should consider church this Christmas. You can see part 1 here. Today I’d like to share with you reason #2 for giving church a try at Christmas. Really this is a question of “what’s the point?”! Is there really a benefit to me checking out church this Christmas.
REASON #2 – CHRISTMAS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!
Ok, ok, church is often seen as boring and lame. I’ll admit that I have been in my share of boring and lame gatherings at church. I’ve probably even planned a few…or maybe more than a few! But, here at Oak Grove we believe that church and the Bible should never be boring or dull. If you spend just a few minutes and read the stories of the Bible (think Samson – unstoppable guy similar to the incredible hulk; think Elijah and fire falling from the sky) you cannot think that it was designed to boring. It certainly isn’t! So, we believe that its not just silly for church to be boring, but it is wrong.
Now, with that in mind, how do you think churches should handle the most amazing story about the birth of HOPE? We are going to have fun. I don’t know about other churches, but we are going to celebrate. So, this Christmas I think you should consider giving church a try because it’s going to be fun. Oh, by the way, we are having a party after the service and I don’t want to give too much away but there will be a lot of surprises. We hope to see you there!
The numbers are out there for anyone who will do a little research…each generation in America is attending church less and less. Here are some of the recent numbers out of the Lifeway Research group:
Generational Church Attendance
- Greatest Generation (before 1928) – 56%
- Silent Generation (born 1928-1945) – 44%
- Boomer Generation (born 1946-1964) – 32%
- Gen X – (born 1965-1980) 27%
- Millennial (after 1980) 18%
The reality is that people are choosing to attend church less and less and there are several reasons for that. Many have found church to be cliquish and closed minded. Many have stated that the church is not concerned with the needy and hurting. I’m not going to defend the church in general nor will I defend the church that I lead, but I do want to share a few reasons to consider giving church a try around this Christmas season. I’ll share 5 reasons over the next several days leading up to our Christmas Eve service here at Oak Grove.
Reason #1 – The entire message behind Christmas is caring for the needy and hurting and the church spreads that message.
Yes, the message of Christmas is that God cares for the needy and hurting so much that He sent his only Son to meet the greatest needs and heal the deepest hurts. Our deepest hurts stem from sin and the resultant death. Jesus has come as the deliverer from both death and sin. This is the message of Christmas There are so many needs and hurts in our world that it is truly overwhelming. However, helping the people around you really makes a difference. The church works on spreading that message, but I would say that we definitely do that imperfectly. We struggle to love people well! We struggle to be patient when life is a mess. We struggle with our own selfishness. However, the message of Christmas is another reminder that God…God Himself cares for the needy and the hurting. That message is just one reason to consider church this Christmas, because it’s likely that you are either hurting or needy or you know someone who is! So I hope you’ll consider joining us or another church this Christmas.