A few friends of mine were recently chatting about their gym experiences. They explained that when they were feeling motivated and exercising in their prime the gym was a happy place for them. It was the place they felt confident, accomplished and in their zone.
They got to know the other regulars and complimented each other on how great they were looking. They couldn’t ever imagine life without this happy place.
But then life would get in the way. They would let a few training sessions slip and before they knew it they’d put on a few kilos and felt like a failure. Not only that, but when motivation started to kick in again they realised they had lost their happy place. The last thing they wanted was to turn up to the gym now as everyone would look at them and think, “Wow, they’ve really let themselves go!”
Their happy place had now become a place of judgment and shame.
While none of my friends are active believers, their conversation reminded me a lot of how people feel about church. When you are newly inspired or converted your enthusiasm is high and church is your happy place. It’s where you find your purpose and where everyone understands your passion.
But often life gets in the way. Work priorities take precedence, life gets busy and before you know it you’re out of the routine of attending. You start making poor decisions and the further you separate yourself from church the harder it is to go back.
Your happy place soon becomes a place of judgment and you can’t show your face again or people will look at you and think, “Wow, they’ve really let themselves go!” And while church should be a place where everyone is welcome some people feel they’ve fallen too far to walk through the doors.
That feeling has nothing to do with God, it’s how we – as the congregation – make people feel. We can do that before even saying a word!
Let’s not be that type of church. Let’s help people connect with God no matter what they’ve done or what kind of life they are living.
Dear Lord, open my eyes to those who are still searching for You. May we show them the love and grace we have been fortunate enough to receive from You. Amen.
How do you feel about attending church?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.