Some people go to church. I go visit family.
On the outside, it may look like I’m doing the same thing. I get dressed up, drive to a pretty white building on a hill, sing some songs, pray, listen to a sermon. But really, I’m spending time with family.
My church is my family. not just in a spiritual sense, a “we’re-all-the-body-of-Christ” sense. Nor are they all genetically related to me. But they’re really my family.
My church is small. We live in an area of churches that look more like shopping malls and act more like country clubs than perhaps churches should, but mine is an exception. My church’s size has fluctuated over the years, but we’ve always been pretty tiny. Right now there are about thirty of us who attend regularly. I’ve gone there my whole life.
I never had a youth group. I was the only one my age. Everyone else was either many years older or many years younger than me. Now we have seven kids, including the youth group of five. I’m their big sister.
We look after each other. Everyone knows each other’s names. We pray for each other specifically and take care of each other when one of our number is sick or sad. when one of us celebrates, we all celebrate. If someone’s moving, everyone pitches in to help the move go smoothly.
Sometimes I meet people who are cynical about God and about His church. Churches are full of hypocrites, they say. Well, sure, churches are full of sinners, but sinners saved by grace. Sinners still fighting their flaws. We’re broken people helping each other as we grow in grace.
Sometimes I wish I could take every person I’ve met with doubts about God and ask them to come visit my family every week for a month.
They might change their minds.