Last Sunday I was on vacation and my wife, and I did what is now becoming our vacation routine. Because we live close to a big city, we attend a megachurch that offers a Saturday night worship program at one of their sites. Worship starts at 6:00 pm and is done in a little over an hour, thus leaving us with all of Saturday night in the city to explore and have a good time. We actually stay out late on a Saturday night, which is rare for a preacher, at least for this one.
It is nice to attend a Church that I am not leading occasionally. We were able to walk in unnoticed. No one asking questions, no issues to be handled, no stress over the worship plan and no thoughts about the upcoming sermon. My wife and I were able to sit side by side and even hold hands while the program was happening.
In many ways, it sounds like a dream come true for some people. No expectations to fulfill. No connections to drain my emotions. No service to offer. No personal investment. Just in and out in an hour. While I enjoy the time of worship and the teaching of the Bible, I still left feeling a little empty. Yes, we are all believers worshipping together, but that is not MY Church.
The more you attend a Church gathering, and the more you invest your life into it, the more it begins to feel like home.
1. A Home Church is a Place of Connection. It has been used before, but the TV show Cheers had the best theme song ever. You know the words, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name … and they’re always glad you came.” Every week I am so blessed to spend a few minutes with people I know and love. The smiles of the senior adults and the laughs of the little kids are no longer forced emotions but the connection I feel with people who are on this journey with me.
2. A Home Church is a Place of Expectation. I want to be around people who expect the best out of me. They want to see me growing and learning the ways of God. Every week I have people ask me how I am doing in my walk with God. Accountability is the word we use around the Church. It means that we open ourselves up to other people and ask them to hold us accountable for our actions. I need committed Christians in my life to help me reach my full potential.
3. A Home Church is a Place Where I Belong. Some things in life just feel right. The longer I am in a local Church, the more it feels right to me. The casual attendee does not get the same emotional connection to Church as the regular attendee. Few words can explain it. I just feel a sense of belonging every week as I see familiar faces sitting in the usual places and singing songs to God. It feels right knowing the people leading me in worship, prayer, and communion. This is where I belong.
It is nice to spend a Sunday or two each year away from the Church I lead just like it is nice to travel on vacation a couple of weeks a year. But with every trip, I walk in the door of my house and my Church and repeat the words, “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.”