I'm not here to judge you, just to nudge you.
because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of god but our lives as well.
1 THESSALONIANS 2:8B
You oughta go to church.
I know that sounds a little aggressive, right? But I mean it. You might be thinking, “She’s a pastor’s wife, of course she’d say that.” After all, it’s in my best interest to be pro-church, right? I probably want you to go to church because if people don’t go, my husband doesn’t have a job. Or, I might want you to go to church because I’m a “Church Karen”—here to judge you for not going to church, or at least not going often enough. For shame! Or, I might want you to go to church because it’s the answer to our unraveling society. People who go to church are better people, right? You might suspect these are the kinds of reasons I think you should go to church.
But you’d be wrong.
These are all terrible reasons to go to church! Please don’t go to church for these reasons. Not for me (or anyone else). Not out of shame from the judgers. And not even to be a better person. Oh, please hear me—those are all bad reasons! I want you to go to church because you WANT to go to church. It should be the very place you long to go, because it’s the place you experience God and his people in vibrant community. What if church was the place you discovered joy and peace and meaning? What if church was the answer to your longing for deep friendships? What if church was where you received wisdom and direction from God? What if church wasn’t just a place to receive but to give—to find purpose and delight in serving others? What if that was your experience of church? Wouldn’t you WANT to go? Wouldn’t you look forward to every Sunday and all of those potlucks and worship nights? I would. And here’s the truth: I do. I love church, and I want you to love it too.
ON THE PODCASTWe have had an awesome month with Melissa! In our last episode with her, you'll find some great practical ways to share your life with others. If you want to hear more from Melissa, check out her books or some of her writing over at The Gospel Coalition!
Do You Want a Mentor? // Melissa Kruger on The Dwell Differently Podcast
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Let me give you some of my reasons why.
Reason numero uno: I go there for my soul. How many times have I shown up to church all dried up and empty, or just flat out angry or frustrated or exhausted? I mean, all the time. And yet, something happens when I’m confronted with the grace of Jesus, the hope I have in him, and his unending forgiveness—all my anger melts away and my soul fills up with gratitude, wonder, and worship. And a miracle occurs: I’m moved from callousness to tears.
I go to hear from God. How many times have do I feel the Spirit of God whisper to my inmost heart in the sermon? I know those words are God’s own words for me. Today. Right now. I feel seen and known by God himself in church.
I go for my kids. I never cease to wonder at my own children coming home from church and speaking words I’ve longed for them to believe—words from people WHO ARE NOT ME, spoken in ways they can hear. God is at work in the lives of my kids through church people.
I go to grow. I am constantly challenged at church by people who are not like me—people from another walk of life, another generation, another perspective. God uses the diversity of the church to grow me in empathy and understanding.
I go to be with God’s people. These are the people who have loved me through thick and thin. They have wept with me, prayed for me, encouraged and rejoiced with me. They’ve brought me meals. They’ve packed and unpacked boxes. They’ve sat in my living room late into the night. They’ve shared life with me and consequently have shown me what Jesus really looks like. They are his people. Not only that, they are my people, my family, and I love them with all my heart.
But this isn’t everyone’s experience of church.
There’s a lot of church-hurt out there. Some of you have been burned. Me too. Some of you have experienced deep church hurt. Me too. If this is you, right now, sitting in the hurt, let me encourage you to seek healing. And as a representative of the church, let me also say: I’m so sorry. We fail. All the time. I for one have failed, over and over again. And I’ve also been on the receiving end of failures. YET, I’ve also experienced and witnessed otherworldly forgiveness, the costly kind. I’ve seen broken relationships restored. I’ve seen the gospel lived out in hard situations, and it is beautiful. We will fail one another, just as we fail our God. But just as our God has forgiven us, we too can offer and receive forgiveness. This is God’s heart for us, his people—to heal from the wounds we inflict on one another and to be restored. Please don’t let hurt define your experience of church and rob you from the fullness of sharing life with God’s people.
There’s a church for you.
There’s a place for you to be known and loved and brought in. There’s a place waiting, a people made ready to embrace you like Jesus has embraced them. I wish you lived in my town, ‘cause then it would be easy. I’d just invite you to sit with me next Sunday. We’re far from perfect. But we do love Jesus, and we try to love others with that same love. But unless you live in Jefferson City, Missouri, it might be a little hard for you to make it. So, while I may not be able to invite you to my church specifically, I can certainly invite you to church. So, consider yourself invited.
But which church?
You might be saying to yourself, “Yes. It’s time. I want that.” Or, maybe you're wondering, “Is my current church the right church?” I’m going way long here, so if this is you, follow this link to read more on our website.
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!