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Will I Catch on Fire if I Walk into Church?

Self | Attie Murphy | 7 mins

Are you looking for a way to meet people in your community? Are you curious about Jesus or have faith but haven't "walked the walk" in a while? You might think, "Isn't church for people who follow these crazy rules in the Bible book?" Here's a little not-so-secret secret: None of us are perfect at doing what the Bible tells us to do. We all fall short of living the way God asks us to (Romans 3:23). So if you're less than saint-like, join the crowd. Or maybe it's the belief system that worries you. Here's another tip: You don't have to believe in God to go to church. You can question the Bible and go to church. If you've tried church and were pushed away for having doubts, I'm sorry you didn't get to see what God's mission is truly about. If you're reading this article, I'm guessing you're at least curious about church, and I hope you'll consider the points below. 

The Church isn't a building.

It helps to understand what "the Church" means. God calls His followers to encourage each other and spread the Gospel (message of Jesus) wherever they are. Walking into a church doesn't make you part of the Church, and that building isn't extra-holy ground that makes you “holy." It is valuable for Christians to build churches because that helps the organization and growth of God's Kingdom. Churches create open doors and provide tangible outreach to people in need. Jesus shows us that church isn't a country club for saints; it’s a hospital for sinners. It's for people like you and me. You don't need to have it all together or know what the Bible says. Entering a church building is about connecting with the people inside, not joining an exclusive club. 

"While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Mark 215-17

What if I'm not ready to change?

Will people at church call you out if you don't attend every week? Will you get shunned if you don't start changing your habits? First of all, the Church is not about rules, it is about a relationship.  Sure, regular  connection at a service is important for Christians to strengthen our faith, but it’s not a “ritual” that God tallies. Following Jesus is about a personal relationship with Him.  As you live in relationship with Him, growing to be like Him, you will want to pursue His will but this doesn’t mean you won’t ever mess up again. One of the most incredible things about the “Church” when it is what God made it to be is that you belong, whether you're already a believer or just curious about what Christians are up to.

It's good to have questions.
We should all have questions. No matter who you are or where you come from, you can reach out to church team members with your thoughts. It's okay to disagree or doubt what you hear in church.

I may seem biased on this topic, but I'm not someone who often feels at home in "church culture." Although I was taught about Jesus from a young age, I never experienced a traditional church-family lifestyle. My family moved around a lot, and I remember spending time at several churches with dysfunctional and judgmental leadership. I continued to church-hop as an adult and felt like an outsider with people who had gone to the same Bible study most of their lives. Not long ago, I attended a church I felt "so-so" about and wondered if that was as good as it would get. Then I started working for Sun Valley. I discovered what it looks like for a biblically sound church to have an authentic community. That inspired me to keep searching for a local church (While also watching SV online!), and I recently found one where I'm hoping to sink in my roots.

All this to say, God loves you, the real you. No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you. Nothing you've done will cause you to catch fire if you walk into a church. If you've never experienced a relationship with Jesus, He’s inviting you to learn more about His grace.

After bringing friends to church, the main complaints I've received are: "The things the pastor calls bad are things I want to do." or "I feel uncomfortable being myself around Christians." Well, same. We all face temptation and we hide our imperfections from each other. For Christians, we need to let newcomers know we have the same thoughts they do. We are a group of people who are in process. When we invite people to church, we should offer it like any other invitation to something we love and care about. It shouldn’t come with “You need Jesus” self-righteousness or expectations that our invitees will take a vow of purity. We are here to love people. Love requires us to speak with both grace AND truth, but in my experience, we need to build a relationship first.

Are you spiritual, religious, agnostic, or atheist? Here's what I want you to know: God loves you. Full stop; if you get nothing else out of this article, that is my message. We are here for you.

I recommend trying an Alpha group to join a conversation about life, faith and meaning. All kinds of people attend Alpha; you definitely don’t need to have it all figured out. It's a great opportunity to share perspectives and meet new people from all walks of life!


Written By

Attie Murphy

An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Oct 20, 2022