Looking for church in all the wrong places

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  July 25, 2015

For Rebecca and Robert it was just another disappointing Sunday. Like so many others, the church they visited certainly had its good points. It also lacked that particular essence for which they were looking. It was just another in a string of Sunday morning letdowns.
Both had grown up in the church. Although Rebecca and Robert came from vastly different Christian traditions they had each had their fair share of bad experiences growing up in the church. Sometimes Christians are the least Christian when they get hung up on the politics of being a church. The seeming lack of any form of Christian integrity on the part of a few in their childhood memories gave them all the ammunition they needed to say no to the church.
In college they reveled in the freedom of thought and expression, not to mention the fact that there was no obligation whatsoever to be in church. That was when they met and began to fall in love. Within a few years they were married and began their professional lives. In due time the family grew along with all of the responsibilities of maintaining a household. Church just did not seem to have the luster or the allure that it once had.
They had been invited to church on occasions and even visited once in a while over the many years since their childhood. Yet, they were never happy. No matter what the church, the worship style, or the particular tradition, Rebecca and Robert could always find 10 excuses to stay home the following Sunday.
Through it all they never lost their faith in God or their appreciation for the teachings of Scripture. Church just seemed too religious and what they really wanted was a relationship. Over time however, they developed a longing to reconnect with their past and began the quest to seek out a church.
What started as an enthusiastic journey of faith and discovery quickly proved to be an exercise in disappointment and frustration. One church was too conservative, the other too liberal. In one church the music was too loud and in the other it was old and boring. Some churches have nice pastors but cranky church members. Others have really nice church members but cold and distant pastors. Perhaps it was something said in a sermon, a scorning look by someone in the pews, or maybe it was just those pushy people at the door that seemed so excited that two visitors happen to be there that Sunday. Honestly, it didn’t matter what the excuse was. Every church they visited proved in one way or another that it could not be there church.
Nearing the end of their disappointing quest with the realization in their own minds that they would probably never find the church that was just right for them, Rebecca happened to mention to a friend the frustrations of their struggle. With a warm, appreciative smile, Rebecca’s friend responded, “Funny. I’ve always found church right where I am.” She went on to share with Rebecca how the church would always bear the imperfections of the women and men who gathered for worship. But she also noted how much more important it was that the imperfect people gathered as one to praise the name of the Lord than for all of them to try to go it alone without any support at all.
Rebecca went home that day and told her husband what happened. They thought about it. They prayed about it. Honestly, they even got a bit angry about it. After all, nobody likes to be told that the problem with the church is really a problem with them. Yet, when they got over their initial irritation they agreed to try again. This time they went to church to worship God and they found exactly what they were looking for.