People go to church for many reasons, but there are some bad and good ones. It’ll be good to follow the advice of a former French Catholic priest Abbe Pierre (1912–2007), who said, “It’s not enough to attend church and pray every Sunday; you have to act.”
Some may say that they go to church because on Sundays their family always attends church. They are simply following in their footsteps. It’s tradition. You would hear it often said, “We grew up in the church, so that’s why we’re in church?” This declaration doesn’t necessarily make complete sense as the main reason for wanting to attend a church.
Then, there are those who say that although they were never faithful about church going, it’s time to go. The reason being that they ought to lay down roots some place. They argue some churches won’t marry them when they are ready to wed a loved one. Some older people feel they have to be at a church that will bury them when they die. They may see this death as problematic to their family if they aren’t a church member. But these are still wrong reasons for going to church.
It doesn’t matter which church a person attends, but if he or she does so for this next reason they will be out of order. I have heard it said, “I want to meet a good Christian woman, so I’ll find a church, and I’ll meet the right person. Just don’t worry with the type that goes to nightclubs.” People who say these things are also missing the real reasons about what a church is all about.
Michele Bachmann (b. 1956), a Republican and former member of the United States House of Representatives, serves as a good example of a Christian upbringing. She wrote, “I was born in a Christian family and brought up in a Lutheran church. My faith has been the center point of my life, really, since I was a child, but at 16 years of age, I fully surrendered my life over to Christ. At that point, as a teenager, I began to grasp the concept of Christ’s true love and forgiveness.”
Some people may not like Bachmann’s politics, but it’s a wonderful thing to be introduced to a church as a child. It doesn’t matter which church it is, as long as it’s Christian, and preaches the Word of God. As a new member you’ll be baptized into the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. The pastor often reminds his or her congregation that they must help raise such a child in their community as a Christian. As the child grows up to become an adolescent, his or her parents will see to it that he or she is confirmed by the pastor or bishop. This rite indicates the child has attained the age of responsibility, and is matured enough to know the difference between right and wrong.
What is required?
As such persons grow in the faith’s tradition of their church – be it Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Baptist, they will be attending Christian formation classes. They will come to realize that they have been blessed with gifts, talent, and treasure that must be shared with their community.
Since they are now part of the body of Christ they will endeavor to fulfill their special missions. As older individuals they may discover they have the gift of giving and/or teaching. As a result they may do charitable work. They might work with manna, feed the poor and homeless, collect clothing for the underprivileged, and contribute funds to organizations e.g., cancer society, diabetic association, and mental health groups – only to mention a few of these.
Once they complete college and working they will tithe. Daily they read the Scriptures, attend a Bible study group, religious seminars, and are spiritually prepared to take the next step in life. Now they are planning for marriage. There’s no problem, for through their church they are able to receive from their pastor marriage counseling. So when it comes time to marry the groundwork is well laid. Once married the couple may be blessed with children. They will have them baptized at their church, and the cycle starts over again.
In their church they will celebrate baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, and anniversaries. Their family’s involvement is a living symbol to the other members of their church and community. They will have cultivated a variety of experiences while being a part of their church. But through it all they know that it’s their calling to help build up the body of Christ.
As much older adults they are sure to find peace of mind. So when dad and/or mom become ill and dies, in their afflictions they are assured that there’ll be a fitting Mass at their church. Further, they are certain that once they exit this earthly plain they will enjoy everlasting life in heaven.