People do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. Often I suspect we make choices and decisions without being really aware of why we are making those decisions. I’m always interested when these studies come out where people tell their reasons for choosing to become members of a particular church. Usually such studies involve both people who have moved into a city or area and are deciding where they will become members of a particular church or those who have just become Christians and were added to a particular church. If you were asked to give your top three reasons for picking the church where you attend as the place where you will worship and serve God, what reasons would you give?
Most of the survey’s I’ve seen on this topic give people some multiples from which to choose rather than just asking an open-ended question that they could answer. I do wonder if they didn’t have choices down for people and they were just answering for themselves if their answers would be different. One other thing that I’ve noticed among people whom I just ask the question of why they chose to become part of a particular church as their place to serve the Lord is that many can’t give a specific reason because it is more subjective than objective. They chose a particular place because they feel accepted, loved and appreciated at a place. Others have said they couldn’t put a finger on it but that they felt at home in a particular place and thought that was the place where they wanted to be.
Please do understand that no matter what people give as their reasons for going to a particular place we can’t just change everything to fit what they like. In many areas the church must do what God tells us to do whether anyone likes it or not. Suppose people began saying they didn’t want to attend a church where they served the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. They might say that it takes up so much time and energy and they can’t stand the quiet that goes along with the communion. Should we as a church change to fit what the world thinks would be good even if it doesn’t fit what the Bible teaches? I don’t think that would be a good option. Our primary duty is to please the Lord and if he is displeased it won’t matter about other things that have gone.
With those things in mind notice what the top three answers are as to why people worship and serve God in a particular church they have chosen to become part of. The first answer given was that we go where we go to church because we like the preaching. They discussed liking the preachers ways of delivering the lessons and his heart for the people. Most of them talked about the sermons being practical and usable by them on a daily basis. Some mentioned things like clarity, being simple and understandable. Some mentioned that the sermons were Bible based and began in the Scriptures and ended there with them making up most of what was in the middle. Some mentioned that the sermons carried them back to Jesus and the cross on a regular basis. It was seldom mentioned that they were witty or funny. But people wanted to know it was motivated or practical to some ministry or work in the church. Most wanted to know if the a thing was really in the Bible or if the other person was making it up as they went. Preaching should always be bound up in the word of God and should serve to help people to understand the word and tell them the things they need to hear and learn from the word of God.
The second most common answer as to why people chose to worship and serve at a particular church was that feeling of acceptance in a church. It was described in a variety of ways. Some said that they felt very comfortable in what they heard and saw in people. Others described it as people being so friendly to them and making them feel at home in the group. When we meet and greet people in church we are planting a great seed and may well be opening the door of their hearts to God.
The third most common answer as to why people worship and serve where they do was because of the other people who worship there. Generally people are looking for friends. They know that the greatest number of people they would like to spend time with tend to be those who share your faith in Christ. So they go to church looking for people that seem to be like them and fit into their mold.
Why did you choose to worship and serve where you do? Just know this that choices we make on where to worship and serve God may well affect all of our eternity and the destiny of your children. My choices ought to fit God’s choices as well. If I choose a place that pushes me away from God rather than pulling me closer I’ve messed up.