Stop and Stare

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Earlier today I was thinking about how strange church is. Take a minute to think about it: hundreds of people gather together weekly to sing songs and raise their hands to a deity we can’t see, then a person stands up and talks about said deity for 20-45 minutes (depending on your denomination of choice) and then you go home. In the course of that time, you’re instructed to shake someone’s hand (without any regard to germs) and give some of your hard-earned money away. And, those who are truly committed are encouraged to sacrifice their time by serving at this strange gathering and to even have interaction with these folks in their homes or other settings, all to talk about this guy we can’t see.

I get why some people don’t come to church: It’s strange! It’s completely counter-intuitive to me, a selfish person, to sacrifice my time without a clear reward at the end. On the surface, church seems like a strange place to devote your time and energy to, and yet there’s an overwhelming reward.

I met my best friend and some of my favorite people by serving with them at church!
I’ve found some of the things I’m passionate about by serving at church! 
I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not sacrificed my time to serve at church. 

I already said it before, but I am a selfish person. Before I met the Lord (after being dragged to church for about 3 years), I was all about myself, not caring if the benefits for me came at the expense of others. But then a pastor noticed me and asked me to serve with the kids. In my head I was thinking “ugh! Kids are the worst! Why would I do that?” but, because I knew it would please my parents, I did it. After a while, I realized that I love those little kids! This exciting discovery led me to try other things at church. At the church, I learned I could actually sing. At the church, I began learning piano. At the church, I discovered I could act. At the church, I discovered I can administrate. All of that began because someone else had the courage to ask me a question!

Is there anyone you have a question for? 

Maybe your question is “Will you come to church with me?” or, if you’re serving in a church somewhere, it could be “I’ve noticed you before. Have you ever thought about serving here?”. If you lead a small group, is there anyone you’ve been wanting to invite to your gathering? Or, maybe it’s simpler than that, maybe you just need to ask someone to get coffee with you and take some time to learn their story.

Church is weird and church people are even weirder. But, does that have to be a bad thing? Being selfless is weird. Being devoted is weird. Building relationships is uncomfortable. Doing live together and being accountable to someone is just downright strange. Exhibiting the characteristics of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness are all out of the ordinary. But all of these things are desperately needed. In a society that’s hurting and looking for answers, maybe a little of that weirdness isn’t so bad.

So be yourself. Be selfless. Be a servant. Make people stop and stare. 

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