I love going to church. When the movements all started about "loving Jesus but hating the church," I was definitely not the one who was leading the pack. I have never felt contempt or regret after going to a physial church building on Sunday mornings.
With that being said, I understand the frustrations people have with the church. I mean, the church IS dying for a reason. Many of them lack a missional focus and bring about hyprocrisies and stereotypes that most Christians wouldn't like to be associated with. And if so much of what the church brings into our lives is negative, then why do we need churches in the first place? It is easy to get way too involved and no longer find rest in worship, to find offense in what the preacher says, to find ourselves church hopping in order to please our own wants or to be prideful in knowing we regularily attend church. I bet that most people would say they have entered a church building at some point hoping to find comfort and left feeling overworked, offended, consumeristic or proud. To me, that doesn't really sound like it's accomplishing the mission of the church. And if the church isn't what's bringing people to God, rather being what turns people away, then why have one?
Churches come in all shapes, sizes and forms - each with a set of good and bad qualities. At my home church, I walk in and am greeted right away. Most people seem more overjoyed to see their friends and the free coffee service than to actually be at worship. However, the music pulls people in and the message blows us all out of the water. We leave feeling refreshed and ready to start the week. This past Sunday I was required to attend a Catholic Mass for my Music History class. The difference between that service and my usual was almost unfathomable. Nobody spoke a word, the music was latin chant and tradition consummed every aspect of that hour. Nonetheless, as I sat there, I couldn't help but be in awe over the beauty of tradition - of the music and the customs. There was a sort of reverence towards God that I think is lost in non-denominational protestant churches today. We make such a deal being relational with God, without taking time to just be in awe of how Big God is.
If church was able to keep a balance between both pursuing a relational God as well as being reverent towards the Creator of the Universe, then would church be more successful? Or, would the mission of God (for the church people) be more successful if we got rid of the buildings all together? If the church is the people, not the building, why have a building? What's the good in that? IS there good in that?
Maybe it is that church gives us time in our crazy lives to set aside for God (and that may be just what we need). Maybe it is because worshipping in fellowship with other believers is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given us. Maybe it is because churches provide us a place and time to dedicate to God in worship, with humility, reverence and community. Church allows us to come together, to dream together, to praise together - ultimately helping each other to be more faithful as citizens of God's Kingdom. And this, precisely, is why I love church.