Like all children, when our kids were toddlers, they went through what could be called the “Why?” phase. At that point, they had a deep curiosity simply to know why things worked the way they did. Those who study child development tell us that this is a normal part of a child’s intellectual growth. We also noticed that as they became adolescents, they entered another “Why?” phase—at this point, they often wondered what the purpose was behind what they were being asked to do at home or at school. Again, this was another normal phase of development during which they were beginning to make life choices and deciding where to invest their time and efforts. And if their “Why?” question wasn’t answered to their satisfaction, they often moved on to other pursuits that they perceived to be more purposeful, if that was an option.
I believe that we live in a culture that is constantly asking “Why?” questions. Like our teenaged children, we are busy people, with many options as to where we spend our time and resources. This includes our religious life and the choices available to all of us as to how we fulfill our spiritual needs. Unfortunately, we who choose the church as the place where that happens are not always very adept at answering the “Why?” questions. And so when someone asks us why we believe what we do or why the church is important to us, we are not sure exactly how to answer.
With this dilemma in mind, I am looking forward to our upcoming worship series entitled “Why?” On successive weeks beginning on Sunday, January 15th, , we will talk about the following essential “Why?” questions: “Why God?” , “Why Jesus?”, “Why the Church?” and “Why Our Church?” What I’ve discovered as I’ve pondered these questions over the years is that if I can’t answer them succinctly and satisfactorily for myself, it is very difficult to give a good answer to someone who asks me a question like “Can’t I be a Christian without going to church?” What I’ve also learned is that the Bible has many answers to these questions, so we will take a look at some of the helpful passages that we can use to formulate our answers. I hope to also take some time for open sharing during the services as well so that you might share your answers to these questions.
Two things are clear in considering these questions: First, until we figure out why we are a part of a church together, it is difficult to be focused on our mission and vision. Second, it may not be an overstatement to say that the future of our church and the universal church depends on us being able to know and then share why we believe what we believe and then why we live out our beliefs as we do. Because the reality is that there are countless people who are searching for answers and for a community in which to grow in spirit. If we can be clear in what Jesus and the church mean to us, then we will be more effective in inviting others to join us!