I pulled into the parking lot of a church I’d never been to and tried to figure out whether it was my heart or my engine that was racing. Turns out my engine was just fine. It took every ounce of courage I had to keep walking through the front door of this unfamiliar place. Right when I walked in, a friendly face welcomed me inside and pointed me to some free coffee. Maybe this place was different. And maybe I didn’t have to be scared of church anymore.
If you’re new to church, you’re not alone. I feel you, and I’ve been there. There are so many things about church that seem scary—or even downright weird. If you’re like me, you may have wondered things like, Why are they raising their hands during the music parts? Do I have to wear a dress or a suit? Because that’s probably a hard pass from me. Is it going to be boring? Will I fit in? Can church people use some invisible force that tells them what I did last night?
But here’s what you need to know: Church isn’t a building where perfect people go. Church is a bunch of broken people, like you and me, who are seeking the only perfect person who ever lived—Jesus. Church is the safest place for you to ask questions, find relationships, and experience a God who loves you despite your imperfections. Believe me, if you can find a place like my church, Life.Church, you can put your fears to rest, too.
Here are three reasons I’m not scared of church anymore.
- You can belong before you believe. If you wait to go to church until you feel like you have your life together, odds are you’ll never end up going. Why? Because waiting to go to church until you’re better is like waiting to see a doctor until you’re healed. Or waiting until you’re clean to take a shower. Church isn’t a place for polished people; it’s a place for all people. In fact, Jesus explained He came for sinners, not those who thought they were righteous. If you feel like you’re not good enough for God, you’re right. But our faith isn’t based on us being good; it’s based on Jesus being perfect. Don’t let your past mistakes keep you from a hope-filled future. You can go to church before you even understand what this whole Jesus thing is all about. That’s one big reason Church exists, to help you sort that out.
- Church is never too big for you. When I first walked into church, I was overwhelmed by how many people there were. I didn’t think it mattered whether I showed up or not. But the truth is, it does matter, because going to church isn’t about the building—it’s about connecting with God’s kids. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but to encourage one another. God didn’t create us to live in isolation—He designed us to crave community. Maybe it starts with finding a LifeGroup. It may seem uncomfortable, but I promise finding friends at church is so much easier and better than you think.
- There are needs in the church that God designed you to meet. When I first went to church, I barely knew the story of David and Goliath (cheat sheet on that), so I certainly felt unqualified to do anything for God. After someone asked me to start serving in LifeKids, I realized that God specializes in using unqualified people for His work. In fact, Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God created each of us with a purpose to do good things He has already prepared for us. I’m living proof that if you’re willing to say “yes,” God will do the rest. In fact, I think it’s even better that He uses unlikely people because then He gets all the credit.
So if you’re still worried about the whole church thing, just know that no one else has it together either, and that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be. And P.S., church people don’t have laser sensors to know your past. You may be surprised to find out that church, and church people, are way better than you even imagined—no dress or suit required.