I Love Our Church
By Nathan Esser
On Sunday, April 28th, we will begin a new sermon series titled “I LOVE OUR CHURCH.” A few years ago, Dan Kimball wrote a book entitled, “They Like Jesus, But Not The Church.” The attitude in the title represents an expression of many in our society concerning the church. In recent years, people have said, “I love Jesus, but not the church,” and “I believe in God, but not the church.” What does this mean for us?
How do we, as the church, respond to a growing disconnect between the church and people in our communities?
God is calling us to enter into these conversations and share how our lives are different through our faith and the reasons why we love being a part of our congregation. Think about your own response. How has your faith transformed your life? What do you love the most about First Presbyterian Church?
Why do you sacrifice your time and share your gifts and resources with church?
Many of us might respond to these questions by saying something like, “the Bible says that’s what we should do!” That’s not at all a wrong answer. It’s absolutely true the Bible calls us to love the church. But, keep going! Go deeper. Many people might share about relationships forged through their participation in the ministry of the church. In worship, fellowship, study and service, we share our lives with other people. We share our struggles and fears with our questions, pain and grief. In response, the people of the church come alongside to walk the journey with us. I would not have the knowledge and understanding of God’s love for me, in the way that I do now, had it not been for the faithfulness and love that I’ve received from people in the church. Through the church, I have experienced the love of God.
Another response might sound something like, “We make a difference! We do good things in our community and the world around us.” As a church, we partner with local agencies and help support services that address the needs of many people in our communities. We not only provide financial support, we also donate various necessities such as food and clothing, and give our time and effort serving God and others through opportunities such as building homes through Habitat for Humanity, serving food at the Banquet and visiting elderly in care facilities.
I’d love to personally hear your stories and the reasons why you love our church. Take time to send me a note or email telling me what you love about the church or the impact it’s had in your life. I’d be thrilled to meet with and hear how God has blessed you through participation in our congregation. I hope you join with us through the series and consider inviting others to worship with you. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore ways that God is working through the church to transform lives and communities all around the world!
Rev. Nathan Esser
Nathan is the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. He can be reached at email@example.com.