I was born in Denver, Colorado and spent a number of years living in Wyoming both as a child and as an adult. For the most part, if you live in Colorado, or a neighboring state, you had better be a Denver Bronco football fan. At least our family thought you should be and we all were die hard fans for years. Some of my children are still such fans.
We lived and died through the John Elway years of watching the Broncos struggle to finally become Superbowl champions. Unfortunately, during those early years, our church service started at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon and we were forced to record the games on the VCR and then make sure that we didn’t talk to anyone or mistakenly turn on a radio lest our joy of watching the game might be spoiled.
This weekly ordeal was especially a tortuous thing for my oldest son, the most radically loyal fan of all, even to this day. Many a Sunday he would plead with me, practically in tears, “Can’t we miss church…just this once?”, to which I would unswervingly answer, “Get in the car!”. Football season was quite painful for him and I am sure that to some degree those times of sacrificing the Broncos for church was more than he could bear, perhaps scarring him for life.
As I think about ‘having to go to church’, I find myself asking a much bigger question, “Why would anyone want to miss church?” It is then that I realize how many truly bad church experiences there are out there. I feel badly for some of the churches I dragged my kids into. As I reflect on what those were, I think to myself, “I wished I would have missed many of those Sundays!” Why? Because they weren’t an accurate representation of what church is supposed to be.
I understand all of the negative emotions and feelings that people have about church, because I have personally experienced many of them myself. It is no wonder people don’t want to go to church, or get an uneasy feeling in their stomachs when they think about having to go. As I read through the New Testament, specifically the book of Acts, I realize how far away we have strayed from what Jesus intended His church to be.
As a Christian and pastor, I am committed to spending the rest of my life accurately representing Jesus Christ and His church in a biblical manner that is attractive to those who are seeking ‘the real deal’. I am confident that there are many out there who are looking, and I am determined to pray them in my direction.