Friday, June 29, 2018


When I was a kid, we went to church basically every Sunday. We went to church potlucks, camped in church campouts, had parts in the church Christmas play. I spent Sundays in the sanctuary and Wednesday nights in the youth group room and I wished many-a-time that my family could move into an old church. (definitely the baptismal was going to be a hot tub—can you imagine?!) Imagine my shock when I found out, years later, that my mom’s family actually did live in an old church when she was a kid.

When we got married, Ryan and I find a nice small-ish church and started attending their newlyweds class. We had one vehicle and he worked Sundays so we’d go to our Bible study together and then he’d drop me off at home on his way to work. It shocked everyone (though not enough that anyone ever offered to give me a ride [which I would probably have said no to]) that we would attend Bible study but not church, and I remember at the time wondering… why? I couldn’t really understand why it mattered if my Sunday morning church was in the form of prayer + no song + soul-changing message or prayer + songs + soul-changing message. It seemed kind of strange to me that everyone even thought what we were doing was strange.

We never found a church we liked in Wyoming but the church we attended in Utah was I’m pretty sure the very first church we tried there. If not, we found it pretty early-on. It was huge. No one ever recognized us, not even when we left in the middle of the Easter service because I thought my Braxton Hicks contractions were the real deal and a greeter whispered loudly, “Is it time?!” and we whispered back, “Hopefully not! We’ve still got a month to go!” We showed up every Sunday and I showed up to every mom’s night out but still not a single person brought us a baby meal, or at least congratulated us on our new baby… or at least recognized us once we started bringing that baby into the sanctuary a month later.

After we moved again, it took us a while to find a church. We loved it once we found it but again, it was huge. I only had two “friends” when we left there (we knew each other’s names but had never seen each other outside of church) and in the next town we tried probably ten different churches before circling back around to one that we had liked alright but just didn’t really love. Every Sunday we would walk through the doors and not hear “Good morning!” or “I’m sorry… remind me your name!” but instead, a brusque “We have a family room to your left.” We already knew about the family room (because the first time we sat in the sanctuary someone got up in the middle of the sermon and asked us to please relocate to that room, for once the baby woke up) and already sat in there every Sunday… and let me tell you, reading/hearing an inspiring message in that newlywed Bible study group brought so much more spiritual enrichment to my life than watching the pastor through a thick glass window while other families’ toddlers tried to rifle through my purse and the mom in front of me fed her child an entire loaf of white bread by ripping off the crusts and smooshing each piece of bread into a tiny ball.

And so we started church hopping. It just kind of happened. We found a church we liked-but-don’t-love and, I don’t know, semi-stuck with it. my mom’s group was through that church and three of my babies have been dedicated in that church but it still just doesn’t feel like quite the right fit for us. But it’s easy, so we call it our home church while attending various other churches and some Sundays just doing church at home.

I like church hopping. I like hearing so many different pastors speak. I like hearing different worship teams who play different songs, enjoying the different events and activities that make each church unique (Ryan’s aunt Julee makes cards with her church. Some churches still have quilting bees! Some have moms’ groups and some have “date nights” where kids play in the nursery and Mom & Dad watch movies like Fireproof with popcorn in the sanctuary, and some have hiking groups or softball teams or homeschool co-ops). I feel like I would miss out on so much if I only ever attended one church! But at the same time, reading Quit Church has made me realize that I’m actually missing out on a lot by not attending only one church.

The title and subtitle of this book are definitely misleading since this book is actually encouraging everyone to be MORE involved in their church. Along with regular attendance, other topics it addressed were tithing/giving, serving, and small group fellowship.

Obviously this book hit home for me in quite a few areas but it was written in such a way that I never felt defensive or bristled... although I did admittedly think a couple times, "But I like MY way!" =] There were a few times I’d feel like I had some kind of great excuse (I have four small children, just off the top of my head) and a paragraph or two later my excuse would kind of be shut down and I’d think, “Well why’d you go and do that?!”

Also, there was one part about attendance where he said something about not letting ____ be an excuse for missing church and one example was being sick. That always bothers me when people have that kind of mentality about illness. I definitely don’t want my own family dealing with even a cold if we can help it, and I just want to take a minute to step up on my soapbox (You like it? Ryan built it for me) to say that going out when you are sick is more than just “a minor inconvenience” to a lot of people! Your simple little cold could literally kill a premature baby or someone going through chemotherapy! It could cause huge setbacks in healing for someone recovering from an injury or a surgery. It could cause a chain reaction of problems for a little one, for the elderly, or for someone with an immunodeficiency. It could end up really ripping up a family who can’t afford for that sick person to take off even one day of work. Just, please, think about it. [steps down from soapbox]
I can’t imagine we’ll ever give up homechurch. It just feels too good to sometimes do “church” in our pajamas, especially when somebody is sick or when Ryan’s worked six days in a row and the whole family is exhausted and oversocialized… but then again, I refer you to that first paragraph. That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to have church friends. I want them to have fond memories of playing Kick the Can in the church parking lot and of the legitimate magic of playing hide-and-seek in the rectory. I want them to have a million and one happy memories of their church life and their church family. They can’t have that if they don’t have a church.  

Quit Church made me think and want to make some changes, and I definitely think pretty much everyone will get something out of it since it deals with so many different areas of a person's church life! I’m not sure what these changes will look like but I’m looking forward to finding out!

*I got a free copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for this honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I read your new stuff daily. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!


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