• "I'm too busy to go to church."
  • "The sermons are dull and the music is sleepy. Why should I come just to be bored?"
  • "Church people are such hypocrites. They don't practice what they preach!"
  • "I'd rather watch TV and stay home."
  • "The church only wants money or my willingness to serve on a committee."
  • "I'm young or I'm divorced or I'm poor. They don't want me."
  • Why do we need to go to church?

"Do you believe in God?" I tend to reply to any of the above.

"Oh, yes ... I'm just not ready to go back to church."

For years, my favorite excuse for not going to church was, "I work six days a week in a suit and tie. I just want to sleep-in, relax and read the paper. Why should I dress up again on my only day off?" Truthfully, I just did not feel any great need to be in church. Obviously, my situation changed but why?

Zig Ziglar, a well-known motivational speaker and author, literally sold me on the benefits of becoming a Christian and attending church now instead of putting it off until later. Zig described the local church as the body of Christ showing me a piece of Heaven today — not just heaven when I die.

So what is that piece of heaven? What are those benefits of attending church? I thought you would never ask:

  • Longer life: Insurance studies show regular church attendance adds 5.7 years to your life.
  • Wealth: The Bible is full of methods for effectively managing your money.
  • Peace: There is a special peace of mind knowing God will always be there, no matter what.
  • Purpose: It's exciting to know God has a special purpose for your life and mine.
  • Courage: God will give you courage and strength to make ethical and moral stands.
  • Love: Learning to love others the way God loves you is a source of happiness and comfort.
  • Forgiveness: Learning to forgive yourself and others can literally heal your body and your soul.

This is just the short list, but what a picnic basket full of luscious blessings! You live longer. Manage your financial resources more efficiently. Enjoy peace of mind. Receive supernatural courage to take a stand. Experience the breathtaking love of God and obtain the healing medicine of forgiveness.

Why do we need to go to church? "Because the church is still the best way to strengthen your relationship with God and with others, find your life's purpose and receive those special benefits."

Thanks to Zig Ziglar, I started attending church regularly again with a whole new attitude. Yes, at times, I was busy, the music was awful, the preacher was boring and people are still hypocrites. However, I also discovered an indescribable love and peace. I found a source for encouragement and a place of acceptance. The church isn't perfect, but what human institution is? The Bible says it best:

Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Here is a dramatic way to think about your current relationship with God and the church.

A newspaper ad designed by Church Ad Project shows a black and white photograph of six men carrying a coffin. The caption reads: "Will it take six strong men to bring you back into the church?"

My first reaction was shock but the ad made me pause and think. What about you?

Let's face it. You do need the church and the church definitely needs you. If you've not been to church in awhile ... come back. We've missed you. If you are already active with a church, share this story with a friend and invite him/her to join you. It sure beats the alternative offered by this ad. Ecch!!

So the choice is yours, you can choose seven wonderful blessings or six strong men for your next visit. I don't know about you, but I've already made my choice.