For many reasons.
It is interesting, because over the past year, the Lord has really been working on my heart regarding this topic. I gave my life to the Lord at a very young age. I believe I was 12 or 13 years old. A year later, I decided to become baptized in the church that I grew up in.
I will admit that at the time, I was not old enough to comprehend the vastness of my decision. I was joining a church and committing myself to it. I attend a church that takes this commitment very seriously, and so my lifestyle changed by default. Yes, because I gave my life to Christ. But also due to areas that my church strongly encouraged and/or discouraged.
Over the years, I have had a chance to develop my Christian walk, grow in the Lord, and have several life experiences. As I have done so, my attitude about my church has grown from mild annoyance, at times, to huge appreciation. I realize now the importance of a complete surrender to Christ with all areas of my life, not because my "church told me to" but because my church is there to support me and be an amazing guide as my spiritual leadership, via a diverse ministering pulpit of men who love God and strive to speak the Truth of His Word, many attending brothers and sisters in Christ, and also a unique traditional worship service as well as fellowship.
I was talking to one of my friends the other night who used to attend our church but now no longer does. He has been attending another church for a few years now, and he really likes it. I asked him if he ever missed our church. He said that was tough to answer, and he really didn't give me a complete one. But, the part that stuck out to me was when he said, "This may seem odd, but I feel like there is some deep feeling that is satisfied when I come back to this church. Maybe it's just that connection to my past and what I grew up in, but I can't help but feel it."
Which leads into the biggest thing I love about my church. It's connectedness. The people who are are members of my church are often stereotyped; it's easy to do, I will admit. And there is quite a range to work from. Yet one thing that remains true to my church and its uniqueness is this: I could fly 8 states away and show up in one of the churches there in a small, random town, and 3 people would be related to me, 6 people who know my parents, and everyone would welcome me as a fellow sister in Christ (or should.)
Going back to my discussion with my friend. His passion right now, he told me, is the concept of being a unified body of Christ regardless of where you attend church. I love this, as well. Denominations can be vast and different; but at the end of the day, aren't we all on the same team? We may have different worship styles, leaders, ministries, pastors, and teachers... but isn't our end goal the same? My thought is that the end goal is to follow Christ, be baptized, and glorify Him by using the talents from the body of believers. No matter where you attend, there will be flaws. There will be divisions, posers, and there will be Satan trying to destroy every good thing. And for those out there looking for a perfect church; you won't find it.
I heard a sermon on the radio a couple months back from one of my favorite guys; he's pretty dynamic. He said with all passion, "When should you stop attending your church? When GOD stops attending there."
So with all that in my mind, I have found the Lord calling me to embrace where He has me. I have had the opportunity to get involved in a few different ministries connected to my church over the past year in which have been such an amazing blessing to my life. I am finding that I can't glorify the Lord or bloom where I am planted unless I get involved with where I am.
I know that I wear rose-colored glasses. I am an incurable optimist, someone who would always rather see the potential rather than watch the imminent storm rolling in. So maybe it's easy for me to see the good... but at the same time, I will say that over the past year, at times in my life where I should have thrown up my hands and given up, or felt like walking away, I have only felt the Lord dropping opportunities in my lap to shine for Him, use my talents to enhance my church and other ministries, and developed a love in my heart for a place that I want to continue to grow.
I was talking to a friend today who was discouraged for reasons I don't really want to blog about. But tonight, as I was riding my bike (which always seems to clear my mind), I had a thought. God is faithful. Period. And He will convey this faithfulness to us when we are faithful to Him. So as long as we do our part in faith, He will be glad to lead us, to be with us, and to reward us in His faithfulness and His promises.
Love you all... T