“Do I haaaaave to go to church?”

“Do I haaaaave to go to church?”

If you are a parent, this refrain may be familiar. As in, every Sunday morning familiar.

I remember repeating that question myself every week, for pretty much my entire adolescence. (Just ask my parents.)

So I was not surprised when our daughters began asking us that same question each Sunday. For years, it’s been a part of our weekly ritual of getting ready for church. I had assumed that it would continue to accompany us, like a loyal golden retriever, each Sunday morning until we became empty nesters.

This year, our oldest daughter, Helen, surprised us. This year, she was the one who implored us on those few Sundays when Chris and I stayed up too late the night before and were entirely unmotivated to rouse ourselves. “We haaaaave to go to church!” she insisted, the last time we dragged our feet.

I wish I could say that Chris and I swayed Helen’s opinions of church through some compelling arguments or some spiritual maturity we oozed and she absorbed by osmosis. But we have done nothing differently this year. The only difference is what God is doing in her.

God has been working in her, just as God has been working in our church in the discernment process. The past few weeks we have been in a sermon series on Church: What’s the Point? I never would have guessed that a $1.6M windfall would so loudly and clearly show us what the point of church is. We’ve remembered LaSalle’s history of bridge-building and advocacy; we’ve helped neighbors near and far with our LoveLetGo checks; we’ve seen passions ignited and fueled. We’ve been church together. And it’s been a remarkable experience.

Helen wrote her major research paper this year on the decline in church attendance and influence in America. She introduced her paper with LaSalle’s welcome message, followed by her reflections:

Every Sunday I have the privilege of seeing this message come alive. The diversity amongst the attendees paints an extremely different picture from what I am used to seeing at school. But it is not the diversity that truly amazes me, it is the community created. The community filled with love, compassion, hope, and faith is the strongest community I have ever seen. Even though a pair of attendees sitting next to one another might have nothing in common other than their love for Jesus, they accept each other, love each other, and will stand up for each other.

That is the point of church. And that’s why I haaaaave to go.

by Ami Campbell

Angelfish Prayer School

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