Most people arent fortunate enough to attend their home church while at school. For many students, this provides them with one of their first opportunities to look for a church on their own, free from the constraints of their parents or anyone else.
Some students search for a home church to attend while theyre at school. Some visit and explore all their church options to figure out what kind of church to look for upon graduation. And others hop from church to church at random, occasionally frequenting one for a period of time before moving on to the next.
It is that last option that bothers me because I have done that for two years and have found it to be unfulfilling.
While plenty of people here are plugged in at churches, the reality is that there is a large number of people who drift from one church to another for all four years of school, and I was on my way to becoming one.
I have been at Cedarville for three years, and this is the first year that I have really started to get plugged in at a church. Ive bounced between three or four other churches until now, mostly because Ive been dependent on others for transportation. I went where my friends went. I would go, sit, sing, listen and then leave without even speaking to anyone.
Eventually I realized that what I was doing was wrong. To me, church had become just another thing to mark off my spiritual formation report. For a while I was convinced that it really wasnt so bad. I excused it by blaming my lack of a car for not being plugged in anywhere. While there might have been some truth to that, I knew I was making excuses for being noncommittal.
This is why being noncommittal is bad without connection to a church, accountability and fellowship do not exist. Its easy for people to slip through the cracks if their only interaction with the church body is smiling at the guy who passes out the bulletins at the front door.
Church should be more than just showing up and gaining some morsel of spiritual wisdom for the week. It should be about building community, serving others, loving others and, mostly importantly, learning more about Christ. Those things cannot happen without other people.
Also, fellowship with older and wiser believers is invaluable. Its hard to get that kind of edification at college because most students I spend time with at school are people of the same age.
Being noncommittal also turns church attendance into a me-centered activity. Somehow it became acceptable for people to base their church-going schedule on their sleeping schedule. Drifting makes this easy. The desire to sleep in Sunday prompts people to go to a church that offers a Saturday night service. Staying up too late on Saturday night sends people to the late service on Sunday at the church with the closest location. Or for those who attend Bedside Baptist, sleeping takes precedence over going to church at all.
What a privilege it is to meet with a body of believers in the first place. The church is a fellowship of believers who have been united in Christ because of His redeeming salvation. Its not a place to go; its a gathering to take part in. Its not a building; its believers.