Chorus-pondence from Gene LeVasseur
During the last week of June, I attended a worship conference in Kansas City that was wonderful—500 music directors gathered with the best in our field to lead worship, share, teach, inspire, and enjoy fellowship with God.
Dinner was on our own, and my hotel provided breakfast and a light dinner, so I returned to the hotel for dinner. As I was sitting in the dining area a group of men entered wearing extreme winter clothing—this was the last week of June and temperatures were 94 and humid! I asked one of them why they were dressed this way and he explained that the crew were electricians working in a cold storage facility at -10 degrees. He then asked what I was doing in KC, and I told him about the worship conference. He told me that he attended church as a child but quit after he was confirmed. He didn’t “need” to attend church, and asked, “Why church?”
I paused for a few seconds while structuring my response. These 10 seconds of silence prompted him to say, “I thought so. I’ve gotta go.” He left me before I could answer his question! Arg!
I sat there in shock and then got very upset with myself for not immediately responding. Those who know me well know that I often speak before thinking things through, so this was not a normal situation for me.
The next evening I was again eating at the hotel and in came the same crew. I immediately invited that same man to my table and told him I had an answer to his question. He was tired and a bit uncomfortable, but graciously invited me to answer. I told him that faith is more than a weekly gathering, but that it is not less than that. I used a sports analogy: attending weekly worship services is like the huddle of a football team. We Christians huddle once a week to corporately praise God, but it’s like a strategy meeting, not the “game.” We gather to give God glory and to remember Jesus’ sacrifice through communion, but we also get inspiration and encouragement from the teaching and fellowship to help us live out our faith in the “game”—everyday life. Praise God! This man received my answer with kindness and grace.
I thank God for the second chance I was given to answer the question “Why church?” and I pray that you will dig deep into your soul to ponder this question for yourself and be ready with your answer!
The church gives me the scriptures, Jesus, prayer and so many wonderful people. I thank God for every brother and sister in Christ here at Our Savior’s. I pray that you will be inspired to gather every week for our “huddle” to worship together. St. Cyprian (A.D. 200–258), one of the early saints of the church, wrote, “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the church for his mother.”
For me, church has always been about both the doctrine and the relationships. One without the other of these doesn’t reach as deeply into my heart and soul. Doctrines alone turns me into a passive listener, relationships alone often magnify the people rather than God. I find when I focus on both doctrine and relationships at church that I feel that I am dwelling with God.