An Open Letter to My Friend Who Has Stopped Going to Church


Hey, Sweet Friend…

I’m writing to let you know that we’ve missed YOU in our fellowship!

We really have! No, we haven’t called or checked on you like we should have. I’m really sorry for this.

We’ve not been as sensitive as we should have been. We’ve dropped the ball in our follow through. We’ve failed you in our outreach.

Have you stopped attending church? Maybe you got hurt or maybe you just got out of the habit of going? This letter is written to you - to invite you to come back. No matter what has happened to you, we still need you in the church and you still need us. Read to discover why.

But, I’m reaching out to you now – today. I really hope it’s not too late.

I want to invite you to come back to church. 

And, I want to give you 5 good reasons why you should even consider coming back.

This is “An Open Letter to My Friend Who Has Stopped Going to Church.”

Reason One – You were created to worship God corporately and publicly.

There is something that God put deep within our souls that NEEDS to be around other believers. Listen to the wise words of David Mathis:

“Worshiping Jesus together may be the single most important thing we do. It plays an indispensable role in rekindling our spiritual fire and keeping it burning.

Corporate worship brings together God’s word, prayer, and fellowship, and so makes for the greatest means of God’s ongoing grace in the Christian life.”  (Source noted below).

As an example of this… I sing in the choir at my church. As much as I enjoy a great solo, there is nothing quite like the intricate and beautiful music of a choir that sings in harmony while being accompanied by a group of instrumentalists. It’s amazing! It’s beautiful!

~ Come back to the church to rekindle the spiritual fire and for the sheer beauty of worship.

Reason Two – You need the support & accountability.

Have you stopped attending church? Maybe you got hurt or maybe you just got out of the habit of going? This letter is written to you - to invite you to come back. No matter what has happened to you, we still need you in the church and you still need us. Read to discover why.I had a friend in college who swore that he could be a great Christian all by himself. He didn’t need the church, the fellowship, or the accountability. I have no idea where he is today, but I think he must have grown weary walking all by himself.

We were NOT made to walk through this Christian life all by ourselves.

We are part of an incredible team. It’s like the members of a football team huddling up before a big game.

When you and I skip church, we miss the huddle. We go out into the “game” of life unprepared and all alone. God created us to be surrounded by and supported by our teammates.

~ Come back to church for the support and the strength of the team.

Reason Three – We need you and your gifts.

When you met Jesus as Savior, He specially gifted YOU with a spiritual gift. One of the best places to use this gift is within (and in association with) a local body of believers.

Because you are away, there are gaping holes. No one else can fill that role that was specially designed by God for you!

You are the only one who can meet that particular need and serve in that particular way.

~ Come back to church because God has gifted you in a precise way, and we need you!

Reason Four – Your family and friends need your testimony.

You are the pivotal piece in someone else’s spiritual journey. Click To Tweet

Your kids, grandkids, spouse, extended family, friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers are watching your Have you stopped attending church? Maybe you got hurt or maybe you just got out of the habit of going? This letter is written to you - to invite you to come back. No matter what has happened to you, we still need you in the church and you still need us. Read to discover why.life.

None of us live in isolation. All of us make an impact. The sheer testimony that you give when you get up and take part weekly in corporate worship is powerful. Your actions will affect others.

~ Get up and come to church because you want to be the “light” to those around you.

Reason Five – The Bible instructs us to gather together in groups to worship.

I’m sure you know this reason, but I couldn’t really leave it out. The writer of Hebrews put it this way:

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:25-26)

Have you stopped attending church? Maybe you got hurt or maybe you just got out of the habit of going? This letter is written to you - to invite you to come back. No matter what has happened to you, we still need you in the church and you still need us. Read to discover why.

~ Come back to church because God wants you to; He instructs you to come.

That’s it!

I’m finished with my plea for you to come back and join us. I know it’s hard sometimes to regularly attend a church. I’m a pastor’s wife, and there are some days when I don’t want to get up and go to church.

I know you may have been deeply hurt by the church or some of the people in the church. Don’t let that keep you away from all of the good things!

Church attendance is a worthwhile, necessary, and beneficial practice. Click To Tweet

Why don’t you just take it one week at a time?

Here’s what I suggest for this week:

  • Tell the Lord that you don’t want to go, but you will do it anyway.
  • Decide to attend one service this week.
  • Tell 3 friends that you will attend, and invite them to pray for you.
  • Make yourself go. Just do it – force yourself to walk through the doors.
  • Reward yourself afterward. Take yourself to lunch or dinner.
  • Be willing to try it again.

So, what do you think?Have you stopped attending church? Maybe you got hurt or maybe you just got out of the habit of going? This letter is written to you - to invite you to come back. No matter what has happened to you, we still need you in the church and you still need us. Read to discover why.

  • Are you involved in church? Why or why not?
  • Have you stopped attending? I’d love to hear why?
  • What might draw you back into attendance?
  • How can I pray for you today?

I always enjoy hearing from you!

 


Were you encouraged by what you read today?

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Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?

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© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About helloredds@gmail.com

Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

67 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Friend Who Has Stopped Going to Church

  1. Another fantastic post! I love the Hebrews 10 passage (one of my favorites)! I pray that God let’s this message hit home and encourages many people to give church another try. I further pray that this post will inspire many of us to reach out to those we know, who are part of our lives, but have stopped attending church. You provide great reasons why we should! Thanks!

  2. Such a great encouraging post! I can feel your heart thru your writing. As it is shared, I know the Lord will touch many hearts and from this will try church again!

  3. Okay, did God wake you up one night and say, Michelle needs to read something I want you to write it? If He did, thank you for being obedient. I will admit, my insides were going a bit stir crazy while reading this. I finished my article to post on another blogger’s site as a guest regarding church. I know without doubt God had me write it. This hit many nerves in me Melanie and I know God has been sending me many, many messages this week regarding this. Funny how His timing is everything. So now I am going to go walk and pray. You have a gift my sweet friend.

    1. No angels came in the night last night, but the Holy Spirit sure did put this message on my heart this morning. I almost couldn’t type fast enough!

      Please know – I’m FOR you! No condemnation here. I just know that if you lived near me, I’d be begging you to come to my church! You are a treasure, and there is a church that needs the gift of you!

      Praying for you tonight~

  4. What a beautifully written article! Your five reasons are spot on. “None of us live in isolation.” What great words. We were made for community. Thanks Melanie for these words!

  5. this is sooooo good!! My man and I took a church sabbatical from our home church for a few months last year. We still found ways to worship, but not in a corporate body. I completely get everything you said here….from both sides of the perspective. I’m going to share this post now because I have friends in this same situation.

    1. Hey Leah,
      I think we have all had times when we want to take (or take) a sabbatical from church! I know I sure have.
      There is much hurt out there, and there’s much hurt in our churches. I have so many friends who are away and not sure if they can return.
      My prayer is that many will find their way back.
      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!
      You bless me~
      Melanie

  6. I love this and SO wish I could share it with a friend of mine. She and her family say they are believers, but they have not been to church on a regular basis in many years. I’ve invited her to ours and “checked” in with her several times about finding a new church home. She always says that is on her list of things to do, but it never happens. I don’t think she would take this well if I sent it to her, gentle and true though it is, but I’ll keep it on my radar in case I ever work up the nerve to risk losing our friendship if I take the plunge. Thank you for putting this together…stopping by from the Alder Collective!

    1. Hey Elizabeth,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing this situation with me.

      I will pray with you for your friend. I think you are wise to handle her with care! Asking God to give you incredible discretion as you relate to her in the days ahead.

      Keep me posted! I’d love to hear what happens next!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  7. Melanie,
    This is such an encouraging plea. This is also an encouragement for those who are attending church to stay faithful. It’s a great reminder as to why we go to church and why it’s important to stay connected!

    1. Hey Valerie,
      Thanks for stopping by to leave a kind word tonight! I really appreciate you.
      And, it’s good to think about why we go to church – isn’t it!
      I’m really looking forward to your series! I think God is going to greatly use it!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  8. We have missed church since October and my soul is feeling it! This past Sunday we finally made it and it felt so good. For years in my adult life I blamed a bad church experience for not going and the past 5 years or so after finding a church home I now know how much I missed!

    1. Hey Shelly,

      What a great testimony – that you went back! Sometimes we do get so hurt by the church and by church people.

      But, when we forgive and try again… there is nothing quite as sweet. Keep going, Girl!

      Praying that you and your family will plant your roots deep in a sweet and encouraging community! God can use you in that church. I’d love to have a woman like you in my church!!

      Sure am glad you stopped by today.
      Your words have blessed me~
      Melanie

  9. I love this. We all need community, even a community of imperfect people.

    Thanks for linking up with The Alder Collective! Your posts have been pinned to our group party board. We’ll hope you’ll join us next Tuesday at 8 pm EST!

  10. I love this so much. Church really edifies my soul and I couldn’t imagine my weeks without it. The worship, the connection… it soothes my spirit and builds me up!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I agree with you.
      There is something so sweet and powerful about the music, the message, and the fellowship. I love church too!
      Been praying for you as you say, “Goodbye” to your sweet grandmother.
      Your life blesses mine~
      Melanie

  11. Love this post! Those first steps are the hardest – no matter why you stopped going to church. I hated those days of church visiting – and often wanted to just quit – but, oh,when I found the right community what a difference! My son asked me why I knew so many people at church the other day – and I told him this was my family, the people I loved and the people who love me.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn!
      Sure do appreciate your affirming words today!
      And, I agree with you about church being family. If we didn’t have our church family, we would feel so isolated.
      Praying that many will come back to the fellowship.
      Hope you have a blessed day~
      Melanie

    1. Thanks, Kate!
      This letter was actually written to a friend, but then it turned into a post! Funny how that happens.
      I’ll look forward to reading your post about why the Bible matters.
      Glad to connect with you.
      Hope you have a blessed day~
      Melanie

  12. What an amazing post, Melanie! There are too many people leaving churches, and you gave excellent and heartfelt reasons as to why people are needed there. Thank you for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

  13. Melanie such powerful words here and so true. I love how our Bible study (Sunday school) class has a list of members every week that are missing. Before we dismiss in prayer, the names are passed out to contact. Our class is the largest one growing in our huge church and I think it is because of the fellowship and care. We need community.

    1. Hey Deborah,
      Thanks for stopping by to leave a thoughtful word today!
      And, I think that those contacts make ALL of the difference! When we make an intentional effort to reach out, it does make a difference.
      I love hearing what your class is doing! Maybe you can pass the word around…
      Your words have blessed me today~
      Melanie

  14. Hi, Melanie!

    Great message! THX! Some feedback regarding why I (and others, perhaps) don’t attend church services…

    The many, many church services I’ve attended don’t make me feel any closer to any part of the Trinity. {btw… good, Christian music Does! Classics, Contemporary are both great! But not basic choir music and not Christian-church-rock} I’ve noticed that men enjoy the songs that are lower-pitched, btw. There is definitely no fellowship in a church service as per Scripture (staring at backs and shaking a hand or 2-3).

    As a guest in bible studies, I feel a closeness to God because I’m learning about Him and His Word. There is fellowship, also. However, there are never more than 1-2 church members who are ever sincerely welcoming… seriously… ever! Most don’t smile. Most actually scowl. Rarely, is there a “hello” or dialog unless brought up by me. And I’m an Introvert with a Very Low need for interaction. One study had this “Angel of God’s Light” reflecting all around her… Celina!… what a JOY! Turns out she was also a non-member of the church; however, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed fellowship with her for the 8 week course!!!

    Churches do a good job with John 3:16 – that and donating and missionary work. Churches need to spend the next decade thoroughly learning Matthew 22:37-40. Thoroughly. And the sister-verses in Mark, Luke, John and Deuteronomy. Churches need to discuss that Love for God comes BEFORE Love for One Another. Jesus made that CLEAR as God’s GREATest Commandment! Churches need to discuss the millions of ways to Love God and WHY it is so important to God for that to be HIS #1 priority command… as a priority over loving one another. Churches need to explain that “good works” actually means “what is pleasing to God” which goes RIGHT back to Matthew 22:37… spending quality time with Him as your #1! “Good works” is not “works”… it’s a behavior, a character in His image which can, at times. include action ‘projects and efforts’. We’re missing the mark (hmmm… a ‘sin’), when we use the English definition for ‘good works’ rather than, perhaps, ‘character and behavior which is pleasing to God’.

    Once that is done… a few decades down the road… churches need to discuss how Loving One Another is so important to God (His #2 Commandment, as you know) and discuss the million ways to do that. NOT JUST THE 3 WAYS to “love one another” that are taught in churches (that’s a Problem!). Loving one another starts with self-love (healing from insecurities, not self-centeredness)! Then family! Then neighbors and church members AND bible study members AND bible study guests! Skip the international concerns until you’ve got the basics figured out locally! A smile is a meager starting-point on the way to show ‘love’. Genuine prayer, but not just for the sick… prayer for the person sitting next to you, for the neighbor you don’t really like, for the “sinner” who makes you feel uncomfortable at parties… on and on. Seems that the bible study groups stayed in their cliques… what is up with that? Learning to ‘love one another’ must include the word(s) GENUINE / sincere! The topic must include that Jesus is the only Judge, that all sins (big and small) result in condemnation (until Jesus rescued us, etc.). God makes it clear which ‘sinners’ He will condemn, but He also makes it clear that we are not to hate them… perhaps not keep them in the church membership (as Paul discusses), but don’t hate them. Pray for them… and here’s that word again…. Genuinely… Sincerely.

    The united Body of Christ… where EACH person in His Flock is REQUIRED to make His Body complete. The Body of Christ includes every current and potential, future believer in Jesus. It’s a simple concept… never understood in congregations… perhaps never taught. This includes your clique and the next clique. It includes the people you don’t like and your enemies. It includes the “big sinners” who will be forgiven by Jesus. And yet, its members can only scowl at visitors in their church groups.

    I simply don’t want to join a church whose bible study members don’t even TRY to practice (or even know?) what Jesus TOLD US IS (for the record!) God’s 2nd GREATest Commandment. That is HUGE! They gossip, they stay in cliques. And, repeating, churches should reinforce Matthew 22:37-40 over and over again! And, why don’t we hear Romans 10:9-10 almost every week? We should! I had to find that gem myself, which was like opening another present from Him! Upsetting that my earthly guides never mentioned it!

    I don’t expect perfection from bible study or church members since I am in that same imperfect boat. However, the Boat is being missed by those who profess….

    I do want to be enlightened in a church service – to receive a message that connects His Word to me and, possibly, to my ability to “be an Overcomer”. Unlike Kathryn, I have not found a church home for these reasons.

    I pray that we each listen to His soft voice and follow it. XO to you! Thank you, again!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and your heart with me.

      I really do appreciate it! It sounds as if you have had a number of experiences with church, churches, and church people. You’ve obviously seen the good, the bad, and some stuff in between.

      Obviously, there is not a perfect church, but I am going to pray that God will lead you to a loving fellowship of like-minded believers who will treat you with grace, delve into the Bible with you, and encourage you. I’m going to ask God to give you the most amazing church home – filled with genuine, gracious, loving people.

      Yes, these places are getting harder to find, but there are still a few.

      Please keep me posted on how you are doing.
      And, thanks again for stopping by and sharing your heart today.
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  15. Melanie, Such great encouragement! I love corporate worship. I think it is so essential to our Christian walk and for all of these reasons that you have shared. I hope that your post inspires many people to know that they are loved and that going to church with others believers can be amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this with Sitting Among Friends. I hope that you will add us to your party list and we will see you every week. I connected with you quite awhile ago on Pinterest and I am glad I am connecting here with you. I hope that we will see you again this Wednesday. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Hey Jaime,
      Thanks so much for stopping by to leave a kind word today! And, I pray with you that many folks will be encouraged to return to church!
      I enjoyed connecting with your link up group, and I’ll try to stop in again!
      It’s a joy to connect with you!
      Hope you have a blessed day!
      Melanie

  16. Years ago my husband and I were very involved in church. We were Sunday School teachers in the childrens’ department, we worked in Awanas and Vacation Bible School, and I was on the Women’s Ministry Team. We had two children, one of which had special needs. Because our son had special needs and required a lot of our attention at home, I tried to allow my daughter to spend as much time with me as possible when I was helping out at church. She was a little social butterfly and helped out when I was prepping in the kitchen or preparing crafts for our church functions. Everybody loved her. I had lost my mother to an illness when I was 16 years old, so I enjoyed getting to have my daughter with me whenever possible. One night at a Women’s Ministry meeting, I was confronted by the ladies and told that someone had objected to my daughter being present with me at functions. It was not a behavioral issue, but rather whoever had complained had given the reason that “sensitive information” could not be discussed with a child present, or something like that. I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment in being called out in a group setting, rather than this having been handled in a personal setting. In time I have forgiven the ladies who confronted me, but I have not been able to get to a point where I feel that I can serve again. We have sporadically attended other churches, but have not found a new church home because we know that we will need to find our place of service and i just don’t know if that is possible again.

    1. Hey Kay,

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. I’m so sorry for the way that you were hurt at your church, and I’m really sorry for the way that the incident was handled. Careless words can wound our hearts deeply. And, it does take a lot of grace and forgiveness to go back to church after a deep wound like this.

      I was also greatly hurt at a church by one of the leaders. It took me a long time to get over the pain. However, I missed the music, the people, the fellowship, the messages, and the sweetness of being in corporate worship. Eventually, I was able to find another church and to serve again.

      You can start again. It may never be quite the same, but you can enjoy worship and fellowship. You need them, and they need you.

      So I gently nudge you to keep trying. I will pray with you each time God brings you to mind. Asking Him to give your family a new church home – a sweet fellowship!
      Keep me posted~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

    2. I am so sorry that happened to you and your daughter!! I had a similar situation with my daughter at a home group bible study! It stopped my daughter from going to church! She was an on fire Christian until then. I had to ask God to help me let go of that offense. So often devil likes to remind us of the hurt! And we ourselves are so hurt that we hold a grudge! However, we are commanded to forgive otherwise our heavenly Father can’t forgive us! Turn the hurt over to Jesus! I pray that God helps me and my daughter to forgive our offenders & my daughter turns back to God because her soul is in danger of Hell. I am concerned for those who have been wounded in churches and especially concerned for those who offended but haven’t apologised for the hurt they caused! Hurting people hurt people and some people in the church don’t really know God at all! Will you hold on to the offense or let it go? The choice is up to you!

      1. Hey Wendy,
        Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment today to encourage Kay.
        I appreciate your sensitivity and your desire to spur others on.
        Forgiveness is a choice (sometimes a hard one) isn’t it?
        Blessings to you,
        Melanie

  17. While these are all great reasons, the number one reason we go to church is to glorify God. A huge part of going is about Him only. We go to serve, to worship, minister to those who may be new to knowing God, or are also hurting. We learn things we wouldn’t at home, and grow spiritually. I do like the suggestion to ask some people to pray for you if you’re finding it difficult to go back. However, rewarding yourself with lunch because you managed to go? Jesus chose to die on a cross for us. I don’t mean to sound like I don’t have empathy, but we need to go for many reasons. People go despite so many obstacles. If it is that bad, pray about whether or not God wants you to use your gifts elsewhere. Pray for strength that the petty stuff won’t bother you. Keep your focus on God, and you won’t be disappointed. ???

    1. Hey Alise,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your perspective and your thoughts.
      And, yes, ultimately we do all that we do for the glory of God. That is our underlying reason for everything.
      However, sometimes people get very hurt, jaded, and wounded by the church and the people in the church.
      My letter is a compassionate plea to those who haven’t been able to get back in the doors – specifically one friend who just couldn’t force herself to go back. I pray many will read and be restored.
      Hope you have a blessed day~
      Melanie

  18. Hello churchmember,

    To little to late i guess.
    Since you guys learned my husband and me cant have children by just having sex you have hurt me.

    You lett me proces the bad news all by my own. Yes, you all ran away as if it were contagious.
    You made me stop leading the teens and youth groups i was involved with. Because God diddnt bless our marriage there must be a sin we lie about.
    You told your children to not be with us.
    You denied my husband and me to be a family, we ate just a married couple without children, wich was a family untill we found out it was staying this way unless God does the marytrick on me.
    You started to ignore whati said in studygroups.
    You decided we were not welcome anymore on womanscoffee and mansevening.

    When you guys told me i was no longer allowed to be behind the beamer something inside me died. Just like a part of me died when we learned that we need donorseed to have a child.

    I thought you guys loved us, as we loved you. I tought you cared for us, as we cared for you. I thought you would make the hurt bearable, like when you lost a child, i came, brought food, cleaned bathroom, did laundry, i came to have tea and i cried with you. When your mum died i arranged the flowers. I made coffee, tea and cake.
    When you needed a ride to the hospital i took a day off, so you wouldnt be alone.
    When you broke your leg i arranged five families to cook, clean, do laundry an drive your children to sports, music.

    I have given all this because i loved you. Because i cared. Because God asked me to love you.

    Now that i have needs you ignore me and you have broken my hurting heart many times.

    I dont go to church anymore because you dont want me there.

    I pray, i read, i listen to sermons. But i will never go and try to be a part of the church. You guys make me wish i had never believed in the first place. Second you guys make me want to die.

    1. Hey Petra,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences that have been so painful.
      It sounds like you and your husband have been through some very challenging things.
      It also sounds like you have been very generous and kind.
      I’m sorry that you have been hurt and that you never want to be a part of a church again. That makes me very sad.
      Please let me apologize on behalf of those that have wounded you.
      I pray that God will give you hope, joy, and much grace today.
      Melanie

  19. People that say things like THIS are the reasons I don’t like going back to church. Speaking from a broken person, all one wants from you is love. They need to know they have love and compassion. Not bible verses that tell them what they need and what they are doing wrong. They need understanding. It’s much warmer to hear a friend say, “hey, I’m worried about you. What’s going on? I love you.” Instead of writing a letter of all the verses that tell why they need to be in church.

    1. Hey Jess,
      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving some honest feedback for me.
      And, I agree – people want to know that they are loved and cared for. Understanding it a huge deal too.
      Just so you know, this letter was about the 10th conversation that I had with a friend who had really been hurt at church. I’d already told her that I cared and loved her. This letter was to encourage her to come back.
      I hear what you are saying. And, I agree. Compassion and care are huge.
      You might appreciate this article that I wrote before the one that you read: http://www.melanieredd.com/an-apology-letter-to-you-for-the-way-you-were-treated-at-my-church/
      Thanks for stopping by~
      Melanie

  20. Thanks so much for obeying and writing about this. My husband and I left our church over 9 months ago and we have only visited one church since. We both felt left out and unimportant even though we served on worship team. We really struggled to find friends and people who truly love us. Also, newlywed marital problems can make going to church with each other very guresome and painful. Another excuse I gave was “If my own husband doesn’t apply what’s being taught to him, and he comes home and is the same sinful, hurtful man, then what is the point of wasting 2 hours to sit in church?” But this article puts it straight and real. The reason we need to go is because we desperately need church community, and other people need us too, even though sometimes it didn’t feel that way.

    1. Hey Tara,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. There is a great deal of hurt out there.
      However, we all do need community!
      I pray that you will find a sweet place to plug in, serve, and make the most wonderful friends you’ve ever had! It is possible!
      I’d love to connect with you again.
      Please keep me posted!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this! I think it’s a wonderful way to reach those who have left the fellowship of other believers.

  22. I guess many have said what I feel/have felt. I ran Children’s Church, mowed the grass at the church, etc. What I did, I did for God not for man. I haven’t given up. But I am very ill, and many in ‘the church’ know that.especially the church we went to for years, They didn’t seem to care–we were disposable if we couldn’t do what we had done before.

    We have moved to a new area, and i really want to go and find a church. I have been to a few, with very weird results, i.e: you Must be in a small group and attend that small group every week (called the pastor to verify, that’s the truth). My christian friend who has lived in this area for years, drives an hour to a church.

    I clingy to His promises, and His love. God knows His plans for us. I have to get a bit better, honestly, before we can even continue to look. I feel blessed that there is so many ways for shut-ins to get the Word. I don’t at all disagree with your article. I just wanted to say that God extends grace to those “in church” and those who are not.

    1. Hey Cass,
      Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your story. It sounds like you have really been hurt. I’m so sorry for this.
      And, my heart is for believers to keep having fellowship with other believers – wherever and however that might happen.
      I pray that God will encourage you where you are and flood your life with much sweet fellowship, encouragement, and support.
      And, aren’t’ you thankful for God’s grace!
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  23. Hello Melanie
    I agree that church attendance is a worthwhile & beneficial practice. I have both benefited and suffered via the church. I can relate to many comments made by others here. I am very thankful for all the good parts. God has used the bad parts. I have written the story of my journey and it is available on amazon if you are interested.
    There was a time in my life when I had an inner vow to never stop going. I was very happy to be a part of a body when a problem arose. I encountered compassion and attempts to overcome the obstacle by some and others dismissed me. After a while, through changes they made the obstacle was removed and we returned. But then “political” crap started and long story short we left there. We have tried numerous churches since then and have not been successful. We thought we found one, but then they made the same changes another place did that erected that same obstacle. It deeply saddens me. I do have fellowship with some believers but would like more. I welcome prayer.

  24. Dear Friend,
    In response to your invitation to come back to church, first of all I have made attempts of reaching out to the church by text messages explaining that the reason of my absence was due to illness. But that has been over 4 months, until this date no one has acknowledged my texts. I want to put your fears to rest. First of all when I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and home He came to stay, I serve the Lord not man, Jesus Christ loves me, I am His creation He loves me with all my human faults wheather I attend church or not. I am the body of the church as long as I remain faithful and in His will; I do not have anything to fear. God does not disappoint nor scorns me, He sees my heart.

    1. Hey Orpha,

      I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment about the church and going back to church. It sounds like you have tried to reach out to your church. I’m so sorry that you have been sick and not contacted by your congregation or staff. That makes me sad.

      And, I do absolutely agree with you that you can know Jesus personally without attending church. He does love you greatly.

      Please know… There is no condemnation at all on my part towards you. I don’t invite you or anyone else back to church to make you feel bad or guilty.

      Instead, I just know that God created us for fellowship and for worship with other believers. It also sounds like you are a wise woman who has much to offer to a group of believers.

      I hope you will stop by again.
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  25. Wow that was an amazing and powerful post you put up. I was very hurt in the church. More like crushed by the pastors wife. I was so involved and a part of every thing it seemed like.
    We had a falling out the pastors wife and I. I ended up renouncing the church and every thing involved in it due the nasty ffght. It has been a few months now. I never attended another church since or even tried. I’m so incredibly lonley!!! I long for praise and worship ,or ladies prayer on Tuesdays,,nd testimony night on sunday evenings. I cry all the time and have disconnected with God. My heart cries telling this story.
    To be honest it was the only church I have found in several years that gave me such joy and incredible teachings about God. It used to be i couldnt wait to get to church.Some of the older elders of the church asked me to come back on several occasions but never the pastor or his wife. I don’t know what I should do. There are few spirit filled churches in my area. I’m so broken and so very lonley. I don’t know if I should go back.
    Rebecca

    1. Hey Rebecca,

      I’m so glad you stopped by today to leave a comment. Thank you for your visit.And, I’m very sorry to hear that you have been hurt in the church. I think it happens very often. It sounds like you left a very difficult situation.

      I do think we were made for corporate worship. I don’t understand it exactly, but we do seem to need to be in community with other believers.

      I do think you should try again. I will pray with you that you will have the courage to “brave it” one more time. You can slip in the back and sit on the back row!

      Asking God to give you hope, to heal your hurts, and to get you back into some sort of positive fellowship!
      I will pray.
      Please keep me posted~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  26. I haven’t been to church in a long time I went through a divorce several years ago ( my ex left for her bfriend) I was struggling with some issues from the divorce and still am to this day, I have asked for help with some of these issues from several different pastors. And all I have got is just left behind! I have asked and asked for help as for what to do and how to deal with this and have got nothing? One pastor who I talked to maybe 3 times even on a sunday morning told the congregation that we have to be better Christians and if we see a peson struggleing that we should help them out???? It was 6 months after he stated that I sent him a message asking well if that is what you tell us to do then why haven’t you contacted me or avoided me ?????

    1. Hey Dale,
      Thank you for leaving a comment today. I personally read and respond to all of my comments.
      I’m very sorry to hear about your divorce and about some of the issues you’ve had with pastors and church people. It sounds like it has been tough.
      Can I encourage you to not lose heart? Keep on trying and moving ahead. Although you’ve been through much in your past, you don’t have to stay there.
      You can move forward and find hope again.

      I think of the words of Isaiah 43:19,
      “For I am about to do something new.
      See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
      I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
      I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

      I’m praying that God will do something new and sweet in your life.
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  27. Please send prayers my way…I will try your suggestion to approach my return to church one week at a time. Thank you for sharing this message. I hear a call to return home.

    1. Hey Linda,
      Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment today.
      I will pray for you as you take this step of faith. You go, Girl!
      I’m so glad you hear the “call,” and I pray you will find a loving community that will embrace you with open arms.
      Keep me posted!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  28. Thank you for thinking of me, friend.
    Sometimes, I just get so tired, so depressed, that I can hardly bring myself to shower, let alone get up on my only real day off to go somewhere – anywhere, let alone some place that I feel like I have to pretend to be happy. You see, I have depression, and it can be really, really hard to get through my job for a week, and I’m just exhausted by the time Sunday rolls around. So I really appreciate that you are thinking of me, and praying for me. Your notes of encouragement? They mean the world to me. The prayers you text me each week? They keep me going. Yes, I’ll come back. Soon, I promise. But please don’t forget me. I need you to remember me in prayer and in person. Blessings to you.

    1. Hey Lisa,
      Thank you for emailing me today. I’m glad to hear from you.

      And, I’m so sorry that you are having a hard time. It really does sound like you are dealing with some deep discouragement and maybe even some depression.

      We all have seasons when we lose heart. I know I have at times been very low.

      Can I suggest an article for you to read? I wrote it for a friend of mine who was struggling. Here is the link: http://melanieredd.com/12-ways-to-get-your-hope-back-today/

      Also, I’m praying for you today to find hope in Christ.

      I will keep praying and continue to send you the emails.

      Please keep me posted on how you are doing, and let me know what you think about this article.
      Blessings,
      Melanie

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