Why go to church? If we want to share the Gospel, we need to be able to articulate an answer to this question, because people are asking it. “What’s in it for me?” they ask. Especially when we explain that going to church doesn’t make us a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes us a car. A fellow grocery shopper named Orlando today told me that “I don’t have to go to church to have a relationship with God”. He has a solid understanding of his need for repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation, but said “I quit going to church years ago when my pastor moved away. Man, he used to get us fired up! I haven’t found a church like that ever since” and from the sound of it, he has stopped looking. “The best thing you can do”, I said in reply, “is to go to church looking to give rather than receive. Ask God how He might use you to be an encouragement to other believers” I told him. “Churches are full of hurting, imperfect people. God isn’t through with us yet. We need to look past the imperfections and look for ways to be an encouragement to others. The best way to start growing and maturing in your faith and relationship with God is to start reaching out to others. And you can’t rely on a charismatic pastor to build up your faith. You’ll only end up with a roller coaster religion as you go from one inspirational meeting to another. Try to find a church that really sticks to the Bible and doesn’t get you distracted by all sorts of man-made traditions and rituals.” Orlando started asking me all about my church. When I gave him a church business card, his eyes grew wide. “That’s actually the last church I visited, about two years ago! And I just got an invitation from the pastor in the mail yesterday, inviting me to come back, and now here you are, the very next day, doing the same thing! I think God is trying to tell me something!” he said excitedly. I went on to explain how as husband and father in his family, God holds him responsible as the family’s spiritual leader. “It’s too big of a role for us to handle ourselves” I told him. “We need help. And church can help you with that, like a sort of extended family.” Orlando told me about one of his children, a daughter with autism, who needs special care. I prayed with him, right there in the grocery aisle, that God will bless him as he blesses his family by getting back involved in church.