I was asked this question whilst on holiday and struggled to come up with an answer, which I wish I could blame on the fact that the same person also kept giving me shots of Jagermeister. However I have been thinking about it since.
The first thing I have realised is that everybody probably has their own reasons for going to church. At least some of he reasons I have are rooted in my past and in the person I am, good and bad.
So here are some of the reasons I go to church.
1.) Acceptance and Belonging
As a child I was the odd kid, the one that couldn't talk right, couldn't catch a ball and had to use a typewriter in class. Most of the time the other kids ignored me. At break time I would find a quiet corner with a book. On Sunday at Sunday school, even though it was thesome of the same kids I could join in with things and feel part of the group.
Church has been and still is a community where I feel accepted and as I belong. What breaks my heart now is knowing that some people, some very good friends of mine, feel rejected by the place I have found such acceptance.
2.) To Meet With God
I'm not saying that I don't meet with God anywhere else but there is something in sharing in song and spoken word in corporate worship and receiving thesacrament that brings me closer to God. That lifts me for a short while out of the day to day stress and leaves me feeling stronger to face the day to day stress and challenges of life.
3.) To Be Challenged and To Grow In Faith
A good sermon, prayers, hymns, words from scripture or conversation with others can all cause me to question why and what I believe. This hopefully helps develop my thinking and leads to a deeper and stronger faith.
So three reasons why, despite the stress, despite the fact that sometimes the church as an institution or it's individual members sometimes say or do things I think are wrong I still go to church.