Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Faith Works 06-04-05
Jeff Gill

Ten Reasons To Go To Church This Summer

1. It’s air conditioned. Really, most are anymore, even the little rural ones.
Of course, you may think it’s too cool, but you can wear a sweater; it may be that you are hot blooded, and wish it were more like a meat locker, but modern styles allow shortsleeves in church. You’ll be comfortable.
2. I’m told it may not be air conditioned other places. If you go to church, they can help you avoid those spots, um, in the long term. Just ask.
3. Either way, everyone relaxes the dress code. Formal churches get less so, and more unstructured churches are how they always are, so don’t sweat the shirt selection so much. Put on something clean, and any church in the county will welcome you; dirty shirts really aren’t such a problem, either. No one ever went to the hot place (see #2) over breaking the dress code. For pushing someone out over the dress code, possibly . . .
4. If you don’t go, they’ll talk about you.
Now, I’ve spent an awful lot of time over my years as a parish pastor telling people that other folks actually don’t talk about them as much as they think they are, or that the look they think someone gave them might have been their breakfast, not their attitude.
But you can’t get around the fact that they can’t talk about you as much as when you’re there.
5. Everyone lightens up a bit during the summertime.
Yes, even pastors. Look, we all know folks have twice the temptations to go and do other things in June, July, and August than even the rest of the frantic, frenetic year we have nowadays. So Sunday school teachers, preachers, those who pray or sing in the service are really bringing their “A game” during the summer months. Plus you are more likely to get the youth just back from camp telling amazing stories of spiritual uplift, or fellow worshipers who have been on a mission trip back testifying about the transformative experiences they had in Mexico, the Appalachians, on a Native American reservation, or who knows where overseas.
6. Crafts. Yes, you too. Even we craft-impaired people would benefit from integrating mind and body into our spirituality, and crafts aren’t busy work, they are at their best “soul work” of the most enduring kind. Crafts I no longer have I remember the lessons of better than stuff I’ve got on the shelf in the dining room.
7. Outdoor worship. Many places have at least one outside worship experience through the summer, and it really can change how you look at church the other 51 Sundays. Try it!
8. Ya gotta get out of bed sometime. Stay in bed after sunrise is fun occasionally, but it can leave you feeling really creaky if you do it too much. Go to church already, will ya?
9. It is true that summer attendance is a bit lower in most churches through these months; that means parking spaces and finding a seat in the worship space is much easier.
10. Licking County has over 200 places of worship regularly gathering. One of them is likely to suit you, and be there for you as a community when you need the strength and support that even family can’t always provide, and a faith for an uncertain future. Look around, and visit a few this summer.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio. Contact him at

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