It's easy to let church become something you make time for when it's convenient. You may find that attending church was something you made a priority for a while, but then life got in the way and your attendance started to dwindle or stopped all together. Or maybe you like the idea of going to church, but only find yourself going on holidays like Christmas and Easter, or other special occasions. Once you've been away for a while, it seems a lot harder to come back, maybe even too hard. If this sounds like you, keep reading. I'm not here to point fingers or to accuse you of being a "bad Christian," but rather to tell you that it's never too late to come back to God or the church.
God wants us to go to church not because Christianity is about a bunch of strict rules that we have to follow in order to be considered worthy, but because Christianity is about having a personal relationship with Him. Attending church is a great way to build this relationship. It allows us to not only hear the Lord's word, but also to praise Him and to surround ourselves with others who will support and encourage us in this area of our lives. Therefore, God and the church welcome all, no matter what stage you're at in your walk with Christ.
Now, getting in a little deeper, maybe you think that you've been sinning or living your life in a way that God doesn't approve of. You're worried that this will make Him and other Christians turn their backs on you. This is about as far from the truth as you can get. Christianity doesn't exclude sinners, it welcomes them with open arms. If you've had a bad experience with a church or a person that left you feeling guilty and judged in the past, then on behalf of the rest of the Christian faith, I sincerely apologize to you. I also ask you to give this whole Christianity thing another chance, because I promise that your experience was not representative of what church is really like. We are all sinners, no matter how much of a personal relationship we have with Christ.
So, to the Christian who thinks they've been away from church for too long: come back. Come back to the place where you will be welcomed with open arms; come back to the place where your sins will be forgiven and washed away; come back to the place where you will be loved unconditionally. Think this sounds too good to be true? It's not. Sure, your life won't be perfect just because you're attending church, but you'll have a new kind of hope and promise for your life. You'll also have the comfort of knowing that you have a whole community of people and the creator of the universe on your side.
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another" -- Hebrews 10:24-25