IMG_7296[1]My husband Dana swears it wasn’t his fault. We were squeezed in the tiny galley of our kitchen. As I tried to move around him, my baby toe caught the underside of his shoe, partly ripping off my nail.

“Why did you do that?” I looked at him aghast as my toe throbbed with pain.

“Your foot hit my shoe,” he said.

“Why are you wearing shoes?” I cried, determined to prove my injury was his fault.

Later that night, trying to turn in bed without brushing my blackened toe, God brought familiar words from scripture to mind.

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts… So it is with Christ,” Paul wrote in I Cor. 12:12. After describing how the church, like the physical body, has many different members, he then says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.”

I have seen a lot of suffering in church. Maybe you have too. Or maybe you’ve read headlines about church scandals and abuse. Maybe you don’t go to church because you’ve experienced such mistreatment firsthand.

Such pain hurts. Far more than my bruised toe. The betrayal by church leaders who are appointed to protect the body—and instead devour it—hurt people as well as God, whose church we are part of. When you’ve been injured, it’s easy to quit going to church. Here are five reasons why I still go.

  1. It’s God’s church, not a particular pastor’s or denomination’s. Church is about God—what he is doing and saying today—not about whoever is holding the microphone.
  2. We learn more together. When I need mentoring and maturing, I can learn from others. Just like I can share what I’ve learned with those who are newer in the faith.
  3. I want my children to grow up in a faith family. Some of the people who have encouraged me the most in life are people I went to church with as a child. We may not still share the same local church, but we still share the same journey.
  4. Being part of church helps me to focus on other’s needs, hurts, and hopes—rather than just my own.
  5. Being part of a group pushes me to grow stronger in my faith. Just like signing up for a fitness class at the gym, I work harder and build more muscle when others motivate me.

Can you worship God at home? Absolutely, but historically whenever God has moved in a mighty way that resuscitates not only individuals but also entire nations, it has begun with a group of committed Christ followers coming together to pray and worship.

Yes, by going to church you risk getting injured—as I did in the kitchen. Whenever we come into close contact with others, getting hurt is a possibility. But so is receiving healing—as my husband frequently shows me. Not by banging my baby digit, but with a foot rub.