In my 60 years as a Presbyterian pastor I have heard a lot of reasons given for people wanting to retain membership in a particular church. These are in addition to the assumed question, "Why are you a Christian?" The answer to that is usually "Because I believe in God," or "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior."
The top-ten reasons are (in no particular order):
1. To uphold a family tradition. "Our family has been in this church for generations."
2. The church performs valuable community services. "We feed the hungry."
3. Children need a religious dimension in their lives. "We are here for the kids."
4.To make a contribution for a better world. "This is a Peace Church."
5. The worship services are inspiring and stimulating. "The sermons are great. The music is uplifting. The liturgy is inspirational."
6. The church building is important. "Our grandfather helped build this church. Everywhere I look there are memories. Mom is interred in the columbarium downstairs."
7. The church is an ethnic center. "This is the most important Taiwanese gathering place." "This is almost like going back to Seoul." "I want the kids to speak some Urdu."
8. The church has civic importance. "This is where the leaders are."
9. A funeral is coming. "Grandmother is comforted, knowing that the pastor knows her and we will take care of everything."
10. "I am valuable here. These are MY people." "That singles group is the only safe place for someone like me." "I am needed and I am committed to my ordination as a deacon / choir member / etc."
Image credit: Oblate School of Theology website.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.