Come back to church.

I feel your hurt—I’ve been hurt by church people, too.

I understand your aversion to legalism—I’ve seen it used to control and shame, too.

I get your frustration with a watered-down Gospel and worldview packaged up in a Jesus-colored bow.

I recognize the comfort and loveliness of the traditions you grew up with, but also understand how that denomination let man-made rules become more sovereign than Biblical truth.

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I share your dismay and anguish over how faith has been politicized and polarized.

I see all of it. I’ve lived witness to most of it.

But still I’m asking you:

Come back to church.

Because while I agree that you don’t have to “go” to church to “be” the church, the truth is we need church.

Church is a place for gathering and healing, worshiping and studying. It’s a place for accountability and acceptance.

Churches are the backbones for many communities.

They are the primary providers, hosts, and founders of food pantries, shelters, support and recovery groups, daycares, pre-schools, marital counseling, grief counseling, and crisis support.

They are the first place talented singers and musicians get to share their gifts.

They offer safe activities for teens, build summer camps, care for new moms, pray with the sick, and help seniors get to their doctor’s appointments.

Come back to church.

Because we’ve all had too much isolation, too much loneliness, too much sitting at home the last two years.

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Come back to church.

Not because it makes you a good person, or because you feel obligated, but because it feeds your soul and heals your spirit.

Come back to church.

Because we need each other. Because we are stronger together. Because where two or more are gathered.

Come back to church.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

Jelise Ballon

Jelise is an educator, writer, and speaker. She is author of the book "Forgiven and Restored" and founder of the Renew and Restore Women's Retreat. But the two roles she is most passionate about are those of wife and mother. She has been married to her husband for 20 years and together they have three teenagers. You can read more at her blog: www.neitherheightnordepth.com, or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram