I got such amazing feedback from readers last week that I decided to do my first sequel to a blog post. It wasn’t just the comments posted in the blog, but the discussions I had on WhatsApp, the telephone and in person. There were so many positive insights and corrections that people wanted to share, that I really thought it best to share them here.
There was general agreement that going to church out of habit, or through a belief that attendance was an end in itself, was increasingly common. However, many readers were keen to point out that the reasons why they and thousands of others attend church were much deeper. These include:
- To meet other believers and encourage each other
- To learn more about their faith and how to apply it to daily living
- To network with like-minded people for friendship and business
- To receive inspiration to continue when things get tough
Some friends in Lagos, while critical of many Pentecostal churches and their prosperity-driven pastors, shared inspiring stories of congregations who awarded lots of university scholarships for bright but needy students and supported business start-ups with equipment, grants and ongoing patronage. It reminded me of my only period of consistent church attendance in Nigeria, when I discovered Calabar City Church.
The attraction was immediate and lasting, because I liked their practical approach to faith and the way they tried to prepare their mostly young congregation for success in a very challenging environment. They were looking outward constantly to support prisoners, the homeless and the poor. And, I loved the way Pastor Tony would focus on a critical topic, like ‘love’ or ‘faith’ for a whole month in a series of talks and study groups – none of the usual “turn to this, now turn to that” style that gives soundbites but little substance or understanding.
When I launched my first book, The More3 Formula, the pastor and his leadership team were incredibly supportive. I made special mid-week presentations to budding entrepreneurs and the church bought copies in bulk for them. If more churches were like this, more communities would see God at work in their midst.
Once again, thanks to readers all over the world who gave feedback – it’s my favourite part of the blogging process. May you continue to see God in other people, as they see Him in you.