Are you part of the 86% of West Virginians who do not have a church home? Probably not if you are reading this. Recently the members of our Reach team came to talk to our Sunday School class about how to grow a church. It seems that only 14% of West Virginians are attending church on a regular basis. I had read before that after the turmoil of the teens and early twenties, most people return to the “religious teaching” taught to them as children. Does that mean that most people did not have a church growing up? Maybe. Maybe they have forgotten what all a church has to offer them and their family.
Churches are great places to learn to be closer to God. They are a place to be with like-minded individuals who also want to grow closer to God and want you to grow too. My Sunday School class is a great example of that. We each struggle with pronunciations of names and terms especially from the Old Testament. The rest of the class offers their way of pronouncing things and we go on with the discussion. The focus is on what we can learn from the lesson and how it can be applied to our lives today.
Churches are great places to develop friendships. As we have activities at the church, you cannot help but meet people and develop relationships with them. Whether you are cleaning flood-ravaged homes or working to help the children at the Vacation Bible School together, you learn to like people and how to get along. The most people end up being just like you – busy with jobs and families but still hoping to connect to their community and God.
I am a new member of my church. I was baptized and joined at the end of May. I am happy to say that Dunbar United Methodist Church is my church home and I feel at home whenever I enter there. I was scared the first time I entered; I didn’t know anyone but that feeling didn’t last long. I don’t know all the names yet but I’m learning. I try to be a part of the activities at the church that will let me help and grow. And there are many more activities that I have yet to explore.
If you are a member of the 86%, please come check out my home. It is warm and comfortable. It is full of smiling faces and song. It can become as much a part of your life as you want it, or you can just come and sing along with us on Sundays. I promise that no one will make fun of you being off key – at least they have not done it to me yet! (and I deserve it.)
May God Bless You and forgive me for posting without permission — Tracey Hall