Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

This Easter – Don’t JUST Go to Church

For a pastor, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year. Easter prep is in full swing, and we’ve thrown in some additional worship opportunities, so the bottom line is: I get to create a lot of content this week. Don’t worry, I love doing it, but sometimes when I sit down to write something else pops out of my head. This is one of those times.

I’m sitting here, staring at my MacBook, and the only thing I can think about is how much I don’t want you just to go to church this Easter. Weird right?

This week millions of people around the globe will set out to go to church, maybe for the first time, maybe just another week, but the one thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:

Going to church is not the same as going to Jesus.

Sunday morning church, the way we all know it, is really just an incredible tool that we can use to connect with God, but you can also go to church and not experience God at all. You can completely phone in a church experience. Going to Jesus is something different.

Going to Jesus is about having a real relationship, or at least beginning the conversation. In the Gospel of Matthew (26:36-46), moments before Jesus’ arrest, Jesus doesn’t go to church – he goes to God. He goes to God through prayer and conversation. It is an intimate and holy moment.

So many of us (myself included) often pretend that going to church is as important as going to God. Let me be clear – they aren’t even close. Church is a great tool, but it is not the same as the source. The thing about going to church versus going to God is that church will always disappoint you. Unfortunately, I see it all the time, people think they can show up to church, listen to the pastor and have it all figured out. Please don’t think that following a pastor is the same as following Jesus. I guarantee I will disappoint you.

The church, the pastor, the “whoever” it is in the church will always leave you wanting more. When you think about it, that is our job. Our job isn’t to be the be-all and end-all, our job is to get us moving in the direction towards the one who is: Jesus.

I know that thinking about a relationship with Jesus can be scary. It’s scary because we feel like we don’t deserve it, or we feel unlovable, or maybe somewhere along the way someone told us we were too “bad” to have that sort of relationship. I’ve found in my own life that none of that is true.

The hard part is that the church doesn’t always do a good job of reminding us of that – I think the humans in the church mess that part up. If you really want to believe this is true you are going to have to take some time to connect with the source. You are going to have to connect with Jesus.

This Easter don’t just go to church, take some time and go to Jesus. I think it will make all the difference in the world.

Need a tool to connect with Jesus? We'd love for you to join us at  Centerville UMC.

Need a tool to connect with Jesus? We'd love for you to join us at Centerville UMC.

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