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Why should I bother to go to church?

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: I didn't grow up in a religious family, but a few months ago I decided to start going to church (partly to make new friends). But no one ever speaks to me, and I just feel like an outsider. Why should I bother? -- D.L.

A: I'm thankful you've started going to church, and I'm sorry you haven't felt welcome in this particular congregation. One reason I wanted to reprint your letter was because I hope it will encourage church members to go out of their way to welcome visitors. The Bible says, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1 Peter 4:9).

Nevertheless, I hope you won't be discouraged, but that you'll persevere and find true friends (either there or in another church). God loves you, and He wants you to discover this great truth and become part of your life every day. And one way this happens is through a church where Christ is preached and lived. If you have never done so, begin your journey of faith today by inviting Christ to come into your life.

Then ask Him to lead you to a church where you can grow, both socially and spiritually. Don't judge a church only by its weekly worship service; ask the pastor or someone in the congregation about other activities -- a Bible study, a prayer meeting, a volunteer service project. God's plan for every church is that "your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing" (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

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In addition, ask God to help you reach out to others, even as a visitor. Don't wait for them to speak to you; take the initiative to introduce yourself to them. Lonely and hurting people are found in every church -- and God can use you to encourage them.

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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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