Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How to Enjoy Church and Grow Personally When You Don't Learn Much while There

I have been asked by more than one person what they can do to enjoy church and feel like they are progressing spiritually at church when they don't feel like they are learning anything new by attending.  

My general advice is:

When you go to church, lay down your life for that short time period and step into Jesus' ministry. Start going primarily to find ways to serve people, not to be instructed. You can get the instruction you need outside of church, so whatever you get in church will be an unexpected bonus. I promise, there are lots of people who need to be served at any given time - at least as many, I'm certain, as need to be taught.

Focus on being the servant first (a savior to others) and be the student whenever that happens naturally.

It really can change the life you lay down when you leave your house each Sunday.


Anonymous said...

It normally takes prior preparation to have an enjoyable, learning experience at church. Daily scripture study, personal prayer and service during the week will greatly enhance the church experience.

You cannot get all the instruction you need outside church. If you're only experiencing instruction from speakers and teachers, you are missing out the most important instruction at Church - the personal whisperings of the Spirit. You're supposed to be at Church so the Spirit will teach you. If you aren't where you know you should be, you will absolutely miss out those types of Spirit to spirit teachings.

Sitting through 3 hours of church can be difficult - but when else would we expect the blessings to come ?

Papa D said...

I agree completely, Anonymous, that growth and learning can occur even when it isn't generated or inspired by instruction from others - and that we each have a responsibility to be as prepared as we can be to be taught by the Spirit in church. Thank you for saying that so clearly.

There are people, whoever, who need support and service at church that, perhaps, only we can give if we are in tune with that - and that comes both by focus and by sudden inspiration. In the end, after decades of attendance, I simply believe it is a primary responsibility of many members to let go of the need to be the focus of learning and growth in a congregation and pick up the service of being the catalyst for others' learning and growth - while being open to the times when personal learning and growth will happen as a result of simply being there.

Papa D said...

I agree completely, Anonymous, that preparation is critical for personal growth and understanding - and I appreciate it being mentioned in your comment. However, I also believe, deeply, that, at some point, church attendance can stop being primarily about one's self and become primarily about others.

As I said in the post, learning and growth still can occur for anyone who is open to it - but, as President Uchtdorf said in a talk a few years ago, we need to be the Savior's hands (or the Spirit's mouth, if you will) for others more often than we sometimes are.