Jess Reiche


Does Church Make a Christian?

I didn’t grow up in the church so I didn’t have the ease into Christian church culture. I didn’t grow up watching preachers and the way people act about God. So when I entered my first church service and quickly began my relationship with God and the church, I became absorbed. And it was wonderful. I was passionate. I was a bit naive. I saw things in black and white. You were for God or against God. You were a strong Christian or might as well be an atheist. You gave your life to God and to the church and everything else came second.

And the truth is, I still believe those overall things….it just looks a lot different in my life now.

At the age of 22 I was not married, had no kids, didn’t own a house, didn’t have much extended family and had a career that I treated more like a job. I was able to spend a lot of time in church and doing church things. It was a great season filled with passionate worship, strong messages, generous giving and loud convictions. God HAD ME. I didn’t want to be doing anything else with my life and I thought that was how things were supposed to be.

Now I’m 31, married with 2 kids, recent homeowner with a good amount of family and friends, and a homeschooling stay at home mom. We’re lucky if we make it into the church building twice in one month. And ya know what, it’s still a great season with God. It’s just different.

I’m finding that you can have a very strong relationship with God without being in the church building. Without passionate, loud, live worship. Without in-the-moment preaching. Without being a part of a time consuming ministry. And without loud convictions. God speaks to me through the every day things in life. He gently corrects me when my heart is in the wrong place. He shows me how to give generously to strangers and friends alike. My Pandora worship music station substitutes wonderfully for live music and I get to dance around worshipping in my living room. I am showing my kids what a living relationship with God truly looks like. We talk about God. We pray as a family. We listen to worship music. We talk about why we don’t believe in Santa Claus. We discover what it is to bless others and recognize blessings in our lives.

The truth is, some days I do miss my old church life. I miss being excited to go to church and see my youth kids and get convictions within minutes of worship and sermons. And I know there will probably be a time for that lifestyle again.

But right now I am trying to recognize the beauty in this lifestyle too. It takes a lot more work and patience and faith, but it’s true, it’s real, and it’s wonderful.

So if there is one thing I could say to the passionate, church loving people out there (aka my old self) – it’s this: Don’t judge a person by their church attendance. I was “raised” (in church) to believe that if you weren’t in church you weren’t a strong Christian. And I really believed it. But God has shown me otherwise. Do I love the church and believe everyone should be a part of one? Yes. Do I think you can be a strong Christian without being there all of the time? Yes, yes I do.

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