As much as I dislike using the following phrase, I recently moved house and subsequently went “church hunting.” That statement makes it sound like I was involved in some sort of optional leisure activity, yet I’ve actually had to scour the bottom of my faith to discover what I value the most. For the first time in my life, I understood first hand why some believers choose to be private Christians and never belong to a local congregation.

And yet, here I am, eager to taste the grace of God during the Lord’s Supper. Longing to form relationships with older Christian women who can teach me, like in the type of   New Testament community the epistles describe as ideal. The sermon isn’t even the half of it for me, because I’ve found little scriptural evidence for expecting pastors to regurgitate whatever they study during the week into my expectant mouth, like I am their baby bird.

Eucharist; and honest, intentional relationships that challenge me. Those are the two things that motivate me to get out of bed on a Sunday morning, even when I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep.

I’m wondering what any private Christians out there think about some of the advantages of belonging to a body of fellow believers. If you are part of a church, what things do you value as most important when you are trying to find a church or, having visited one, considering joining it? Most importantly, what keeps you coming back?