Presbytery Guest Blog by
Rev. Karl Hauser
Southminster Presbyterian Church
2021 Presbytery Moderator

There are lots of things to value in the church. If you are reading this you are probably part of a church already. If so, how would you explain to someone outside of the church, WHY the church um… actually matters?

An easy way to start off is to think of things in your own life that are important. Family, friends, good health. No one needs to explain why those matter because we all know. No stranger will disagree with you if you said, “I need to prioritize taking care of my family.” You might get a weird look if you instead said, “I need to prioritize my Sunday worship experience.” Church, and church stuff, is losing its value in our world not because the world is moving on, but because we in the church have not kept up.

For too long Americans just assumed church mattered (for good or ill) and we stopped saying “why” it mattered. But for many, it was about the friendships, the spiritual assurance, the working as Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. The unfortunate thing is that we have gone so long without stating the “why” that we find ourselves unwilling to offer a compelling enough reason of “why church stuff matters.”

Before I offer up a response, let’s take a step back from church into one of my favorite past times: playing video games. Think what you will about them, but they were formative for me several of my friends, and family. You probably have also heard of Netflix? I read an article a few years back when all the streaming services started to come online to compete with Netflix. The author asked Netflix’s CEO who is your biggest threat? You know what they said? “Twitch.” Twitch is the fastest-growing form of entertainment for kids today. It is a streaming service that allows users to play video games online with friends, and live stream it. It matters.

How does the church, in our world today, claim to matter? The answer: the same way it always has.

Every generation of humanity has adapted, advanced, and forgotten enough to fill a thousand books. But through each of those generations, the church has managed to endure. The fall of the Roman Empire was an existential threat to Christianity, so too were, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the political revolutions of the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution, multiple world wars. Did the church ever cease to matter? No. And here is why.

The story of a carpenter from a small town who shows a corrupt world what it means to do what is right is timeless. It is a profound story about what it means to be human, to struggle with morality and feel the sting of sin; yet we are comforted and encouraged because of even greater love and forgiveness of a creator. The story of the church will never cease to “matter” because it is, by its very nature, speaking to the center of our existence. It matters because it is our story, yours and mine. If you can claim the Gospel story as your own, you can say “God helped me when I felt alone,” or “I felt encouraged when I served others because of Jesus’ love,” or “the church family has become my family.”

When your friend asks, “Why does church stuff matter?” Simply say, “Because church stuff reminds us what really matters: the meaning of our life and death and how Christ calls us to make a difference in the world.”

Rev. Karl Hauser
2021 Presbytery Moderator
Southminster Presbyterian Church



  • Posted November 2, 2021 4:07 pm
    Susan Andrews

    Good words…thanks,

  • Posted November 2, 2021 4:47 pm
    Leslie Boone

    As usual, Karl, your comments are spot on. Why not we, the people who know what “stuff” matters, speak more freely of this “stuff”? We seem to be somewhat casual or even cavalier about “stuff” to the point of missing the point that “stuff” does matter when it comes to our lives intertwined in a giant web of humanity in this world we call home. Praise be to our wondrous God! Thank you, Karl

  • Posted November 2, 2021 5:09 pm
    Joe Marting

    Very profound, insightful and spot-on timely!
    Well done Karl!

  • Posted November 3, 2021 9:11 am
    James Willock

    Well said, Karl. We must never forget the story of Jesus and how it connects to our own. A lot of “church stuff” like budgets and committees and meetings and arguments over social issues can too often seem to be what the church is about and can turn some people off. But at heart the church is about relationships — our relationship with God and with all of those around us. Pastors have a hard but vital task to keep lifting up, telling and retelling that essential story over all of the conflicting stories that dominate the news and through the tangles of our individual lives. The good news is that our loving God goes with us, even pursues us, through all of life and runs to meet us at its end.

    Keep telling the story, Karl.

  • Posted November 3, 2021 9:45 am
    Diane McCullough

    Karl, Thank you. Faith has been my comfort, strength and reminder that hope lives, no matter what current events may say to the contrary. I pray that we, as the church, will, with the underpinning of our faith, continue to serve justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

  • Posted November 3, 2021 2:55 pm
    Bill Vincent

    Thank you, Karl! Yes, indeed, the church matters…and so does each of us!

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