Olivia Newport happy kidsLet me start with the reasons I marshaled for not going to the all-church Family Movie Night.

1. My kids are grown and wouldn’t be interested. Anyway, my family hasn’t been able to agree on a movie for at least ten years.

2. I have a Lot. Of. Work. A quiet Friday night could yield tremendous results.

3. The movie itself was of little interest to me. (Although Morgan Freeman was in the cast, and he always sucks me in.)

4. The showing would be in a room where I would be expected to sit upright in one of the functional less-than-comfortable chairs that torment give me the wiggles on Sunday mornings. I need more of that? (Perhaps it’s good for character development.)

5. They were serving hot dogs. Yuck. Get that away from me.

But I went. And here’s why.

1. We are a small church intentionally trying to build community through shared experiences.  I am not the only person who matters in this decision.

2. If I want my faith community to matter to me—and I do—I need to be present when it gathers. Not just for worship.

3. The proceeds from the hotdogs and popcorn went to a children’s mission project, Hope 4 Kids, and I definitely want to support both the project and awareness in our own young kids of the plight of children around the world.

4. The children’s ministry team does a bang-up job for how small we are, and I want to encourage their spirits.

5. I want the children in my church to know they matter. To God. To the congregation. To me. Giving them an occasional Friday night is one way I can let them know.

I tend to prejudge experiences, which is a hideous habit I badly need to break. How can you know until you go, right? On this occasion, I was delighted that a friend who worships in another church came to the movie with her two daughters, the fearless Eden and her spunky little sister. I hadn’t seen the girls in ages, and they were overflowing with hugs and handholding. What joy I would have missed if I had stayed home to work.

• What is your relationship like with your faith community?