Last weekend most people in America avoided church. And, a sizable portion of those who did make it to church wished they were somewhere else. But why?
I decided to go direct to the source. I staked out a city park to ask the public why they weren’t in church. What they told me echoed what I’ve been hearing for several years now.
Their reasons centered around four recurring themes:
- “Church people judge me.” A young woman told me that as a child she regularly attended church and Sunday school. But she’s given up on the church as an adult. “They make me feel like an outcast,” she said. “How? Why?” I asked. “Well, I’m a smoker,” she said.
- “I don’t want to be lectured.” More people today want to participate in the discussion. A man told me he’s talked with over a thousand other men who’ve given up on church. He said, “Guys don’t want to sit in a room and idly listen to some preacher do all the talking. They want to ask questions. They want to share their thoughts too.”
- “They’re a bunch of hypocrites.” I know church leaders are weary of this “excuse.” But people aren’t merely referring to incongruous behavior. What bothers them is the sense that church spokespeople act like they have all the answers. That they’ve arrived. That they’re only interested in telling others what to do—“teaching,” to use the church vernacular.
- “I don’t want religion. I want God.” Most people don’t experience God at church. They’re not looking for the “deep” theological trivia that seems to interest some preachers. They crave something very simple. They’re dying to be reassured that God is real, that he is more than a historical figure, that he is present today, and that he is active in the lives of people around them.
Those of us who remain in this imperfect gathering of the faithful need to stop talking and “teaching” long enough to listen to the majority outside our walls. I’m not suggesting their views are flawless. Or that we should design ministry merely according to consumer whims. But we do need to keep our ultimate goal in mind—to help bring others into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
That’s what defined the ministry of Jesus himself. He boldly broke away from the habits and routines of the religious elite of the time. And he fashioned a highly relational ministry that connected with the disenfranchised.
We’ve heard the four cries of the common people cited here so often that we decided to address them as we shaped the national network of Lifetree Cafes. In fact, these cries form the basis for the Lifetree values that are posted and stated each week at every Lifetree Café.
You’re welcome just as you are.
Your thoughts are welcome. Your doubts are welcome.
We’re all in this together.
God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way.
So thankful that my church leaders understand the hunger for God in our culture and are committed to open, receptive methodologies. Sermon series going on now: “Losing our religion.”
Trey, we have 2 friend days (April, November), sirnpg break door knocking campaign (Heritage Christian University), food pantry, and we are going to mail out 5,000 DVDs (Searching For Truth from World Video Bible School). We also have a youth program, VBS, Back to School Bash in September, family retreat (camping in October), and other assorted events where we encourage members to invite their friends. Plus I do chapel at the Christian Home and Bible School hoping for the kids to get to know and introduce me to their parents when they see me at the grocery store.
You honestly think god is there. I live in Africa and every day people pray to god to make to help them, and instead they shot my parents.
Helios, It was very sad to learn that your parents were killed. May you sense His peace and power as you struggle with this tragic loss. Perhaps your very words from your post were the very words of God as they killed His Son Jesus. I’ve discovered that God handles my anger over issues very well. I’ve never encountered wrath from God…only His mercy and grace. Peace be unto you! -Reep
My soul, Reep! What a supercilious and pompous response. Forgive my deriding comments but you raise my ire! Helios is struggling with a real issue here. He is a human being, not Jesus hanging on the cross. Have you lost all sense of compassion? This is a child. He had a father and a mother. They are dead. Can you grasp that in real terms instead of some disconnected religious concept?
Helios, I would say to you. What a horrible horrible thing that has happened to you. Yes, you cried out to God to help and he did not. Your parents were shot and it is right that you are angry with God for not helping your parents. This is my view for what it is worth. God gives us life in the form of the breath we breathe and yes we can draw close to him and and he can speak to us but it is all internal and so we hear him warn us not to go there or here but that is as far as it goes. Evil is everywhere, within every person and some people give in to it. That is their choice. God does not override our will. Following him and his kindness and gentleness remains a choice we make daily. People suffer because of choices others make. God stands helplessly by. He may be begging them in their heart not to do it, but they choose not to listen. That is reality. God cannot stop us from choosing to harm one another. If he could, we would just be robots and then indeed we could blame him for all the horror in the world. Our free will, is a gift we do not treasure. I want to urge you to please use your free will, to make choices that will bring life even though you are heartbroken and are probably really angry and bitter. You have a right to be. Yet God would that you accept his love, because he is offering it to you, in the midst of your pain. My heart goes out to you. God loves your parents and he did not want them to die. He tried to stop those people from shooting them. They did not want to listen to him. That was their choice. My heart breaks for you.
I am so sorry that this happened. We do need to pray for comfort and healing, however, it is not the same as having concrete support in your life. People can pray to their heart’s content, but sometimes, it is not enough. If people want to connect and show TRUE support for others, I think that they should set aside religious differences and take the time to get to know the person; their likes/dislikes, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, what kind of interests, etc. Our church parish nurse had a tip on giving comfort to a person who has lost someone. She emphasized that a person offering comfort should refrain from saying things like God has him, or it was his time, etc. Those words do not add comfort to someone who is grieving because the person who is grieving is focusing on their loss. What a person in that situation needs is someone who will be there to help with things that they are not able to do right now, or just to have someone listen to how that person feels, or a shoulder to cry on. If people want to help, it should be in a more productive way that does focus on what will help the person heal. If I would lose someone right now, I would not feel that comforted with pious words from someone who would just get up an leave without offering a REAL olive branch for me to reach out to, or to spend time with me.
I used to go to a Lutheran church, and they would emphasize the importance of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior in order to get into heaven. This church did not care much if at all about how people felt, or if they offended anyone with harsh words in their teaching. I was raised Christian, but I am also half Jewish (my dad was Jewish and he died when I was three years old). I never got to experience any of the Jewish culture or heritage, because my mother is Catholic Christian. The Lutheran church that I used to go to was very judgmental and constantly put me down if I dare utter that am half Jewish, they would also persecute Catholics. I think that someone in that church even told me that my dad was in hell because he was not a Christian. That church never took a genuine interest in me as a person. They would only hound me about needing to go to church and spend time with their activities. I have never felt more disconnected an alienated by any group as I did with them. Needless to say, I left that church, did not go to except to a Catholic Church on occasion for about ten years, and then I converted to Catholicism. The Catholic does not pressure people in doing things that they are not ready to do. I was not rushed in being confirmed like I was in the Lutheran church. The Catholic Church does not mettle in people’s personal affairs, or judge anyone for having any priorities or interests outside of the church.
To Michelle (who responded to Helios) What you said is more in
line with what really happened, however, it was unecessary to call Reep out on his(her?) reply. None of us knows all the answers. The fact that Reep responded at all shows (s)he at least has a heart of
compassion for someone such as Helios that is suffering. I do
agree that so many times we blame God for things that he
did not do; He is good all the time…..even though bad things can
happen to good people. He could but he will not always override
a persons free will. There will be many exceptions to that, but
for the most part he did not create us to be robots. However,
choices and actions have consequences. The people that did this
to your parents did something evil and God will have the last word.
I know your going threw some difficulties in life but if it happen is for a reason and only God knows why..Jesus loves you and he is a healer all you have to do in your situation is open your heart because he is with his open arms waiting for you to ask and you will receive!!!He Is there and dont ever blame him..Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you and i promise he will.Read Isaiah 41;10
Dearest Danny. Your heart is in the right place but your answers are what you have been taught to say.
1. There is greater purpose for the death of his parents. It was brutal and callous and horrendous and offensive and no God did not help him even though he prayed. That is the reality. Live your reality. Be angry. And then stop because anger prevents us from living and while we breathe we have to live, we are actually obliged to live. Live within the sadness of loss, but live anyway.
2. Jesus is a healer. Perhaps he is and sometimes he is not and most of the time, he is non-existent in terms of reality. He is only as real as our minds make him.
3. All you have to do in your situation is is open your heart because he is with his open arms waiting for you to ask and you will receive!!! Really? This is just mind games. Loving yourself is the real challenge. Knowing you are worth something is more important than looking for acceptance from an illusion you generate in your own mind. That is why God/Jesus/ the whole spiritual experience is elusive. We generate it ourselves and if we are distracted, we lose the feeling and then think God has abandoned us. You believe with your mind. You can believe the sun is blue if you want to.
4. He is there and don’t ever blame him. Really? Says who? Who is your god who is there? Try to answer apart from the religious teaching you have been taught. Answer from how you experience him. How is he there? In what form? Like a comforting feeling? Where does that comforting feeling come from? From within does it not? How interesting is that. You generate the comfort you seek. That is the power of the mind.
Are you instructing Helios to not blame God? Why can he not blame God? If God says he is in charge of everything and decides when people will live or die, I would not be surprised if many people blame God for killing their parents, children……
Unfortunately when people choose to believe they fail to use logic and then become dogmatic to hide their confusion. God as the Creator made sure you have grey matter in your head, use it.
Look at yourself as a creation, see what you are capable of. That is where God is. The strongest emotion humans experience is love. God created that capacity to love, within you, so love, that is where you experience God. We are also capable of great evil but the one makes us have an ulcer and the other makes us smile and be happy. The choice is rather simple but exceedingly profound and powerful. Be who you were created to be, stop trying to live mindless, meaningless dogma.
And lastly, Ask the Holy Spirit and he will speak to you, I promise.
Who and what is the Holy Spirit? How do you ask? How do you know he has spoken to you? Is it a loud voice screaming in your ear? No it is internal. How do you differentiate between your own thoughts and the voice of the Holy Spirit. What does he sound like? Does he even speak with words?
How can you PROMISE something like this? Helios prayed. Did the Holy Spirit say, I am going to kill your parents? Be careful what you say. Ignorant rhetoric is dangerous.
I’m a Christian and live in a foreign country. I don’t speak their lang. even though I have tried. I went to the Church but they don’t speak any Eng. and I heard a few laughing cause I was there not understanding any of it. So I prefer reading my Bible daily and having a one on one fellowship w/ God .
Here are some musings about the hypocrisy thing:
1. Sometimes? “The church is full of hypocrites” = “Those people aren’t catering to MY whims/making me feel better about my own sin.” I think this is rare, but I’ve seen it.
2. Sometimes a Christian fails in full view of a nonChristian with whom they have a relationship (any sort of relationship). I did this recently. I feel really terrible about the effect that it’s had on my witness to this person. I also feel bad about what I did. I have apologised to them and repented to God. I’m pretty confident about God’s grace (and grateful for it!) because of who He is, and I’m trying to move on in that grace and live more consistently. However, the person I wounded hasn’t availed themselves of God’s grace and therefore is incapable of offering it. Apart from a miracle, forgiveness is not going to come from that quarter, and I know I’m being thought of as a hypocrite. To what extent is the “hypocrisy” critique an inability to understand that Christians, in spite of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, still screw up sometimes, but that we are forgiven and empowered to move on?
3. Presumably the opposite of hypocrisy is authenticity. If, in the above situation, I had been dishonest (inauthentic) with the person in question, it is arguable that they would never have found out about my sin, and thus unable to accuse me of hypocrisy. Ironically. How does one handle a situation like that?
Maybe if we ourselves quit syaing, I have to go to church today, and rather I get to go worship with my spiritual family today, those outside the body might see us differently from denominations. The only difference may be that we know a few more people in the church than those in denominations do in their church group. Although I do believe outreach programs are useful, especially for those of us who find it hard to do personal outreach, still it has to become personal, one on one with our friends and neighbors, to be effective for bringing lost souls to Christ. Jeanne M.
A hypocrite is the one who says, “Thank you, Lord, that I am not a sinner like that pitiful person sitting over there”. It is the one who does all the gossiping and putting down of other Christians and non-Christians and lifts himself as higher and better than others. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. This is why we have no right to “stone” anyone. The one who says he never sins is a liar and a hypocrite. And that is why it is said the church is full of hypocrisy.
The real question is, are these people who think this way, that they are better or others are worse, really Christian? Are they showing forth any fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) after many years of being in the church? I know this is a gradual process but can we not know it, after all, if they will know we are Christians BY our love?
And, of course, if they are not showing love, which is the greatest and the root of all the others, the proper response is to seek the Lord in all sincerity on their behalf. Their very souls may be at stake.
Sometimes the Lord puts these people in our path so we can pray for them. Especially if we are the one they are persecuting or gossiping about. We are told to love our enemies. When we start to pray for them and continue to “stand in the gap” for them, we do develop the love for them that God has for them. He is willing that none should perish.
I like what you post at the Lifetree cafes Thom, but many churches have to go beyond the nice-sounding statements. Many of them adopt a seemingly welcoming vision/mission statement, but the church body hasn’t fully embraced it. I was once part of a church in which the pastoral leadership chose the phrase, “Loving God and people unconditionally”. Well, try selling that to other leaders who don’t understand what unconditional love is. I kid you not, I was sitting in a meeting in which another leader asked, “What does that mean?” Others questioned it as well and I came right out and addressed their concern that we did not necessarily have to become like some churches that allowed anything, because this was their fear. They equated love with being permissive and were more concerned about their rules than anything. Nevertheless, it was a hard sell. People criticized for a long time an outreach ministry to the poor and resisted the pastor’s urging to go into the community to do service projects without mentioning the church name. In other words, just doing acts of kindness for people. Where it starts is with training one’s own church. Until they catch the vision and embrace it, you are setting yourself up to hurt and discourage people who come in expecting one thing based on what we say, and experiencing something totally different by what we do.
As a young child, I was forced to take coniummon before I was ready. My grandmother was methodist and was a shut-in. I stayed with her often and when the preacher would come to call we all had to take coniummon. I remember being a very scared little girl being told this was blood and flesh it was eerie. AND I was in church. I just didn’t have the background to understand it all.Even to this day, as a 33 year old woman, I still sorta cringe when it is time to take coniummon. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. I just think about those days as a kid when it was forced and I was not ready. I have 3 kids, ages 10, 7, and 6. One has been baptized but she has never asked to take coniummon and I’ve never forced it on her. We attend a contemporary church and coniummon is given every few months or so. It is not an every Sunday occurance. Most Sunday’s she opts to be in the kids service so they aren’t exposed to it as much anyhow.Good questions.Lindsey recently posted..
Hi Jenn. I hear what you’re saying about the hypocrisy, but I don’t think it means being inauthentic. While I have open, progressive thinking on some things, I am kind of modest in my living. Yet, I have professed atheists and those disenchanted with the faith telling me that they like me or if they were a Christian, they’d want to be like me. I’m not living inauthentically (at least I try not to). I’m honest about my feelings and treat people like people regardless of whether or not they adhere to my faith. I think that’s what people respect about me. What I have found is that the authenticity that I try to walk in is appreciated by those outside of the faith and not so much by Christians. It’s as if the Church is the one wants inauthenticity. Independent thinking, particularly that which goes against the accepted status quo, is not always appreciated.
Some of the hypocrisy that I think people are referring to is for example like the elder at the last church I was apart of beating entire sanctification into the ground, yet berating people (family and fellow elders alike) when they don’t live up to his standard, storming out of a meeting in anger when it was organized the way he thought it should be and using “God didn’t call us to save the world” to justify not supporting the outreach ministry that I referenced in my other comment above. But he believed in “living above sin” as he called it. Hmmm…..no contradiction there, right? We all sin. I think what people are looking for is not a gap between what we vigorously preach and what we say or do. Preach all you want on something, but don’t act holier than thou about it. I think maybe what people are looking for is a dose of humility with what we say.
Great post- hit the nail on the head. I’ve heard all of these reasons given for not going to church or for not engaging more in the church.
I think these reasons are partially responsible for people choosing other religions as well. They want to feel accepted and they want to know God (any god) not just religion. They want to take part in something greater than themselves.
I find it disheartening that a smoker feels condemned and judged. We all sin, some are just more noticeable than others. As my pastor says, “Don’t judge me because my sin is different than yours”.
Bravo!!! Thank you Thom for taking the time to ask people the question, listening to their answers and sharing what you heard! I can relate and it’s a comfort knowing that I’m not alone.
Excellent topic and great post! Very informative and well said!
If it’s the hypocrites that stand between you and God, they are closer to God than you are.
Except they DON’T, and they’re NOT.
Trite axioms never did and never will help. It’s BS people use when they know they have no real answer to any honest question.
I like that phrase “Your doubts are welcome” because that is something I have never experienced in a church. I feel very uncomfortable verbalizing doubts at church because then the people at my church will think I am not a Christian,and feel like they have to evangelize me back into the fold. So I usually just don’t say anything…
Totally understand your apprehension about sharing some doubts…I’ve discovered that a bit of vulnerability oens others up for being willing to be vlnerable themselves. In some small grouping give it try…and know His peace and power as you become bold and courages.
great post. the only amendment I would make is to say that Jesus broke away from the religious mainstream… as led by the religious elite. I know it sounds like splitting hairs but I see a lot of churched people giving themselves an unwarranted free-pass because they don’t consider themselves ‘elite’ but they are still part of a system that binds heavy burdens on people and don’t lift a finger to help them.
Intriguing post, Thom! I think it’s vital for the Church to be listening to these park bench discussions, and understand the thinking of its critics. How sad would it be if we never learned what we’re doing wrong or how we can reach the unchurched?
PS- I wasn’t familiar with your blog or Lifetree Cafe before today, and have to say I’m very glad to have discovered both! Awesome creative work for the Kingdom.
I see your point, but I think the problem extends to the very people who are still showing up on Sunday mornings…most not wanting to be there as well. We, as a culture, are losing a sense of the purpose of church and its role… Just blogged about why I hate church and how I reconcile that…
As with most of the previous corenmtems, we did not allow C to partake until she had made a profession of faith as we believe communion is connected to being a part of the Body of Christ. However, we did make every effort before she was able to partake to explain exactly what was going on and use it as an opportunity to teach her. I generally sat in the back of the church with her so I could whisper my explanations.
Excellent article …I agree very much
Reblogged this on Cite Simon and commented:
Here’s some honest talk we all need to think through. Even without a degree in rocket science, it’s not hard to spot the trends and recognize that the church as we have known it is going to have to change. Bigger churches get pushed towards “mega-entertainment” while many smaller churches struggle to connect with anyone outside their walls. It’s all about connecting with people so check out the Lifetree Cafe idea – it might be a part of the solution.
I love this and have been thinking a lot about this subject. We as Christians have gotten really good at throwing the book at people instead of gifting it to them.
Some of us have been deeply hurt by people in positions of trust, and responsibility, in the church. Having seen the hyprocrosy up close, one loses respect for these so called “Preachers” when they see they are no more than sharks in the baptistry. It is very difficult to go back in these cases. All “ministers”, no matter how sincere, tend to get lumped into the sum, unfortunately.
Christians LOVE to uses the excuse of the devil. It is the devil trying to rob you, it is the devil who has allowed this Pastor to hurt you, it is the devil who comes to destroy… No one ever says the truth. The truth is, when we are going about hurting others, we are not marked with love, and if we cannot operate in love to the underdog or porcupine, than we don’t KNOW him who is love. We are just a sack of relgious garbage. We don’t have revival because we crave being religious because really living for Jesus requires a change and sacrifice. I’m so tired of being h urt by christians in posistions of authority, that I could puke. No wonder we don’t lead the lost to Jesus, because we are LOST. We defend the Pastor at whatever the cost, when HE should be the first one we hold accountable. I’ve seen districts and church counsel protect the Pastor over the weaker one without status. I’m so tired of the “ladder” in churches. People wiht more importance than others, it is so not Christ like, Didn’t I read that Jesus, being perfect, being God, humbled himself to the point of death, even washing the feet of men who would in one way or another betray him… No wonder I don’t see the New Testiment Church. Laying hands and seeing healing of the sick. I’m frustrated and angry right now because honestly, I don’t want to ever go to church again.
Many good points DiAnna. If we have no love as Christians, no real love and compassion and tolerance and respect, all the ‘religious’ stuff, singing hymns, listening to sermons, going to church is just a sack of religious garbage, navel gazing and self obsession with no real value for anyone, least of all the people involved in it all.
Hierarchy is a big problem too. What has that got to do with Gospel anyway?
If the churches, no if Christians want to be relevant, read the Gospels and learn from them. Instead of waffling on about love, get out there and practise it; feed the hungry, help the homeless, reach out to the lost and hurting, do something useful!
The biggest church hurt for me wasn’t when two Senior Pastors of two different churches where I was a faithful member (and looked up to these Pastors as Christ-like, godly men) had adulterous affairs & were forced to resign by the denominational leadership. That hurt but did not do it for me in terms of never wanting to go into a church bldg again.
What caused me to not want to go to church was after I did a fact check on bible facts for myself. I read my entire bible from Genesis to Revelation word for word. What a shocker that was to discover Church leadership lied about being cursed with the Malachi 3:8-9,10 curse for not keeping the Old Covenant tithe commandment .
The tithe law was one Old Covenant law out of many. Jesus said in Matthew 23:23 it was not even the most important (Old Covenant) law & he said this to Israel and to Jews bound by the law before he died on the cross to fulfill the law. Tithes were not paid in their silver or gold but in food & meat from the land & from their animals to serve the purpose of feeding the Levite Priest & the poor who owned no land.
I also duly noted Romans 6:14 ” We aren’t under the law but grace”
I also read where “Christ has redeemed us from the curse” (this would include all curses cause Jesus nailed the curse to the cross by being cursed in our place! Galatians 3:13
Romans 10:4 “Christ is the end of the law for everyone who believes”
Jesus fulfilled the law, which is why Christians do not keep Jewish laws like no pork, circumcision of 8 day old males and endless rituals and sin offerings like under the Old Covenant.
After Jesus said Paid in full, it is finished there is no mandate to tithe but we can give as we voluntarily not legalistically as we are led by the Holy Spirit our guide & teacher in all things
Tithing was old covenant. Those in Christ have his favor paid in full called grace
They lied to me & still lie to gullible bible illiterates. Just to think for 20 yrs I swallowed the fear of the Old Covenant Malachi curse, now I wonder what esle these control freaks are spinning & twisting for their own gain?
I would have given to support these ministries as led by the Holy Spirit which Jesus sent after he ascended back to God. These control freaks don’t trust the Holy Spirit to lead & guide us they must keep the tithe lie going for their salaries. I’m done with them!
Good Morning, Guest,
No cheap shot intended…but, how is the Holy Spirit working in your life today? I trust that the Jesus you’ve journeyed with these twenty years is still the foundation of your faith.
I completely understand how you must feel if wherever you have attended, you feel you were being pressured to always give money and only that. I agree completely with you about some churches holding on to some Old Covenant laws. The only thing I would like to just share with you, if it’s ok, is I am a missionary and run medical clinics in Haiti. I attend a large non-denominational church in PA. I have experienced, by finding the church that best exemplifies Christ and pours so much money back into the streets, towns, cities and countries around us and abroad, that there really are good churches out there. The tithing does help us to do the work we must do and without it, none of this would be possible. If your church or others you have attended are not properly using God’s money (our tithes He blessed us with) to do His work as He tells us to, then I agree, it may not be the right place for you or anyone else. But, don’t give up on God’s churches as a whole. There will always be churches with problems, none are perfect, but together, as a church family we are stronger. We are united, we can lift each other up when one falls, we can reach out to another when they need us, we can be there to worship and praise God. We should attend church not for our own selves to feel warm and fuzzy. The truths of God’s Word can sometimes be very hard to hear and Jesus told us that. We must be willing to change and leave our old ways behind. It starts with us and God is just waiting. I promise you there are good churches. I too have attended many that were not biblically based or what I believed to be God’s home. But I found it and so can everyone else. It takes wanting to make the effort. If Jesus could die for us, can’t we atleast make more of an effort for Him?
Spot on. Tithe teachers are LIARS.
I have been faithfully attending for over a decade tithing regularly, but this political cycle has been particularly difficult. I cant vote for a cult leader and my church family disregards everything i have tried to be a part of for a single vote. Politics and faith are a touchy subject and should be handled with care not the I am right you are wrong approach.
Julie, it is wonderful how you are helping the poor.
However, no one is saying NOT to give to help missions. Just that church leadership does not have the right to spiritually abuse their congregants or quote curses over redeemed from the curse people to get people to give!
David, the church has become so carnal until many of them think a Politician can change society or people’s heart, no one but Jesus can change people’s heart. If folks don’t have the right image of God and Jesus they certainly can’t save themselves let alone anyone else.
…and how about our Dominionist brethren who believe they are called to bring about God’s kingdom on earth. Hey, the Lord can’t do it himself anymore, he needs people to influence the government so it will be safe to come back. I left my church of 25 years because it adopted that stupid belief system. Oh they loved talking about spiritual warfare, actually believed they could order the spirit world around. These were all wealthy people promising really crazy stuff.
They were going to close down all the adult bookstores. Pat Robertson was going to be president. Verily I say not.
The people at my church are annoying and they cry a lot…._-
There is more whining going on among the unchurched than I even imagined. “Get over it” only begins to express what I want to say!
Ive been in church my whole life and never thought I’d be at a place to say “I don’t want to go to church” but I am. I see people trying to put on a show, not being real, worried about what things look like in the outside and not the inside. I see things run like a business. People using the gospel to feel important and/or get rich. I see kids being hurt, bored or entertained like the world with no spiritual value. I know we should not forsake the assembly but I am so discouraged.
Mary, I feel exactly the same way. Today I went to a service and it felt like a the people who spoke were all announcers for a t.v. Show. And some of these people I know well…they’re complete opposites away from church.
Another thing that bugs me is they said “is anyone here that wants to accept Christ into their heart, come forward” I am the only one not part of the church and I see everyone looking at me like a weirdo. I felt like an outcast.
I just want to learn about Christ and keep that relationship with God private. Is this possible today? I would love people to know im Christian simply by my actions not me running up on stage telling people that i’m christian.
Maybe folks will get over it when various churches do better and stop manipulations and condemnations esp. to collect money.
Terrible divorce,forclosed home,homeless,hungry,thirsty, awful time for me,,joined a church because God was my strength and did miracles in my life, as time went on I found the ladies in ladies fellowship group were heavy smokers,cuss and gossip about everyone in the church this was done near Christmas as we were planning Love Feast at the church..actually smoking in fellowship hall..!!..I am really disappointed and sad but my love for God is the same..i know He knows best for me as I am not going to continue going there as the services are regulated by script ..no emotion,also people bring tea to drink in glasses during services and kids eating older kids..cheese crackers and drinks..Pastor is leaving today retiring don’t blame him..So sad for this church..burt God warns of them..thanks!
‘…and kids eating older kids…’ No wonder you don’t want to go to that church!!!
My comment that maybe folks will get over it when many churches that turn people away from church do better and stop ( being spiritually abusive) and was to Fred who said get over it.
When the sincere believers in Christ are publicly shamed from the pulpit while others are there that are known abusers of wives, one man withholding money from his wife as a sort of punishment, couples in church that marry and divorce, then remarry a couple months later (more than one couple I know of) and yet they are never publicly rebuked; never a sermon on the subject of husbands abusing wives, divorce being so prevalent, etc…. That could be some of the reasons christians are staying away. None of us is perfect, yet if the preachers are really hearing from God then why are they majoring on the minors and not preaching whats really going on in the congregation. I have been publicly deliberately shamed from the pulpit for being “too demonstrative” in worship (dancing in the spirit, for example) while families were falling apart behind the scenes and nothing was being said about it in the sermons. My marriage is far from perfect, but we chose to stay together and work on it with God’s help, and after all these years, our marriage is stronger than it was. But yet I was treated like an outcast by the pastor and others while the abusers are still in the church, and have never been disciplined. Pastors seem to think that it’s okay to confront someone from the pulpit even with false information without even talking with them first. No one is safe. If someone dislikes you they can go to the pastor with lies and accusations and the pastor can use it in his sermon even if it is not true. I am in a place right now where I am doing all I can to forgive this man; but to hear pastors defend themselves and think they can do no wrong is the greatest disservice to the church at large. I trust God to get me back on track. I know He will NEVER leave me or forsake me. He did however tell me to “wipe the dust off my feet” and leave, then he confirmed it through a woman who called me the next day with the same scripture. I pray for this pastor to be blessed. I want no part of vengeance of any kind. But pastors and leaders need to know how much weight their words carry and the harm they can do through thoughtless words.
I am so intensely grateful that God has moved me away from all of “this”. I read this blog for no other reason than curiosity and after reading all the responses, I find my spirit burdened and heavy and sad. I see so many like the blind pharisees, who believe sincerely but self-righteous judgment oozes out of their viewpoints. It is sickening because they really are blind to the effect it has on hurting, genuine people.
I see those who conform to the idea of church and in their innocent ignorance find no “wrong”. There is no wrong in loving Christ and following him.
For those who are hurt by the double standards, political organisation that church has become and are bitter, seeking justice of some sort, even just an acknowledgment of the wrong done to you, I would urge you to forgive and to move on with God. He will lead you to communities (I use the word loosely, in its intended meaning, not in its corrupt sense of structured organisation but as a “group of genuine relational people”) where you will know true unconditional love and people being able to share their genuine struggles with one another in an atmosphere of complete acceptance and deep genuine love. We are out there. I would say to you, there is none so blind as those who do not want to see. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Move on with God and one day, healed, you will want to weep for those who are still trapped in ways of thinking that limit themselves in terms of being really free. Free to love and free to fail and then to laughingly jump up into the loving arms of father as he kisses our scraped knees better, knowing the pain is lesson enough. A hurting child needs love and comfort, not a stick laid on an open wound. Go in peace because even your bitter demand for justice is but a self-righteous act.
Turn your face to the warmth of Father’s love and you will find a life that brings joy and happiness to your heart in a way that will defy your imagination because it will move beyond your understanding. Be prepared for an adventure that is going to challenge your paradigms and set you free in ways you cannot right now, conceive of. Trust God.
hi guys i loved the article although there’s nothing like your home church, for those who dont yet attend we need these fresh expressions to show them god is not just in church, after all in which class we’re you not allowed to raise a hand,
Michelle couldn’t resist the urge to out-Christian Reep. The contest continues…sorry, I’m just not interested.
2pz, Michelle actually sounds like she has discovered a relationship with God that has freed her from traditonal religious trappings. I confess to not understanding the velocity of her lightening bolt hurled my way. However, this public arena graciously allows each of us the candor of our thoughts.
I can understand your disinterest in followers of Christ non-intentionally out posting each other…enjoy your journey! -Reep
We have experienced most of the reasons mentioned above and unfortunately they are true in many churches and congregations. Church meetings should be “family” gatherings where all share their testimonies and love for our Lord and one another. I am also interested to know who this Reep is who is commenting on this post as this is an old family name that to our knowledge only occurs in my family I am the oldest one at nearly 70, my son here in SA, a cousin in the Netherlands, with another one or two in the younger generations there – a maximum of 5 that I know about. If you read this please contact me at email@example.com
I am sad to hear all these responses from people who have left the church who are so quick to blame others for the decisions they have made. I am not perfect and no one will ever be but why do we talk about church as if its a building. The bible says that we are the church. And the actual building is a place we can go and glorify his name thats it. We say that the people that go to church are hypocrites, and judge people but the funny thing is that is exactly what your doing when you’re judging some one else. I am 21 years old son of a preacher been in church my whole life. Was baptized at the age of 12. And to be honest i really didn’t grasp the true meaning of living a Christian life till i was 19 years old. I liked to imagine just because i went to church i was saved. While in reality i was a two faced. When i was in church i was one way(good) but as soon as churched finished i lived the opposite way.(bad) I drinked i partied i practiced sexual immorality i was living a horrible and wicked life i was no different than a person that wasn’t saved i saw so many different things that would of given me a right to say it was Gods fault and say i quit going to church,
But i know its by Gods grace and un failing love that i am not dead because if God was Just and wasnt merciful what i deserved is for him to poor out his whole wrath in me and to trough me to the deepest pit in hell because thats what i deserve since i am a sinner, But i thank God every day that i am alive that he gives me a chance to repent and i do repent constantly because every day i sin. but i know that his grace and love is more than enough thats why he sent his only son to die in the cross for me and for that reason i know that no matter how bad my past has been i have that hope that i will be in glory with him. There is nothing any one can do to me, say to separate me from Gods love. for me to turn my back on him because my eyes on not on human beings knowing that we are not perfect and we will fall down but my eyes are on God since he loved me and forgave me of my sins i know that i have to forgive others and not judge them no matter what because at the end even if it was some one else fault that made me turn my back on God i will be face to face to him and there will be no excuse for me to give him to explain why i turned my back on him. for what does Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have heard this speech about a hundred times. You have it almost down pat. Just keep practicing. All this keeps people running for the door and rightfully so. Think with your own mind. The one GOD gave you and not just with the instruction of other people.
You may actually begin a journey of trusting God. Or should I say learning to.
You come across as a sincere and kind church leader but I think in any dysfunctional organization one needs to first own and admit there are problems and provide solutions and not just say no one is perfect.
If one represents Jesus the Christ they should be as close to imitating him as possible, instead the church is getting C’s D’s and F’s in that department. Totally unacceptable and it is not because some of us don’t love Jesus that we are dropping out of going to church bldgs. every Sunday. it is just that we don’t find Jesus in many of the church bldgs. anymore. Sorry to offend but just being honest.
I do go to church regularly. However, I do not get caught up in the “social hoopla” in the church. I used to go to a protestant church with a school friend. As soon as I started going to church with her, she pretty much abandoned me as a friend, but still wanted me to go to church with her, including my mom driving my friends family to church every other week; this also included social activities. Because the hassle of being obligated to go to various activities, and arguing about who is driving, I stopped going to that church as soon as I turned about 19 or 20. I didn’t feel that it was worth staying at a church that was mainly concerned about activities and getting people to fill roles in the church. I did not feel that this was a God serving church. It was a church that used people who thought that they belonged in a vibrant community. But, I can say that I did not have any close or relevant friends in that church. None of them were people I would turn to if I had a need or concern.
I converted to the Catholic Church about 14 years ago. I feel that with this church that I am connected to God. The people are friendly. But, the downside is is that people don’t always take the time to reach out or extend the olive branch to other people. So, for me it is difficult to connect with people when a majority of the parishioners are caught up in their own lives and at times rush out as soon as mass is over. I will say that in the Catholic Churches, they do not push people like they do in the Protestant churches. Announcements are usually printed in the bulletins, and it is up to each person to contact the person if interested in serving in an event or community.
What this boils down to is I believe that one the biggest reasons why people leave any church is because of the false connections or relationships that exist in church. Anytime I went to an activity (when I was at the protestant church), I was treated like an outsider because most of the other people would often bring their own friends to events. To me that defeats the purpose of going to a church event in the first place. That is why if I had to choose between a church activity and going out with my friends, it is pretty obvious that I would choose going out with my friends.
We don’t go to church anymore because of the nasty people in the church. I’m talking about church people gossiping about each other. Making unkind remarks about each other. Stupid church fights that split the church. Things like that, that make you feel like they’re waiting for you to pick a side to fight on so they can see if you’re friend or foe. Then there’s the churches that are very controlling and manipulative, making everyone conform to a certain look, like a bunch of robots, and you’re basically required to attend so many meetings or events every week. If you don’t do it, you’ll hear about it. We quit going to one church and a couple of months later we get a copy of the church newsletter, written by the pastor’s wife, who included a paragraph about me which said. “Our piano player quit. Here’s her phone number. Call and ask her why”. When I wrote the pastor’s wife a letter concerning this, she sent a letter back,
claiming that she was sorry if she offended me and claimed I misunderstood. A non apology.
She then typed up a couple dozen Scripture verses about love. A couple younger than us were so outraged by what she did that they quit going to that church altogether. Then there was the church, whereby the exalted elderly church lady walked up and said to me “You need to support your husband on Wednesday nights”. I was so stunned at her rudeness, that I just stared at her. We continued going to that church a few months, but every time I saw that old woman there, it just filled me with anger. We prefer nondenominational churches because we’re not into tongues, rolling around on the ground. That knocks out a lot of churches.
Not into Roman Catholicism and I’m leery of Baptists because of their legalistic mentality.
In short, I expect people who go to church to be able to behave themselves for an hour or two.
Apparently that’s too much to ask for. So if you want to condemn me for not going to church, go ahead. I’m sick of the garbage.
I’m not condemning you or anyone else. I quit the churches about a decade ago. Screw ’em all!!
The church I did go too. The preacher didn’t even come check on my sick mom or does he call at all. Nobody from that church has came to see my sick mom and bring food like they use too. Then a GA’s teacher yells at my niece and tells her if she can’t be here for the sing then she is in trouble. That’s not how you treat a child of God’s,if she can’t be there then you don’t have to yell at the child then go and yell at her aunt I don’t think so.So that’s why I don’t go to church.Cuz people acted like they are your friend and turn around on you like you ain’t nothing to them.
False teaching Bible manipulation and no love is what driving this plus misusing the Saints money for buildings instead of the Saints and so on. People are not stupid they know there is something wrong but cannot pinpoint it. The leaders are forming havoc not understanding God or the needs of the Saints just like always
It’s so sad, but it seems to be that the majority of churches are cold, nasty, mean, religious people. They love religion and power not Jesus. I’m the Pastor of a church and perhaps only 20% of the church are cold, nasty, religious people but they have enough power to destroy everything. My dream is to one day be a ‘vineyard pastor; rather than a Baptist minister – there seem to be Christians in the Vineyard churches……
I don’t have to e! I’m to busy!
John if you research the history of churches, it’s always been about controlling the masses. A king didn’t have large enough armies to control an entire country so it was done thro mind control by the churches.
I was a faithful member of a church for many years until I could no longer afford to keep paying and paying and paying. It was always a plea for money. Pastor’s Anniversary, Pastor’s Birthday, Pastor’s Appreciation Day, Pastor’s Wife’s Birthday, Founder’s Convention Banquet, Expensive Tickets to attend Conferences (where Pastor’s Friends in Ministry came to fleece uh speak), Bldg. fund to expand parts of the property, plus Tithes and offerings.
As a divorced single mom it got too expensive to be a member of this church. Not too many other churches I visited were much different. Many fear tactics were used to promote getting folks to give including church leaders who quoted curses over you from the Old Testament if , which they neglected to tell you was a quote said to Jews under the Old Covenant before Jesus died on the cross and said Paid in Full.
These manipulators and grace robbers want you to believe God said Pay in full and that you must pay for the free gift of God’s daily grace.
Unfortunately there plea for cash is never enough! it was in the news recently that a mega church’s Pastor, Creflo Dollar asked his congregation for cash to buy a 65 million Jet Airplane and he got it. He sold the idea to his congregation that it was to spread the Gospel in other lands but the early Apostles and Jesus did just fine spreading the Gospel with no internet airplanes television or radio. This church is also located in a high unemployment poor area.
Gullible church goers are made to think they are giving directly to God and taught if they sow their money and reap a harvest in blessings, as if God will not bless and help them for free. I never found one bible where Jesus sold miracles and healing for gold or silver.
Tithing in many Protestant churches is taught like playing the Lottery. They are basically creating a Give to get mentally as if God is a bill collector in the sky pay him or he will repossess your good health or punish you, Pay the Preacher ten percent of every dollar and be blessed with good health and prosperity. So shameful! Why don’t they trust their members to give without scare tactics and twisting bible scriptures out of context?
Also need to add if you did not give tithes as in ten percent on every dollar, even if you lost your job and was receiving unemployment benefits or government aid they treated the ones that could not tithe on every dollar like a modern day Lepers and you could not serve in ministry. Who needs to go to church to be condemned? Folks can stay home or go to work
and get hassled but at least at work you get a pay check. Besides Jesus said where two or more or gathered in his name he is in there so two of my friends can join me for pray and bible study and that is the same as having Jesus there. Some churches are nothing more than social clubs who do nothing for the community or poor but shame them anyway!
For years I got up every Sunday and eagerly got dressed for church…
even though I was verbally abused and except for a handful of true
friends, I was basically either ignored or treated with hostility; I
still loved going to church, simply because I love Jesus and wanted
to be in His house more than anything. However,over the years I
noticed less emphasis on worshiping Him than on preaching doctrine,
rules and regulations from the pulpit. We were told basically every
week that we did not measure up, we were not holy enough, etc…
Everything was a sin, even things that were matters of choice, such as
whether you and your spouse should have a joint checking account
or not. My husband and I have separate accounts because that is what
works best for us and we are both in agreement about it. Neither
one of us abuses the situation and by God’s grace we are becoming
better financial stewards. That is a
personal family matter and no one should be saying it’s wrong… the
bible says to mind our own business. Another thing is
feeling “condemned” by others in the church about going on vacations
with friends while my husband stayed home. To be honest, I am a
traveler and love driving far distances to see this great country. My
husband would rather see a dentist daily than to travel like that. The
few vacations we’ve really enjoyed together have been close to home
and usually overnight. We are both in agreement and I would never try to
force him to travel when he really dislikes it. But to hear it spoken from the
pulpit you would think it was a mortal sin. I believe there are many
things that are black and white and if God says it’s sin, it is.
But when it comes to personal preference of things that are not
eternally consequential, it is a law and the letter of the law kills while
the Spirit gives life. I feel like going there week after week was
becoming a duty and not the life-giving privilege it was meant to be.
I imagine the church in the book of Acts was like heaven on earth.
True love for each other, sharing and caring. People getting healed
emotionally and physically and the emphasis on our Lord and Savior
Sounds like a very controlling church. Good thing you quit going there. There are healthy churches and there are sick churches. Just because something is being preached from the pulpit, does not mean they’re preaching the truth. If you don’t know The Bible, it’s too easy for some controlling and manipulative preacher to preach his own gospel. Preaching about sin is good, but making sins of things that aren’t is ridiculous. I suspect the preacher has a very sins he’s trying to hide by railing and twisting things. Down the road, those sins will be exposed. In the mean time he’s doing a lot of damage to the flock he “leads”.
Hey to everyone here this is my view how do people know god is a man alot of people say he is this he is that how do people really know (he) is a man…..personally im not really religious only on occasion where im at a funeral or wedding but i dont thrive at some god for answers…..i believe in my own self as they say…life is what (you) make it not some false god……there is so many different religions i couldnt care less about….but i believe there is some sort of god there in the end..hopefully
Anthony; just because people are not going to church does not mean God does not exist. When the body of Christ started confusing their
church attendance and/or membership with a close relationship
with the Lord, I think God started
shaking things up in churches everywhere.You said in your letter that you hope
there is a God out there somewhere. I would like to assure you there
is. His name is Jesus and He loves you and me.
You say you look to yourself for answers? Like Dr. Phil says…”how
is that working out for you?” It seems you still have a lot of questions
and if there is no one higher than you, where will the answers come
from? If you know everything, then why do you still have questions?
I am not going to church right now although I attended the same
church for years. But I believe God is showing the body of Christ
that He alone is our source and He alone is our Savior (if we have
made Him our Savior by asking Him into our hearts…John 3:3; also
No church in existence will save us. No denomination; no good
works; no religion; no tradition….only our relationship with God
through His son Jesus Christ will save us. Anthony, if you are not sure
there is a real God, then why don’t you ask Him to show you in a
way that only He could? If He does not exist then no harm is done.
But you will find that He does exist and He loves you more than you
could ever imagine.
To those that are judging the ones that have left churches, please consider: I am only addressing the issue of those
that left in cases of spiritual abuse, wrong doctrine or false teaching.
There is a time when staying would be a sin. The bible says
we are to discern between true and false teachings. Anyone who stays
in a crooked organization because they feel obligated, or because they
think is some way they are earning points with God, you are actually
being disobedient. I do not in any way condone petty reasons for
leaving a church; I think some reasons are just an excuse….however,
most of the people I know of that have left have gone for good
reasons. Just because something like verbal spiritual abuse has not
happened to you does not mean it does not happen. I’ve never
been robbed at gunpoint but I know it happens. As long as pastors
and staff members in churches are never confronted (in a respectful
way, of course) then nothing changes. Some have attempted to
ask legitimate questions and thereafter have been treated like an
outcast for just asking a question of leadership. Believe me, it happens
more than you think!!
Let’s remember….the “nobody’s perfect” argument sounds good and
even sounds spiritual, but as long as we use it to overlook destructive
behavior whether by leadership, staff or members, nothing will change.
The bible says those that teach will be judged more strictly.
Perhaps if the church didn’t treat ____SINGLE PEOPLE____ (never married, divorced, widowed) as if we were the carriers of some filovirus (eg: Ebola, Marburg), with the CONSTANT DRUMBEAT of ‘marriage-and-family’, we might feel WELCOMED as a part of the church community
Church is big business. They want your money not your soul. They would be just as happy if you sent your wallet in every Sunday to sit in the pew. The only reason people even become preachers now day is to live free off the church and tax payers. God has been gone from the church for a very long time. I personally DO believe in God and Jesus who died for all of us but I will worship at home or I won’t worship. Either way I will never step one foot in a church again as long as I live. Not even for a funeral or wedding. I think people have made a mockery of church and the Bible so I’ll just sit at home with the rest of America and wait until God finally destroys this Country and sends us all to Hell where we all belong.
Yes, agree with some of the things you said, although I myself wouldn’t rule out going to church for funerals or weddings. You’re unlikely to get the hard sell sermon on giving money to the church there for those events. I do agree with you that America has gotten so corrupt that God will destroy the country, either that, or allow the sins of the nation to destroy itself.
Many churches are very manipulative and controlling which is sinful and causes people to leave. Either that, or they knuckle under to the manipulative and controlling tactics of the pastor, board, elders etc. thinking they are being faithful to God. Many churches idolizes the pastor and when the pastor dies, resigns or commits very serious sins, the church falls apart.
If it doesn’t it stays a very sick church. I think what’s very disappointing is that the church is no different than the unchurched. You’ll find all kinds of gossip, strife, fighting, back stabbing, immorality in the church. I’m not expecting perfection, but you’d think so called Christians would act better than that.
And with the last sentence you make yourself one of them.
lol. You are loved anyway. By someone, somewhere. Being human is tough and fun and horrendous and wonderful all at the same time. Happiness is….being imperfectly you.
My problem with church, and it has always been my problem with church, is that God and Jesus are talked about as though they have gone off somewhere, as though they are unreachable, and that’s why we need the church. My God is ever present, but church makes it sound like without them to represent God, my faith would wither and die. BS. My pastor, just today, stated that he can’t wait to get to heaven so he can fellowship with Jesus. So, there is a big wall up between us and God, until we die, when we get to enjoy his presence. I guess we can only hope our prayers make it over the wall now and then. How can my faith grow if they see God that way?
People have real troubles that are destroying their lives. Instead of focusing on ” ministries” all the time, the church needs to focus on the people already in the church who are left dying inside because the church has become too worried about the status of “the church” or the preacher. People inside the church are in such need, they get overlooked so many times. Where is the healing for disease? Where is the deliverance from demons? Where is the old time Jesus movement the Bible talks about? Without the power, you have dying people inside who will eventually give up or die in the disease they carry. That is downright sad and sickening at the same time.
I think the people on the outside of the church are most truthful then we think. I too quit churches because of the way the system is set. As church folk we are not think about other when we go to church, we are thinking about ourselves. An old preacher told me we need to outside the box meaning outside the walls. I want too want God, but not just for myself but for other as well. Church folk are too busy building more churches then helping more people in the their need. Their like bill collectors all they want your is money. They live their lives with too much pride and look down on everyone else. They worship the pastor more than they worship God. Sometime I feel like, it really Satan who being worship but most of you disagree with me. Since I left the church it felt like burden being lifted off my shoulder because I began to study the words for myself and started to care for people who had nothing. We need to start being the church and stop going to church. The bible said faith without work is dead. You going to church does not determine your faith, but what you do for God people with determine you faith. Brother and sister I could give I could you a bunch of reason why shouldnt step foot in church building ever again. We ain’t done nothing but waste time, look what happening in our country now people are more seperate then ever especially black folks! Yes the kingdom of God is still at hand, but guess what church folk? so is Satan! All I am trying to say is be sure that you are on the right team and you are serving the true God.
Let remember that God have no favorite children weather you go to church or not. I don’t it really matter as long one believe in Jesus and live right that all that matter.
[…] “I don’t want religion. I want God.” Most people don’t experience God at church. They’re not looking for the “deep” theological trivia that seems to interest some preachers. They crave something very simple. They’re dying to be reassured that God is real, that he is more than a historical figure, that he is present today, and that he is active in the lives of people around them. (you can see Thom Schultz’ full article HERE. […]
[…] “I don’t want religion. I want God.” Most people don’t experience God at church. They’re not looking for the “deep” theological trivia that seems to interest some preachers. They crave something very simple. They’re dying to be reassured that God is real, that he is more than a historical figure, that he is present today, and that he is active in the lives of people around them. (you can see Thom Schultz’ full article here.) […]
I stopped going because the “church” (meaning organized under a building, not the collective body of believers around the world) looks like just another business in the world. Scripture says, the world will know us by the love we have for one another. LOVE is the missing ingredient (1 Corinthian 13 kind of love, not the worlds definition). Years of looking and finding this depressing abscence of love in the “church”. The programs are the priority and sooooooo many biting and devouring one another while doing them. This does not please Jesus. He suffered and shed His precious blood for them. Why would you abuse or ignore the ones whom Jesus Christ died for because of His LOVE for them. Church is not a business, it is a living body with Jesus Christ as the head. The buildings that are important to Jesus are the individual believers who are Gods temple. The Elders are to meet BIBLICAL qualifications so that they are examples to us. Faithful stewards who will watch over Gods precious flock. Paul himself even said he was not an eloquent speaker, however he knew how to LOVE like Jesus. Read his words and the love he had for Gods people and the lost. LOVE drove him on, not religion. Jesus harsh words were always aimed at self righteous RELIGIOUS hypocrites. I beg you brethren, I beg you with all my heart and soul… LOVE ONE ANOTHER, Our Lord said if we do this, we fulfill all the prophets and the law. LOVE, be tender hearted towards one another, help one another. We are family in Christ Jesus. You don’t abuse your own body, but take care of it and nurture it. Christians in America need to get back to this one simple command, LOVE! May God bless and keep you all, may He heal the wounds of your hearts and lead you in His truth. In Jesus precious name. AMEN
so you are saying that we do not have love when we do not go to church and are forced to listen to a 45 minute guitar, self serving people screaming out solo music in a performance only for them. See Our Lord and Savior loves to be reverently praised. He doesn’t,t want a performance that alienates his people. He gave us a brain to use not a worldly heart to satisfy. So don’t quote something you heard from mere man or even worse misquote scripture. Too too many churches are big big businesses and selling the gospel of Jesus Christ. See I love Jesus if I am having a good day or not so good day. I do not need my emotions worked up by some self serving music performance. Jesus deals with my heart not my emotions
Sue is correct. The churches are organizations under a building, run by mostly business minded leaders, not the collective body of believers around the world. Jesus quoted Esaias prophesy;- there will always be hypocrites disguised under sheep clothing. The tares (goats) will always be there together with the wheat (sheep) in His churches. Therefore we must test every minister, leader, pastor or elder. They must be proven to be blameless ( 1 Tim 3 ). 3 : 10 –
And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
Beware of eloquent speaker, with excellency of speech or of wisdom, with enticing words of man’s wisdom. ( 1 Cor 2:1 – 4 ) They are wolves in sheep clothing. They speaks lies and cover up their misdeeds.
This is how they appear outwardly : Having a faked form of godliness.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Romans 12 : 9 –
Let love be without dissimulation.
No matter how we worship in the church, if our doctrines and teaching are of the commandments of men, if we our love is fake, we worship in vain. This prophesy is true in all generations, Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you,
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
(Since 321 AD under Roman Emperor decrees and the Roman Catholic Church) The church today have adopted the heresies, doctrines and teachings from the Roman Catholic Church (which are of the commandments of men). The institutional church organization and system are not from God but are from the Roman Catholic Church, the traditions and commandments of men.
We stopped going, (in Australia) it seems the churches highest priority is running the program at the expense of truly pastoring its people, it has entirely forgotten its calling to be a community – more than a Sunday morning, Friday night, program. Dont misunderstand me, the program has a place, however the church seems to have lost her way. The church prioritised running the formalised program at the expense of it’s people, who no longer go out of their way to ensure that everyone is connected and genuinely cared for – church seems to have become nothing more than a Sunday morning show. We were serving in church for a long time, when my wife was diagnosed with MS, this required us to pull back, we stopped attending and in over 3 years, not one, not even one person from the church has gone out of their way to check in with us or to ensure that we are ok – spiritually or physically. I am also convicted, and wondered- how well do I look out for others, when they simply disappear? The church is haemoraging people, and no one is going out to seek and save these that are being lost. This has driven me to try as best as I can to look after people that come across my path, and to genuinely take an interest in their spiritual wellbeing. I think if you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, then you are an important and integral part of the church, we don’t just ‘do’ church, we are (collectively) the church. I long for connection to an authentic Christian community (doing and sharing life with other believers, being generous in times of need, sharing meals, encouraging one another, exhorting one another day to day and genuinely looking after one another) – I haven’t found anything even close to it in any formalised church setting yet…in the meantime I wrestle with the question of whether we personally even have a place in our local christian community, ‘where are you church?’ …. =,(
[…] “I don’t want religion. I want God.” Most people don’t experience God at church. They’re not looking for the “deep” theological trivia that seems to interest some preachers. They crave something very simple. They’re dying to be reassured that God is real, that he is more than a historical figure, that he is present today, and that he is active in the lives of people around them. (you can see Thom Schultz’ full article here.) […]