When You Love God, But Not Church

When You Love God, But Not Church

The one place that every person, especially every Christian, should be made to feel comfortable is church.  So, why is it the one place so many people try to avoid?  I’m not talking about non-believers.   I’m not talking about “heathens”.  Why is it that believers of the Word, followers of Christ, Christians don’t want to go to church?  As someone who believes strongly in regular and consistent fellowship with believers, I’ve given it great thought.  Sadly, I’ve come to realize that people in the church and the ways in which churches operate have made it difficult for people to feel comfortable in church.
“I don’t have to go to church to have a relationship with God.”
How often have you heard that statement?  Sometimes I’ve been known to actually get caught up in that one because in a sense it is true.  However, it’s also just an excuse that we offer to not go to church.  Relationship with God is of the utmost importance; that is true.  Yet, God also wants us to associate with His people.  1 Corinthians 12:12 says “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”  Simply put, just as each part of our body has a different function, each of us brings something different to our church. Each of us has a ministry within us.  All of us aren’t meant to be ministers.  All of us aren’t meant to sing in the choir.  All of us aren’t meant to be ushers.  All of us aren’t meant to teach Sunday School.  Let us be clear though…all of us are meant to bring something to our church.  We, as believers, don’t choose churches.  You are led to a church.  You are planted in a church by God.  God chooses the church you should serve in.  God chooses the Pastor who should lead your church, and in doing so, chooses the shepherd that should lead you.  When you decide to uproot yourself from where you’ve been planted or deny God’s planting, you are leaving a void in the church where you’re meant to be planted.  You are leaving a void in the church where you’re meant to serve.
“I don’t want to be judged; I want to be accepted.”
Church is the last place people should be made to feel less than.  According to Genesis 2:7, God formed each of us from dust.  My dust formation is no better than your dust formation.  All of us have sinned.  None of us is without sin.  The person sitting on either side of you is a sinner.  The person teaching your Sunday School class is a sinner.  The person that’s directing the choir is a sinner.  The person that’s leading the ushers is a sinner.  The pastor, yes, yours and mine, is a sinner.  So, no, you’re not different.  Our sins may be different.  However, our existence as sinners is not.  You may have sinned last night, and someone else may not have sinned in 6 months.  We are all sinners, nonetheless.  We’re all working day by day, minute by minute, second by second to sin less.  Let’s be clear, though, none of us, is sinless.  The church is full of “used to be” people, and God could be placing you in this church so that one of the “used to be” people can help you become a “used to be” person.  He’ll then use you to help another sinner become a “use to be” person.  Never let being different or the fear of judgment or the desire for acceptance keep you from fellowship.  God accepts you as you are where you are.  God is the head of the church.  God made us all.  Nothing you’ve done is too big, too dirty or too shameful for you to ask God for forgiveness.  We’re all dust.  We’ve all sinned.  We’re all one temptation away from sinning again.  We may sin differently, but sin is sin.  
“Someone in the church hurt me.”
Here’s a tough one.  Many of us disassociate with church because someone in the church hurt us. Sometimes they say something to hurt you.  Sometimes it’s said to you directly; other times it’s said to someone else and it gets back to you.  Sometimes they just whisper or stare.  Sometimes they do things to hurt you, and it’s just difficult to come back to the place where you met this person that hurt you.  Unfortunately, it’s not always just members in the church who hurt us.  Sometimes leaders in the church hurt us.  That’s the toughest hurt to get over.  You don’t mind the members hurting you, but when God’s chosen hurts you, that shakes your core.  Church is about fellowship.  How can I fellowship with people who have hurt me?  How can I fellowship with people who have lied to me or on me?  How can I fellowship with people who have judged me or rejected me?  The answer to all of those questions is with God’s help.  God may move you.  However, God may want you to stay.  Yes, God may want you to stay in the place where you’ve been wronged.  God may be using you to make this church better. God may be using you to get glory in this church.    God won’t tell you to stay home though.  God doesn’t want you to sit on your gift.  Whatever you are meant to bring to the body of Christ, you are meant to bring to the body of Christ, but He doesn’t intend for you to do it at home watching church on YouTube or TBN or via live stream on Periscope.  Being on the church’s roster does not make you a member of a church.  I’m not saying “get over it”, but I am saying give it to God.  Pray that He will heal your heart.  Pray that if He intends for you to serve in the church where you’ve been hurt that He will give you the strength to do that regardless of who hurt you.  Never let someone, anyone, in the church hurting you keep you from working on building the Kingdom.
“What are they doing with the money?”

This question is older than time I’m sure.  People are often skeptical of what’s being done with the church’s tithes and offerings.  I get it.  You sit in church and see the majority of people in the church march around with an envelope and put money in the collection plate.  So, surely the church has plenty of money.  Let’s be real about this money.  Many times people walk around with an empty envelope because they’re ashamed to sit there and be seen not putting anything in the church.  Others are writing bad checks to the church for this very same reason.  Some of the envelopes have $200 in them, and then some of them have $2 in them.  We shouldn’t be misled by seeing a lot of people putting envelopes in the collection plate.  
Church is a business.  Just like your home has expenses, so does your church.  There is likely a mortgage on your church.  If there isn’t, praise God.  There are utility bills for your church.  There is likely a staff at your church.  Just like any other business, the church has a profit and loss statement showing its revenues (money coming in) and expenses (money going out).  Most churches make this information accessible to their members now.  Inquire about it if you’re curious.  Just make sure that you’re a contributing member when you do.  Asking what the church is doing with the money when you’re not putting any money in the church is akin to someone asking you what you’re doing with your money when they’re not contributing to your household.  

“I’m angry with God.”

Now, here’s a real tough one.  Someone just gasped in horror.  Angry with God?!  Where they do that at?!  If we’re honest, we’ve all probably experienced this a time or two.  If not, keep living; the right life changing event hasn’t happened to you yet.  I’ve been here.  I’ve loved God and been angry with Him at the same time, more than once, more than twice, more than thrice.  Sometimes God calls for someone that’s near and dear to us.  Sometimes He ends a relationship or never allows it to develop.  Sometimes He causes us to be rejected in some way.  Sometimes He allows something bad to happen to us.  As hurtful as whatever your IT is, you have to deal with it with God.  In times like those, you need fellowship more than ever.  When you feel forsaken by God, you’re at your most vulnerable state.  The devil is able to quickly devour you at that point because you’re at you’re weakest and lowest point with God.  You need fellowship to buffer out the noise that the devil is going to fill your ears with.  You need fellowship to have someone standing in the gap for you.  Fellowship allows God to get to you even when you’re shutting Him out.

A Charge to the “Amen Corner”

There are many reading this saying, “amen”, “that’s right”, “you better tell ’em”.  You’re likely someone who regularly participates in fellowship.  This next part is for you.  This next part is where I help US out and set US straight.  WE are a part of the reason that believers and non-believers don’t feel comfortable coming to church.  WE are a part of the reason that people believe that churches aren’t worth attending.  What do WE need to do to get people to believe in God and believe in fellowship?

1.  Stop acting like you’re above sin.
My Mama reminded me the other day of something Oscar Wilde said, “every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”  As a Christian, you should desire to sin less, but keep in mind, you’re not sinless.  Maybe you’re not homosexual or you haven’t committed adultery, but if you sleep with (or have slept with) someone who you’re not married to, you sin (or have sinned).  Maybe you don’t drink or do drugs, perhaps your vice is food or you stay on the paper chase.  Gluttony is a sin.  Understand that everyone isn’t in the same place as you on your journey with Jesus.  You haven’t always been saved, and even if you’re living the best life you can, you’re still just one temptation away from sinning. Just because you’re in church every Sunday, Bible Study every week, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, serve as a doorkeeper, or even preach the gospel, you’re no better than anyone else.  Grace and mercy keep you in check.  That’s all. 

2.  Understand the difference between contemporary and worldly.
There’s a fine line here.  The world is evolving, which means the church has to evolve as well.  The church shouldn’t conform to the world though.  Dr. Watts hymns may no longer be the way to keep people engaged at church.  However, you don’t necessarily have to Hit the Quan or Whip and NayNay either.  Church shouldn’t be stuffy and uptight, but it shouldn’t look like a scene out of a music video either.  Always remember to be decent and in order.

3.  Stop talking about your pastor and other people in your church.

This one chaps my hide for sure.  People gossip about churches and pastors because members in the church gossiped about the church and the pastor first.  I’d venture to say that most people wouldn’t eat in a restaurant that got bad reviews.  So, stop perpetuating gossip about your pastor, your church members and your church.  Spend the time that you would give gossiping about your pastor, your church and its members in prayer with God.  Prayer changes situations; gossip creates situations.

4.  Stop talking about other folks’ pastor and church.

Just like you shouldn’t talk about your pastor or your church, stop talking about other pastors and other churches.  You’re ready to fight someone when you hear your pastor’s name or your church’s name in some mess, but you’ll talk trash about someone else’s pastor and church.  When people see saved folks talking about other saved folks, it belittles Christianity because you’re no different from worldly people at that point.  Again, when the urge strikes you to gossip, pray instead.

5.  Act like you represent Christ.  
Christ accepted people…ALL people.  Christ loved people…ALL people.  Christ served people…ALL people.  So, if you’re a CHRISTian, why don’t you?  Church should be inclusive, not exclusive.  Speak to people when you pass them in church.  If you see someone that isn’t involved, invite them to be a part of something that you’re involved in at the church.  Stop looking at people strange because they don’t dress like you or look like you.  Yes, her skirt is short and tight.  Yes, his pants are sagging off his behind.  Yes, he cheated on his wife.  Yes, she sleeps around.  Yes, their children are unruly. Remember how you looked before you were saved.  Remember how you acted before you were saved.  Be grateful that they’re in church.  Church is the best place to get right.  Isn’t that why you keep going?

We’re all at different points in this journey called life.  God is willing to meet each of us where we are though.  If you’ve uprooted yourself from your church or you’re a believer that isn’t affiliated with a church, search your heart and talk to God and make peace with what’s keeping you from being in fellowship with other believers.  If you’re participating in fellowship on a regular basis, ask yourself what you can be doing to help other believers and non-believers believe in fellowship.  If you’re not yet connected with God, consider what it is that makes you unwilling to pursue that relationship with Him. I’m not the best saint I can be, but I’d love for you to join me in getting better with Christ.

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6 thoughts on “When You Love God, But Not Church

  1. Coincidentally, we are reading an excellent resource right now: PAGAN CHRISTIANITY by Viola/Barna. Learning very detailed and credible history. We are coming full circle to the Book of Acts church and with the accompanying persecution in America. We believe it is a work of the Holy Spirit to “round up the sheep” and sort out the goats from among them. 2000 years of man- made “church” is being exposed as Babylon/ mammon, and Father is going to clean house . “Judgement begins in the house of the Lord”. Amen? Shalom. R&R Bigbie

    1. Where two or more are gathered in my name there I am also. The last few churches I have been to the pastor had an affair with the organist. One o the board members in another church was messing around wit the Sunday school teacher and the topper was my father who himself was a retired pastor couldn’t get someone to walk him across the street to attend services. They saw him sitting there waiting for someone to help him because he was (blind and couldn’t walk) and no one helped him. I am just fed up with hypocrites. I love the Lord He is my salvation. God bless you.

      1. Judy I am saddened to hear of your encounters with church. God is indeed our salvation and our peace. I pray that He will place in your heart where He desires you to be planted. I pray He will place in your heart where He wants you to make a difference. I pray He continues to keep you covered and under His ever-watchful eye.

  2. I love Church and everything about it. I have found a Church I love and feel like I belong. I don’t go to Church for a few reasons, and unfortunately they are not good reasons. We have a business that has very odd hours, we work 7 days a week and mostly evenings and weekends. Our church does require tithing, I don’t have a problem with that except for I can barely pay our bills. I try to do a lot of community service work and help others in need, as much as possible. I keep in touch with members of the Church and am trying to make an effort to at least go once a month. Before this Church, my biggest problem and what really turned me away from going to Church was every Church I attended, while on my search to find one I felt comfortable with, preached very little gospel, but basically harped on money. Yet Pastors drove brand new cars, had 3 piece suits, attended very expensive sporting events, at times you would even find them out eating at 5 star restaurants and drinking the night away. The Churches were buying up other properties and using them for Capital gain, not to help parishioners in need. Parishioners were being told they had to give 10% of not only their annual incomes, but any inheritance or money they may come into. The parishioners in need were unable to pay their bills, or barely feed their families. This is what really soured me on going to Church. Like I said I finally found one where they don’t judge, everyone is fully aware of the Church finances, and parishioners in need are assisted but also held accountable and taught how to make better decisions, and each parishioner is treated equally. Thank you for these messages you post daily, I love them and they have helped me get through a lot of bad days. I really appreciate your insight and honesty. This article was amazing because I have been asking myself these same questions. I am glad I am not the only one that feels this way. Best Regards….and thank you again.

    1. Vickie it is wonderful to hear that you’ve found a church where you belong. That leads me to believe that you’ve allowed yourself to be planted in the right place. Thank you for reading. Continue to be blessed.

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