My church is going through a series called “The rise of the Nones” focusing on people who claim no religion as a result of Christians not doing their job. I thought it was a cool title so I stole it to talk about my biggest pet peeve in the church. (At least this weeks biggest pet peeve)
“I’ve had it with church. I’m done!”
“My relationship with God is personal. The way He intended it to be”
“I’m not even sure organized religion is biblical”
“God is telling me that I just need to focus on me and my family, not have any other commitments”
If I had a dime…
Rephrase these cop-outs however you’d like, but that’s what they are. Cop-outs. These are statements from the growing population of a group of people I like to call “The Dones.” These are people who have been involved in church, maybe even held a leadership position in the church and for whatever reason have become hurt, burned out or frustrated with the church and as a result decided, they’re done.
Let me start off by saying as a Christian you can’t disassociate from the church anymore than as a person you can disassociate from humanity. If you have confessed your sins, asked for forgiveness and trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior for your life; welp sorry Charlie- you ARE the Church. Bummer, I know.
Now to address the “Organized religion isn’t even biblical” argument. You can half read the new testament with one eye closed and still find that the idea of church is very much a biblical idea. Don’t believe me? It’s called the book of Acts. Check it out.
Look, I know the church is far from perfect. It’s members will use you, it’s needs will exhaust you, it’s leaders hurt you. Trust me, I get it. I get it because I’ve been there. Heck- I just was there. But then I heard that lives were changed, broken bodies were healed and hearts turned to Jesus. If I have to get a little offended, a little exhausted, a little done– for that to happen then by all means. I’ve counted up the cost and it’s so worth it.
Then at dinner the other night our friends told us in admiration about this guy who faithfully attends a church for 3 years and then takes a year off. Wanna know why he takes that year off? To “process all he’s learned and try to apply it to HIS life”
Insert eye roll here.
Yeah because, screw the lost right?
I know I probably am coming off cold and irritable and maybe it’s because I am. I’m irritated that there’s people going to hell and the ones who have been given the tools to remedy that are too busy making sure they don’t add any commitments to their life.
I know that community is messy. Church is messy. But instead of being bitter and burned out by it shouldn’t that alone amaze us all the more? Jesus chose these stupid narcissistic cranky vessels to complete His work and showcase His grace. He had other options. He could have just spoken a single word and avoided the whole dealing with cranky Christians thing. But He didn’t. He chose us to bear His image. Let that trip you out for a minute.
The Dones will claim that God wasn’t in the people of the church that hurt them. Maybe they’ll even chalk it up to a mistake on their part. Claim they were acting outside of God’s will. They were never supposed to be in that church, or be that committed or whatever.
But, here’s the thing. The fact that the Church is messy and imperfect is a sign of God’s grace, not his absence.
I am not saying that having a personal relationship with God is a bad thing. It’s actually a required thing. But I am saying that if pushing some ear buds in your ear to listen to your favorite pod cast or worship play list is the extent of your relationship with God then contrary to what the Dones believe you are not a more passionate Christian, just a less effective one.
I don’t know where you got the idea that disconnecting yourself from church or in other words “Forsaking the fellowship of the Saints” is somehow being faithful. Because it’s not. It’s actually less faithful than connecting yourself to a broken one.
If you’re frustrated with the demands and brokenness of the church and are on the hunt for a more “biblical idea of church” Then don’t gather weekly. Gather daily before dawn and pray together. Forget that whole 10% crap. No you want a more “biblical” church so you’re gonna have to pool ALL of your possessions and claim nothing as your own. Be ready and willing to lose your job, your family, your home and even your life for the sake of the lost.
Because that’s how the early church did it. So in a sense you’re absolutely right. The Church does need to change, just unfortunately not how you think it does.