You probably didn’t even notice that we left church or why we left church but we left. We haven’t been to church in 2 years. This does not mean I am no longer a follower of Christ. Actually, my relationship with God has grown since I stopped going to “church”. I put church in “” because I mean the building. The place where all the people go to worship God together. Before I get to far into this blog I just want to say this is not about any church in particular. This is about the American church culture, as a whole.
The first question you have is, why?It’s not because we are traveling. I was a faithful attender, Bible study group leader and eager volunteer. Was it because I was not happy? Were my personal needs not being met? The answer to those questions is, no, it’s not why we left church. It was not really an abrupt, hey I’m leaving church, it was a slow fade. It didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the particular church I was attending at the time.
We live in a culture that is obsessed with the subjective and whatever makes you feel good. I would hear comments after church, “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon today” or “they didn’t sing my favorite worship songs” or even worse “I really don’t like that worship singer”. It was starting to feel like people were going to church to consume. Don’t get me wrong. We get something from corporate worship but we should not expect to be pleased at all times.
Sometimes, being a Christ follower does not “feel good”. It’s hard! No one is perfect and that causes us to do imperfect things. Those “things” (sin) have consequences. The American church culture is not built to deal with these things. It promotes prosperity and feeling good about doing good. This culture started to eat away in my heart and my soul. I did not like the way this felt. After much prayer, we decided to step away from this culture for a time to reunite and reconnect to what God really wants from us.
What Is Required?
What is required to grow your faith? It’s a little like baking a cake. If you were to eat the ingredients of a cake one by one, they would not taste very good but when you put them together you get something amazing. The ingredients God puts in don’t taste good to us, individually. Let the trials and hardships come together for your good. Look at the big picture, God will always have something great for you.
If you don’t have the wisdom to understand that these trials are for your benefit, then pray. God will strengthen you but don’t lose faith. Don’t pray with doubt. Human nature hasn’t changed in 2 millennia. We want to know why we are suffering. Hardships should provoke joy. The more we endure the more we become like Christ. God not only wants us to be happy but He wants us to be holy. He wants us to mature and not lack anything. What if that was the goal for our lives?
Is It Worth All The Trouble?
Sometimes you may think, is it really worth it? You know, to follow Christ and have all this trouble? The short answer is YES!! It can be easy to jump in and out of faith in God when we are confronted for living according to our faith but God will get you through it. God gives you these trials to mold you and we are not here to have fun and be free from pain. Persevere and allow God to use them to purify you. When you make it through, you will receive the crown and eternal life.
Why We Left Church
I think you get the picture of why we left the church. I read the story of how Francis Chan gave up his job as a mega church pastor to start house churches. He didn’t want it to be about him or building a collection of a mass of people in “his church”. Francis left so he could devote more time to building the church God would want and be proud of. As someone who grew up going to church and never missing a Sunday, this was refreshing to me. God has always been faithful to us and we will always be faithful to Him. We will be back to church eventually but not yet.