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I don’t like my church anymore.

When the alarm goes off on Sunday morning, what is your attitude? A sense of excitement or a sense of foreboding?

I came across a very honest, interesting and thought provoking article by Doug Tappan that was originally published at RelevantMagazine.com. Please take a couple minutes today to read this… I think it will hit a nerve and challenge you as you start your week. Doug writes:

I’ve decided I don’t like going to church. It’s not that I’m going to stop going. But I came to the conclusion last Sunday, as I was showering before church, that I’ve come to the point where I just don’t feel like it makes a difference in my life. When Sunday morning comes, I find myself wishing it were Saturday where I would have the entire day to do whatever I wanted.It hasn’t always been this way. I used to love going to church. I would look forward to it every week. I loved the worship time, ate up the preaching and enjoyed the fellowship with the people around me. However, all this has begun to change for me lately. I’ve come to the point where I don’t want to be bothered with talking to people. It’s not that they’re not good people, it’s just that I really don’t want to talk to them. I find that I’m not as interested in the worship and preaching as I used to be. In fact, I usually find every possible way to criticize the songs we sing or the delivery of the message (that’s the effect Bible college can have on some people).

You see, the problem with all this is that I’m in ministry myself. It’s actually my job to be at the service on Sunday morning. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe I’m bitter that I have to go into “work” while other people can go and enjoy the service because they have no obligation.

There’s a larger problem involved, however, and I don’t believe it’s a problem that is uncommon to people (particularly twentysomethings, of which I am one) in the church today. You see, I walk in to the church service, sit down, cross my arms and expect God to do something in me. I expect the worship team to bring me out of my apathy. I wait for something the pastor says to catch my ear. What’s the problem with all this? It’s me. Nothing has changed in my church since the time when I enjoyed coming. I’ve changed. I’ve become more selfish. I’ve become more cynical. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where my girlfriend told me yesterday that maybe she should sit somewhere else during the service because she can sense that I don’t want to be there.

More than all this, I’ve come to expect the church to forge my spiritual development. Instead of working on my own prayer and devotional life, I want the church to do it for me. Please tell me I’m not the only one in the Body of Christ who has this problem. Please tell me there are other lazy people, who come to church on Sunday and expect to be filled up for the week ahead. Meanwhile, they have no expectation of giving anything. (I’m not talking about money either.) We aren’t willing to give of ourselves in worship. We aren’t willing to give of ourselves to each other, to minister to our friends who have hurts too (we’re not the only ones who hurt, even though we’d like to think so sometimes).

I’d like to blame all this on our American culture of selfishness. I’d like to say that I am this way because I’ve been socially conditioned by all the advertising and marketing that I’m encountered with day after day; advertising that says things like “Have it Your Way.” Well, I do want it my way. Don’t we all? Isn’t it true that if we don’t like how things are done at one church we can just go across town (or across the street, for some of us) and find a church that suits our felt needs better? Is that what Jesus intended for His church? Did He want us to forsake our churches just to seek “greener pastures” somewhere else? It’s true that the Church is flawed. No church is exempt from this. But instead of giving up (or becoming total cynics of every last detail) we should be working to change that which is wrong in our churches, but more than that—to change that which is wrong in ourselves. And changing what is wrong in us is probably the harder of the two. Selfishness doesn’t go away easily (trust me, I’ve still got plenty of it). How else can we work to change from selfish people to gracious and generous people other than asking for the help of the Holy Spirit? There is no other way that I know of (and I’m sure I’ve tried many) to deal with sin of every kind.

In the end, I can only blame my own sinful nature that allows me to become like I am. It’s my fault, not my church’s, that I think and act this way. Until I, and those like me, are willing to own up to this, we will continue to be unfulfilled Christians who take up space in the pews on Sunday mornings, but have nothing to contribute to the radical mission that the church is called to.

What are your thoughts? Have you had these same feelings? Have you ever felt like you were in the same boat as Doug or something totally different? Please leave your comments below.

Todd



10 Responses to “ “I don’t like my church anymore.”

  1. Pastor Ian says:

    I think a lot of what Doug is feeling is common. I do think it has something to do with our culture, but as Doug says, the change must come from the Holy Spirit. As a pastor, I wish people would be honest with themselves instead of giving up some spiritual mumbo jumbo about the Lord “leading” . . . . .

    I have felt, especially lately, that what I do doesn’t make a difference. I have to fight that “feeling” with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is still alive and well and He is working in people’s lives. I don’t live my life based on feelings. Feelings change with circumstances. I endeavor to live my life with consistency and make choices based on what’s right, not what’s easy.

  2. Greg Jones says:

    I had these same feelings 25 years ago. I simply was not being fed or challenged by my pastor. Starved, I started feeding myself on the Word of God. I started attending conferences and events (think Promise Keepers) that spoke to my heart. But rather than leave my church home, I started volunteering. And you know what? That pastor who had been boring me came along side me and encouraged me. And because he knew me, he guided me into areas where my gifts might be used. This, I believe, is the benefit in staying. Those who know us best can guide us into ministries that benefit the Kingdom the best.

  3. Mick says:

    Doug
    I would lovingly remind you that we don’t go to church, we are the church where ever we are all the time.
    As pastor Ian stated feelings are not always reflective of truth and often deceive us from Gods truth. Greg’s response to feed on the Word was also good.
    I attend “church” gatherings to worship, learn, and to bless and serve others. Sadly so many people attend for self related reasons rather than what we should attend for, thus they get tired when their self needs are not being met.

  4. Pastor D says:

    I think part of the problem is the society and culture we live in today. There are constant draws for our attention and with the constant hype of all the reality shows and media we have become dependent on we have become a society with a very short attention span. We get bored easily and constantly jump from one thing to another. Then we get bored and blame on the church, the pastor, the lack of innovation or new programs, ect..
    We claim we are not being fed. The fact is that if we are not being fed it is because we have not taken personal responsibility for our own spiritual growth. We have more access now to more avenues of spiritual resources than ever before with the internet, conferences, books, television, ect.. If we are not being fed or growing then the responsibility falls one place, on the individual. Churches were never intended to fill a role of entertainment for us to keep us interested. If my spiritual life is boring and apathetic it is because I have not cultivated the life of the Spirit and not the church’s fault. Its just easier to blame something or someone else. If our spiritual life is healthy and thriving then we come to church with a passion to give and minister to, not looking for someone to keep us motivated or entertained.

  5. kenjean says:

    Very interesting subject. There are times that I have felt discouraged but kept praying and studying God’s Word. He is Faithful and will never let go of one. Ask God to help your attitude and see what happens.
    Every Blessing, Ken

  6. Lilly says:

    Wow! This is interesting. I’m afraid I discovered that I don’t like going to church either. When I was young, my mom always took us to church. But every Sunday was like a war zone. I can remember the yelling and fussing. Then we walked into church and with our fake smiles answered the, “How are you?” with, “Good.” No. No, things were not good in my book. I had no choice but to go. I was only so eager to go because there was this boy I loved so much & we both knew we would grow up to get married some day. He told my mom that in the parking lot when we were 5 years old. Then when his dad was on his death bed, his dad requested to see me. He made me promise that I would take care of his son. I promised because I meant it with every part of my heart. Then when his dad died when we were 15, he broke my heart and told me we would never happen. I remember going to the bathroom and crying hysterically. I never saw him again. I did find him on Facebook and found out from him that he liked my cousin. Nevertheless, I ended up going to Bible College because that’s what I felt like I needed to do. But now, I feel like I did it just to make my mom happy. I have a four year degree in Religious Education and not once have I ever been able to get anywhere with that degree. I tried and tried. Now, I have a debt that I can’t afford to pay. My husband & I attended his home church for years but I had enough when they drove away several good pastors. I couldn’t take it anymore. I left church for an entire year. Then I visited a local church and fell in love with it. My kids had activities to do for their age group & friends. I began making friends. Later, my husband joined us and he fell in love with the church too. Almost 5 year have passed and I still only know a hand full of people. 3 out of those hand full don’t even talk to me anymore because they’re too busy with their “group.” Every Sunday morning had become a war zone at my house trying to get 3 kids ready. I felt like I had become my mother. I was yelling at them up until we were in the parking lot. We’d smile and say everything is fine but I feel like that’s just a lie. How can you lie in church? I haven’t felt like a part of the church for a long time. It was much easier to not go then to fight w/ my family. It was much easier to not go then to lie to the people in the church. It was much easier not to go then to feel obligated because I HAD to work in the nursery because I had a kid in nursery. Being a stay-home mom leaves me with very little time to myself and I found that not going also gave me time alone when my husband took them. Then he started leaving the youngest with me & then another and another. Then, he stopped going. Now I have no time alone. I suffer with depression and there are people in the church who know it but nobody takes the time to call, text, email me or even send a card or letter. Nobody visits. Nobody cares. So, no…I don’t like going to church. I’ve been out of church for several months but nobody has taken the time to find out what happened to me. I’ve been sick. Been dealing with sick kids too. My middle son was in the hospital and nobody came to visit even though I announced it on Facebook. So, why should I go there if nobody cares? I’m looking for a church now but I already know that once I get in there….there will always be something that will make me want to leave. I can say this…people say we are the church right? I agree. But…I can see that since I haven’t been in a long time how I’ve changed. I’ve become more sinful. I desire to be around Christian’s. But I’m sick of knowing of Christian’s that lie, cheat on spouses, steal, gossip, bad mouth, etc. on other Christian’s. So anyway…that’s my take on it. Thanks.

  7. Ruby says:

    I feel the same way too.

  8. Lilly says:

    It’s been a little over 3 months since I responded. During that time, we visited a church about 5 more min away from our last church. We, as a family, have enjoyed going. The church had a terrible thing to happen yrs ago but it is under new leadership & is thriving! We LOVE going!

  9. Latosha says:

    This is me to a “T”. Every Sunday morning, my husband and I plan to attend service and then I would get up to get back and bed and say, maybe next week. The church we previously attended, I have to admit I got tired of being amongst a group of all caucasian people, whom I felt did not get me at all. Now we started the beginning of this year to fellowship at a church about an hour away that is multi ethnic. My husband and I are an interracial couple, so we thought that attending a church fellowship that was diverse would make us feel more at home. Well after reading this post, I am starting to believe that the problems lies with me. I am not interested in worship service or in the “acts of worship” for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I will sing here at home and worship throughout the day, but I do miss the fellowship with other christians. I keep praying and not sure what or where to turn at times. I feel like I am in a very dry area right now and keep going around that mountain, like the Israelites.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Dear God, please renew the desire and love we once had for your church. I have lost faith in my church due to some controversies. My church might be lead by a false prophet(I’m still investigating). I want God to just tell me clearly that this church is not good or it’s divine. I wish I knew!! Please Pray for me.

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