Saturday, February 1, 2014

To leave or not to leave?

Revelant Magazine recently posted an article, 5 Really Bad Reasons to Leave Your Church.

Since I am not stranger to this issue, I thought I would offer some thoughts.

Reason 1: I am not being fed.

Here is the last paragraph of the article:

To leave a church because you’re not getting "enough" is a cop out. Your primary call in the church is to contribute, not just to consume. As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others. Remember, your call is not just to be a disciple but to make disciples.

 While I wholeheartedly agree with what is said here, I think it does not look at the problem from a big enough view. If you are at a church and believe that you are not being fed, why is that so? Is it merely a matter of you don't care for the pastor's delivery style or is it something deeper? I think what is preached from the pulpit is of ultimate importance, and I think Jesus would agree. Did he not chastise the Pharisees and Scribes for putting burdens on the people that they themselves could not carry? (Luke 11:46)

I believe theology matters. If you feel that you are swimming in the kiddie pool when you listen to what is being taught, what does that say about what others are hearing (and believing). If all that is preached is a moralistic or theraputic message that does not honor the true heart of the gospel, does that hinder or even counter your ability to evangelize others, because eventually they might want to attend your church? Can you even contribute when pastors with low self-esteem are frightened by the fact that you do not let them spoon-feed you their brand of Christianity?

I agree that church hopping is not a good thing. I believe the choice of church is a deep and personal decision. I think this article minimizes the fact that our first responsibility is to God, and sometimes a change is needed. Jesus did not advocate "pulling up the weeds," (Matthew 13:24-30) so I do not believe that it is our job to fix a church by creating disruption. Sometimes a move is the best out. Attending a church is not like being married. I am married to Christ, not a church, denomination, or pastor. He is the only one I will not leave.

Your thoughts?