Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-
Today’s topic has been burning on my heart for a few days now, so I thought I would address some key reasons why people choose not to go to church. Attending church is a personal choice, usually influenced by family and friends- but today, church attendance has decreased over time and the choice between church and home has become an apparent one. I don’t blame individuals for choosing to opt out of church for a morning in their PJs but rather I look to the current conditions of the church as reasons why individuals choose to stay home. As you guys already know, I am a Christian and an avid church -goer. I love my local church but as I look at the condition of the universal church, I’m deeply saddened by what I see.
Individuals no longer see the church as a pillar of strength in communities, or as a voice of change and awareness for those without. The church has become a joke among those who do not profess faith in Jesus Christ and its influence seems to be waning as time goes by.
Today, I am going to present my TOP 5 REASONS why people don’t go to church:
#5- The Church Focuses Too Much On Materialism.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that an individual should be able to have nice things. I think that if a person works hard for what they obtain, they should enjoy the fruit of their labor. My biggest concern with this focus on materialism is that it does nothing to edify one’s spirit.
I don’t think that God cares about how many cars a person drives, or how many homes one can obtain. I don’t think there is some kind of competition going on between man and God to see who can have the most. God owns the world and everything in it, He won!
This focus on materialism in the church is misleading and it’s a turn off. If I didn’t know God and I came to a service and all the preacher talked about was having nice homes and having nice cars, especially when I’m fighting real demons, I’ll be slightly annoyed. I would be annoyed that I wasted my gas to drive to church when I could have saved it for work the next morning. God wants us to live prosperous and to have abundance, but He also wants us to feed the orphans and to take care of the widows. If God blesses us so that we can live selfishly, then having salvation in Jesus Christ would be in vain. Materialism brings pride and it causes man to think that they got what they have on their own. If I could get a car on my own, why do I need God? A new car won’t solve any of my problems… The church needs to stop focusing on things and to start focusing on God.
#4- In Church Nothing Changes…
The Church is supposed to be a place of change. When you come into the building and sit in the pew, the Holy Spirit is supposed to meet you at your seat and work on your heart, mind and spirit. The Church building is symbolic of our bodies, a temple that God dwells in. If I come to church seeking something and I leave still seeking something, something is wrong. I’m supposed to come to church seeking, and while I’m listening to the Word of God, the questions in my heart are being answered. This doesn’t seem to be the case today.
People come to church depressed and leave depressed. They come to church suicidal and leave suicidal. People come into the church battling all kind of demons of their past and then someone comes and says something, making things worse. The church seems to be a place of no change, lives remain the same.
This doesn’t represent God’s will because everywhere Jesus went in scripture, He produced change. Whether He was performing a miracle, having a conversation, praying to the Father, arguing with the Pharisees or preparing for Passover- Him being in the lives of others produced change, a revolution of sorts. If Christ is the initiator of change, then why isn’t His church doing the same thing. Change comes through the Word of God and since Christ is the Word- He is change (John 1:1)! Why come to church to go home feeling the same way? I could have stayed home for that? Especially if I am not going to gain strength or hope for what’s ahead. I could have stayed home for the same old, same old.
#3- The Church Lacks Love…
No one wants to come to a gathering of mean and hateful people. Trust me, I don’t!
Why would I place myself in the company of negative people? Why would I come to a building to be talked about and torn down with words? Why would I come to a building to have people tell me that my curiosity in Christ isn’t sincere? Like, Why? I could have stayed home and looked in the mirror and spoke badly about myself, if I wanted that. Why get up and put on my best clothes, to be told that what I am wearing is not right? Really, on my first day?
I remember when we could speak to those who didn’t know Christ in love. Yes, there is a standard and everything should be done in modesty but what about those who don’t know. Some people never grew up in church, their family didn’t go so they didn’t go. They might not have “church” clothes, but that doesn’t mean that we can be mean to them and speak badly to them. The biggest hurt someone can experience is church hurt, individuals are hurting because those who claim the name of Christ could not come to them in love. God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus says in John 15: 12 “This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I have loved you”. Jesus approaches us in love and we should do the same. Even in our disagreeing we should be able to talk to one another in love and mutual respect. Those who don’t know God look to the church for direction and guidance, and if we are being mean/ hateful to one another- they are not going to want to emulate us. Being hateful is not attractive, having a mean spirit is not pretty and it’s definitely not Christ-like. Those of us who say we love God are going to be judged for how we treated our brother and sister, we have to make sure we live a life of love.
#2- The Church Tries Too Hard To Do Nothing…
We try too hard…. We change the style of music we play, we water down the preaching, we try to talk like we’re hip or cool. We try too hard. We don’t have to present an image that we are not, to attract people to the church. Whatever a church use to attract members is what they are going to have to use to keep the members they gained. So if it was the music ministry that attracted a majority of the members, the music ministry is going to have to stay perfect to keep them. Those without Christ is not looking for something that isn’t real… We have to be real in our presentation of Jesus Christ.
This realness is not a “raw” everything goes type of mentality because that’s not real, that’s popular. Yes, as Christians, we have struggles. Yes, as Christians, we get discouraged. But no, as Christians, we do not use sin as a crutch for not living a life that’s pleasing to God. We don’t use crutches, that’s not real! Being genuine goes a long way!
We spend so much time trying too hard to do nothing. We aren’t proactive in the world around us. People are still poor, people are still homeless, people are still struggling. We have all kinds of atrocities happening in the world today- in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo. The church is supposed to be that beacon of light during these time, influential enough to get things done, yet we do nothing. We try too hard to attract non-believers and yet we do nothing impressive. Gaining resources to eliminate poverty is impressive. Supplying a third-world country with clean drinking- water is impressive. Making sure that children receive an education is impressive, but building a bigger stage to look like a rock band is not!
And Finally…#1 – The Church Has No Standard…
We have compromised our standard for what’s popular. We have made everything acceptable in Christendom. Everything! If you can imagine it, it has or will be acceptable in the modern Church mode. We use the excuse of “judgement” to not keep a solid belief system. If I preach a belief system that does not condone alcohol, then I’m judging my brother. If I preach a belief system that does not condone adultery, then I’m “judging” my sister. Placing judgement and uplifting a standard are two different things. Judgments are reasonable conclusions that we come to, every single day. We make a judgement based on what is presented to us; who we should be friends with, what restaurants we should go to, and what cars we should drive. We make judgments that we believe will keep our families safe based on the information given to us. Every single day, we make reasonable conclusions. Uplifting a standard, says that I am creating a way of life based on a belief system and I am not accepting in my (personal) life anything that is contrary. So if I believe drinking alcohol is wrong and that is my standard, my friends cannot bring alcohol in my home and help themselves. They cannot buy me alcohol because that goes against my belief system. So if I am a pastor and God’s word says that He is against adultery, I am not going to practice adultery and bring that lifestyle into the church and “make” God and His people accept my lifestyle. My lifestyle goes against His standard.
We’re so concerned about numbers and whose tithing and whether or not we can get more money that we compromise God’s standard and we allow anything and everything to happen in His house. This is not appealing to a non believer.
The world, knows its standard and does not apologize to anyone for having that standard. Why, as the church- do we apologize for our standard? Why? Why do we bend over backwards to make ourselves into something we are not, nor was called to be? The world (according to the Christian faith ) is in darkness, yet there is order in their darkness. We are the children of light but we are so full of chaos…why? That’s backwards.
Well guys, I hope you come to see my point of view in the light of things. As a Christian, I believe that it’s my job to represent Christ. I am supposed to love like Him. I am supposed to give like He did. I am supposed to share His goodness with the world. If I am not doing any of those things then I am doing Him a great disservice. It is not my job to make myself bigger than someone else. It is not my job to compete with my brother for the most attention. It is not my job to be my own god, but rather it’s my job to live my life with purpose through Jesus Christ. Today’s post might seem a a little preachy but I want to encourage you to reexamine your life and your walk with God. Are you a Christian? Or are you just one in label only? We can be labeled all kinds of things, that doesn’t mean that label speaks to who we truly are. I encourage you to really understand what the label of Christian means. This means you have surrendered your heart, body, mind and soul to Jesus Christ- you’ve decided to follow Him. That’s a tall order but it’s rewarding. If we place our focus on Jesus, He’ll do the rest. He’ll draw hearts, save souls, and change minds- that’s His job not ours!
Until next time,
P.S. I use the term universal church to represent the “church” as a whole. There are local churches that are doing some great things in the body of Christ. Open Door Ministries ( SC) would be a great example, also Bethel Church (CA) is a great example as well. This problem in the “church” goes beyond each individual church but as a collective body of believers (the whole group). Therefore the term church is used loosely to represent all of those who believe & serve Jesus Christ.