The Great Church Let down

May 21, 2012 under Unlikely Christian
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So….

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I wanted to write a short piece on how church will disappoint you, but it morphed into this – a long piece on how church will disappoint you.  Yes it’s long, but please stick with it as it’s something that all church-goers have gone or will go through at some point.

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I have a guarantee for you. 

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At some point you will leave church disappointed.

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I don’t know the exact reason.  Perhaps it will be one of these – maybe the music was too loud, maybe the pastor spoke about money too much for your comfort, maybe the message was too convicting, maybe the guy showing you where to park didn’t smile AND wave or maybe somebody just rubbed you the wrong way.

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Whatever your reason may be, there will come a day when you leave there disappointed.  If it hasn’t happened yet, trust me, it will, and when it does, you need to be ready or else hard times may lie ahead.

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Case in point – ME

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My church home, the only church I’d ever been to, the church where I became a Christian, the church where I was baptized, the church where I baptized my son, the church that welcomed a guy with all this anti-Christian baggage, the church that helped me change all of my preconceived notions about Christians – This church, ticked me off. 

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Now I’m not going to get into details here because that feels a little gossipy, nor will I lay any blame.  What I will say is, the way I reacted and the way I handled things, was the wrong way.

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You see, a church is supposed to be a family.  And sometimes families disagree.  I know you might find this hard to believe 😉 but sometimes families say things that hurt your feelings, rub you the wrong way or just tick you off.  It happens, but you forgive, forget and move on.  Right?

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Well on a couple of occasions the pastor said something that completely rubbed me the wrong way and rather than moving past / letting it go, I held onto it and let it color the lens I saw church through.  I also let it become the filter thru which I heard his sermons.  Oddly enough, I ended up disliking church, getting nothing from his sermons and wanting to distance.  After a few months of that, I left my church family in search of a new church home.

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I felt like I was right in doing so.

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In hindsight, yeah…..not so much.

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Crow tastes better with a little A1 Steak Sauce by the way.

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Regrets?

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Yeah, a few, but if things hadn’t gone down the way they did, I would’ve missed out on the experience. 

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I’m convinced that there is no better teacher than experience.  This was a gut-wrenching experience for me, but the lessons I learned and the growth that occurred because of it, were monumental.

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Lesson #1 – I learned that I was a Consumer Christian.  Not sure what that means?  Check this out 

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Lesson #2 – There is no such thing as a perfect church.  A church will always, (did you catch that?) ALWAYS disappoint you in some way, shape or form.  Why?  Because it has people.

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Lesson #3 – I finally learned how to give something to God and completely rely on Him.  – GOD or DIY

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And finally,

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Lesson #4 – I was better prepared if it ever happened again.

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And it did.

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About a month ago, I got ticked off at my church.  Now before you start thinking of me as an emotional 7th grade girl that gets easily bent out of shape over every little thing, let me just assure you, that’s not the case.  And if you think it is, well I’m just not going to be your friend anymore.  In fact, I’m de-friending you on FB and talking behind your back right now. 

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Seriously y’all, I’m not that bad, but sometimes things trigger some old emotions in me – Like the way I used to feel about church.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Something was done, that I strongly disagreed with and those old feelings started setting in. 

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I got mad!

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And I found myself in familiar territory – wanting to distance.

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Uh-oh……

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“I gotta let this go”, but I can’t help the way I feel right?

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I didn’t go to church the next week but I listened to the sermon online……with my newly installed negative filter.

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Uh-oh…..

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I stayed mad that week but God started to work on me and I started to realize some things. 

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First and foremost – It’s all about God, not church.  You’d think I’d know that, and deep down I do but I wasn’t really living like that.  I’d gotten too tied up in the whole church experience.  In a way, I’d kind of put all my eggs in the church experience basket, which was easy to do because my church is awesome, so once it disappointed me, I felt….well, extremely disappointed.  If my perspective would’ve been right – water off a duck’s back, baby.   

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Secondly, I don’t run this church, but I know the people who do and I know what they’re about –  “Leading everyone to experience a passionate life in Christ”.  Do I believe everything they do is geared towards that?  I do.  Well okay then. 

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Their job is to reach the masses, not to make sure they don’t step on the toes of some dude with issues.  Church ain’t Burger King, where you have it your way.

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Third, they are people.  I’m a person.  We aren’t always going to see eye to eye on everything.  Strangely enough, the last couple of weeks my pastor has mentioned, “If you love everything we do, then we’re doing something wrong.” – Preach it!

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Fourth, this is the church God picked for me.  This is where we belong.  This is my church home.  This is my church family.

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Lastly, I learn from my experiences.  I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.

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So, I took a couple of weeks off (I showed up for my volunteer duty though), got my head right, and now, I’m good.  Was it as simple as that?  No, I didn’t just wake up one day and everything was Fonzie.  It was hard!  But with God’s help, I was able to get perspective and was ultimately able to let it go.  I even got my good lens and filter back. 

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Earlier I said that there is no better teacher than experience, but I forgot to give props to the creator of all experiences – Jesus.  Who better to know how to reach us and teach us, than our creator?  He brought me through this mini-crisis and He taught me some valuable life lessons along the way.  He’s kind of awesome like that.

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Here’s the deal, church will disappoint you, people will disappoint you, pastors will disappoint you, church members will disappoint you, YOU will disappoint you, but it’s not about them and it’s not about you – It’s about God, and if you keep that in perspective, then you’ll be alright.

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If He’s not already, make God the source of your hope, make God the source of your Joy, put all of your eggs in God’s basket because He loves you with a love you can’t even come close to comprehending. 

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One Response to "The Great Church Let down"

  • Val says:

    Ah. Thank you! I’m going this right now and I keep trying to make God my focus at church but come home more upset than anything else. I just got home and I almost feel sick from having been there but I really feel like that’s where God wants me to be. It’s hard to deal with anger and disappointment from church BUT just knowing I’m not alone in it is a blessing so thank you. Reading this has been great food for thought.