Pew Perspectives: Sound Familiar?

Trail... WHAT trail..Reasons for leaving the “traditional” or “institutional” church are legion (see prior posts).  “Juniper Tree” enumerates things he’s hearing “from committed believers these days.”  Do any of these sound familiar?:

  • We are bored.  Sitting through the same old rituals and listening to the same tired voice week after week has dulled our spiritual passion.
  • We feel disconnected. Sitting in rooms full of people we hardly know, watching the same people perform on the stage, isn’t building the kind of relationships we long for.
  • We are tired of seeing people blasted with guilt and religious obligation. Guilt is a great motivator but it hardly leaves us feeling wanted and needed.
  • We are sick of the political games, played behind the scenes, to serve someone’s ego and preserve the institutional priorities over the priorities of Jesus.
  • We are frustrated with asking questions and being pushed away and not listened to by leaders who don’t like the questions we are raising.
  • We found the performance based gospel being preached by the institution was causing us to spend ourselves serving the institution rather than the Savior.
  • We found we were being forced into pretense and hiding rather than led into authenticity and openness in order to create the illusion that all was well in the Family.
  • We felt like the institutional church had so abandoned the truth of Jesus for some safe program of happy truth that we no longer could experience the reality of God in our lives.

We might add things we’ve heard:

– We’re tired of church cliques, power plays, “head trips,” office politics and fake, happy-face “unity.”

– We long to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our community in fresh, dynamic ways, but our church is focused on itself.  It’s more concerned about buildings, mortgages, salaries, committees and maintaining a “religious club” to serve “club members” than it is on outreach or others.

– We are tired of the bloated bureaucracies and hierarchies in the IC.  Is this what God intended?

Whatever happened to the “universal priesthood of all believers”?  Why is the “heavy lifting” in so many ICs up to one or a small group of paid professionals who try to control everything and everyone?

– We see “church” as who we are, not something we do or a place we go once a week.

– From parents of a family of eight: “I don’t like the age-segregated thing that goes on on Sunday mornings – kids go to one class, parents to another.  I want to ‘do church’ with my family.   I also want my kids to be able to fully participate and contribute, rather than be seen as “distractions” or “sidelines” to be “shushed” or herded aside so the “real” business of church can be conducted by adults!  Since when is “church” grown-ups only?”

– Likewise, we’ve often wondered why the “real” business of church is a male-exclusive domain in some settings.  With virtually half its “troops” sidelined into the kitchen or nursery rather than fully exercising their gifts and calling, is it any wonder that the IC is making so little  impact – and why some believers long for a fuller, richer expression of faith, worship, and service as well as a more authentic walk with God?

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Join us next time for “Something More…?”

If you’re interested in ministry to children, don’t miss our new blog, Victory Circle, “where ‘little victories’ matter.  MOST.”

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In the pipeline next: an eight-part series based on 10 Lies the Church Tells Women by J. Lee Grady.  (The inaugural post for the “10 Lies” series is entitled, “So what IS ‘Biblical Womanhood,’ Anyway”?) Because it’s stirred significant interest, we’ve decided to launch a series on “Spiritual Abuse“  in March.

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