Question: I Like My Pastor But Not The People

Anonymous asked:
I’m impressed by your blog. I haven’t been impressed by a fellow Christian in a while. I grew up in church and still go every Sunday, and I was in a Christian school for twelve years. I know I’m a Christian, but yet I feel this disconnect with me and the church. I still believe the Bible, I still work with my relationship with Christ, but I still feel this disconnect. I connect to my pastor’s sermons, but not with the people, if anything I hate being around them. Any advice?

Thank you first of all for your kind words.  I really think you over-shot there (I’m hardly impressive in real life) but I’ll take it.

On that note: Where have you been all my life? Let’s hug this out bro.  What you’re feeling sounds exactly like what you should be feeling. You’re just being honest about it.  You’re the one in the class who’s raising their hand and asking, “Am I the only one who thinks we got all this wrong?” 

Let’s see: You believe the Bible, you got it going on with Jesus, you’re attending church, and you’re hearing out the sermons. That at least tells me you’re taking things seriously.  Your major itch is with the people and the weirdness at church.  Sounds like the growing pains of a Christian to me.

I don’t mean to sound elitist or triumphalist here, but American Christianity is full of weird inconsistencies that would easily bother anyone who’s read their Bible and spent time with God. The lukewarmness, the complacency, the luxury, the entertainment.  While I can’t so quickly diagnose what’s going on there, I’m sure you get that constant brain-tug like there must be something more. 

It’s weird right now, isn’t it?  A bunch of people pretending to be nice once a week and pretending to be someone God loves? Not trying to judge all of them here, but if they were honest they’d most likely say the same things about themselves.  Something is missing.

It’s possible you are judging them or being hyper-critical, so check your motives on that.  But if you really just feel icky about the whole nice-church thing, I think you’re on to the fact that Jesus calls for much more than passively receiving information and measuring out your spiritual progress on a QT calendar.

Following Jesus involves risk, sacrifice, crisis, persecution — which is when it makes most sense. If you read the Book of Acts and sense the urgency of the disciples’ mission, you see just a glimpse of the adventure we should all be on.  You could consider talking to your pastor about your honest feelings and seeing how you can grab onto that mission.  He would love to hear about it.  And while your church might be strange in some ways, there’s no sense in rebelling against them. I bet there are people just waiting to be called to the dangerous awesome work of God.  And of course pray through that, biblically seeking what God has called you specifically to do.

Please don’t misunderstand that I’m saying “Do-more-stay-busy,” but rather to seek out Ephesians 2:10 for yourself to seek the something more that God envisions for you.  He will equip you on mission for a lost and hurting world.

Also please don’t misunderstand that I’m saying “Your-church-people-suck,” because the mission of God absolutely requires the people of God. This is not an anti-people rant here; I happen to love them. Pray for a loving heart towards your church and that you’d connect with at least a few. Even the worst of hypocrites totally transform when they grab a hold of what God has created them for, and you’ll need each other for it.

Please also hear that none of this is about getting recognition, feeling good about yourself, or getting saved into Heaven.  We follow God because He is God, not for His benefits or perks.  Jesus is everything we need and He will call us to anything He wants.  Don’t make him an accessory to a Hollywood life story; He’s the main character and we’re just the cameos.

3 thoughts on “Question: I Like My Pastor But Not The People

  1. “Jesus calls for much more than passively receiving information” that is one of my big beefs. My pastor husband is working to get our people out of that American (don’t know enough about other countries church culture to comment on them) rut. You’d think he was asking to pull their teeth without meds for some of them, but the rest of us find it very refreshing.

    This is a hard subject to talk about with being misunderstood. Great job!!


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