Question: You Might Want To Change Your Church IF

heynikkie asked:

This is great!! (in reference to this post) But what if you’ve dropped out of church for several months now? … But i feel it’d be awkward to return after being away for so long? I think I had legit reasons to leave (questionable doctrine & unfair treatment to the point where I felt bullied and intimidated) but i was fueled by emotion and left quickly. Is it too late for me to go back to tell the youth pastor why and share what I think could be done to improve?

(Edited for length)

I’m really sorry this happened at your old church, and I got much love for you for even considering going back to speak with them. That’s hugely much more mature than myself.

I don’t believe it’s too late to go back to your former pastor to talk with him.  However, you might want to consider if the conversation is even worth having.  Is he teachable, humble, willing to learn?  There’s a difference between being scared to tell the truth and being uncomfortable with a person who might get violent, offensive, defensive, angry, or insulting.  There’s not a whole lot you can do with the latter. 

I’m reminded of Proverbs 9:8 and 12:15 — Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you …  The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

Personally, while I would certainly be hurt to hear the whole truth about my shortcomings as a pastor, I would also appreciate honest, gracious feedback.  It’s possible you could be doing him a favor.

To switch gears, I’ll list some criteria when it’s okay to consider moving onto a different church.

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Quote: Relax

The word
relax has become this toxic, unthinkable evil of anti-good. Imagine: to actually hit pause and have some guilt-free time for yourself. To watch a sun rise, pray all day, and watch the sun dip away. God commands rest. I don’t mean laziness. I just mean: God gives us a scenic route, too. The robotic-routine of hamster wheel dedication to this world does not fill our dying souls. You know what they say: sometimes you got to stop and smell those roses. That’s why they smell like that: to snap people out of it.

Simplify: Real Life Doctrine

To preachers and teachers of the Word:

The real world can simplify things quickly. Read the news lately. When bills are stacked high and rent is due or a patient codes or you’re under enemy fire or you have a ten second interview with the press, you do not throw CORRECT DOCTRINE on top of this to make sure you’re doing it right. A full-time working, full-time schooling, middle-aged divorcee does not also throw “church and QT and small group and outreach” on top of an already busy schedule.

That’s how most everyday people see the religion-thing: like one more task on top of the tedious humdrum of life. They forget when life gets exhausting, we have a Gracious Rest instead of a spiritual parole officer. People are leaving the church because they see the pathetic bickering over secondary garbage. They need less of us and more of Him.

Intimacy with Jesus must come first, and from such a wellspring is where all life flows. If you’re throwing REAL-GOSPEL-YOU-GUYS on top of work instead of allowing work to flow from the Gospel, you’ve hit Pharisee-land. Jesus was trying to save them, too.

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Question: When To Change Churches?

Anonymous asked:

I’m wondering how you can know if a church isn’t right for you or not.

While I don’t want to paint this into a formula, I understand both extremes we swing to when it comes to our home-church.  On one hand we want to loyally persevere through the rough seasons no matter what, but on the other hand there are legit reasons for moving on to a different church. 

Please know this is a very, very, very serious decision.  The body of Christ should never be full of church-hopping consumers that leave at the first sign of trouble.  We shouldn’t upgrade to bigger-brighter-funnier-cooler just because our home church is not “modernizing.”  There are all kinds of wrong motives to leave.  We are called to endure in a community with uniquely diverse church members that will offend us, will go against the grain, and will not always meet our picky preferences. 

At the same time, if you’ve been there for a decade and have really given it your all, there should be NO shame or guilt in moving on if you feel called.

Here are perhaps some guidelines to think through before making such a big decision.

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