Your church can be ridiculously frustrating, and you’ll want to give up and walk out and say you were right about them the whole time.
I know you’ve probably had a million ideas they didn’t listen to, and you want worship to be deeper, the Bible studies to be harder, the activities to tone down, the atmosphere more gracious, people more real, the pastor to be more serious or more in-depth or more thoughtful or more attentive. You want more missions, more conviction, more change, more open dialogue.
But please, please, please hang in there.
You’ve probably been trying for a while. I know it hurts to not be heard, to see others halfway committed, to hear the stories of two-faced lives.
Please consider that the “hypocrite” might be someone on their first lap of faith, and they just don’t know yet, and not everyone is paced at your speed. Consider that your pastor has a vision that he is desperately trying to tie together across dozens of conflicting opinions. Consider that what you feel are glaring flaws in your church are NOT sins against anyone, but simply a preference that rides against yours.
Church is exactly the place for you to endure through disagreement and discontent: because it teaches us patience when nothing goes “your way.” It doesn’t mean we remain complacent as things unfold: but that we extend grace for the growing pains of our church body, and we offer solutions lest we become part of the problem.
Fighting for unity is not the same thing as complaining about what’s wrong. I get this confused a lot too, and people can always tell the difference. The church knows when you can’t handle being told “no” and if you are pushing a vengeful reactionary agenda. You know your heart on this one, and if there is bitterness there, you probably wouldn’t listen to you either.
If you’re really hurting for your ministry: I just hope we act to restore and not out of righteous vindication. People walk into church with a divided mind already. They don’t need more of that. If you’re secretly venting to others about what is wrong, even in a “humble” articulate manner: you are poisoning the well. If it’s a legitimate concern, there are better ways to be heard and move forward.
People hear the ones with their sleeves rolled up, and nothing less. They will know if you really care or if you are really bitter. There is certainly a lot wrong with your church: but that’s because we attend them. There could be a time to walk away: but not in anger. There is a time to confront: but not to look back, and only to bring healing.
Have room in your heart to struggle together in the mess we call church. You will be heard this way. More importantly, God will speak this way.
It’s not easy, but don’t give up. Don’t give in. You are needed. Keep afloat, dear friend.