Have you ever stood in a church, entrance, hallway or parking lot and listened to stories that sounded like you were listening to a soap opera or a prime time movie only to find out that the story was about a local Christian community?
Local churches all over the world are shattered so often that it is almost an expected result. Pastors are fired, members storm off, staff members take a group from one church to start another just down the road. Business meetings become filled with yelling, fighting and screaming, believers taking sides against fellow believers. Then there are power plays, deception, and alliances that would make reality TV look sane.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "How in the world did the church get here? Is this what church is supposed to be like?" No wonder that many people fall away from the institutional church.
Have you ever wondered why members of the church of the living God sometimes act like nonbelievers?
Have you ever thought that church might be fun and fulfilling, were it not for the people inside the building? (I heard one pastor say .. jokingly “I love ministry, it is people I hate.” Or was it?)
Have you ever been so completed outraged by actions in the church that you swore off church completely? Have you ever felt that going to church was a waste of your time? Have you ever wondered why God would even save some of these folk, much less use them in a local church?
Well, so have I. You read correctly. I have been frustrated by churches that I have served in. But truthfully, so are most pastors. When we gather with friends or in conventions and meetings, ministers often speak in hushed tones and whispers, relaying stories of horrific business meetings, contentious committees, and brutal fellowships and relationships.
Virtually every Christian, active in a local assembly, can share stories that defy the imagination. Church is not supposed to be this way!
Does any of this resonate with you? I may be a little naive... but I don't think that it should be that hard to get along with people... yet I've found that people offend very easily (I don't believe that I get offended that easily) Should getting along really be all that hard? Why do churches have to be nastier (or at least as nasty) as the world sometimes?
For the next few weeks I'd like to invite you along for the journey... and I would like to hear your stories. BUT here is the catch! Do not include names or places of churches in your stories. If a real name of a person or a church appears, I will pull the post…as I had to do in a previous response. Let us learn from each other…ok?