Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i feel closer to GOD since i left the church

sounds shocking, doesn't it? yeah, i couldn't believe the words came from my mouth, yet they did. my hubby and i were talking late one night about our church experiences, and out came the words.

let me stop and explain. it's not that i've turned my back on GOD or the church at large. our family has decided that for this season in our lives, we will have church at home. i have to admit that i'm more than disillusioned with the church as an institution these days, but that's not my only reason for taking church home. this has actually worked out well for us. we spend time studying and growing as a family, this provides us the flexibility to visit and minister at other churches, we have more relaxing sundays with more quality time with each other and our extended family. and it's giving us time to re-evaluate what we think church should be. church planting is not out of the question for us sometime in the future.

i know having church at home is not for everyone, and i'm not trying to convince anyone to leave their church. but for us right now, home church just works.

obviously, the next question was, "why do i feel this way?"

i have hit on a few reasons so far:

1. i'm not discouraged by the negatives at church: the politics, the grumbling, the politics, the grumbling. as a leader, i seemed to be a target for a lot of this. i just had enough. i've seen the dark side of church. i know people aren't perfect, but seriously, we need to have more integrity than we do. that's the example set before us by CHRIST himself. it was never about politics. it was about people. it was about relationships with GOD and with people.

2. we're so busy doing church that we forget to be the church. it's not about doing. the doing will come if we just learn to be. we've got this class, this ministry, this rehearsal, this dinner, this meeting. gotta make this payment, gotta raise money for this trip, gotta do, gotta go, gotta... one of satan's most effective tools in the church today is busy-ness, and what a powerful tool it is.

3. at "church," it's easy to get lazy in our relationship with GOD. we let our sunday school teacher, our pastor, our small group leader do the learning for us. in my home church, i have to take responsibility for my own growth. i learn more because i'm taking more responsibility for my spiritual growth. i can't slip into the habit of letting someone else do the hard work for me.

i know this can bring a lot of criticism, and i know this isn't for everyone. but that's okay. just some thoughts that have crossed my mind, and i thought i would share.


Anonymous said...

There we go!
Been reading a book about this very thing. As part of a church planting team, we've been convicted about "doing church," and are bringing it home. And bringing others home too. Those who would never go to church, but would drink a beer on our porch with us. Its a good read...


hope hammond said...

thanks, kay!

Dennis said...

WOW. this is what EXACTLY happen to my us!!! We left church about 6 months ago, i was a youth pastor there for 6 years. In the beginning was very hard, because we got a lot of criticism from people and lots of people stopped communicating with us for that same reason. BUT i can say, that my relationships with Jesus definitely improved and i love him more than life. Thanks again for sharing this!

hope hammond said...

thanks so much for your comment! i'm sorry you had a rough experience, but i am thrilled about your improving relationship with GOD. it does feel awesome!

Ginger Fletcher said...

I have felt for years that church is just not what church use to be. When I was growing up, we were in church everytime the door opened, dressed the right way, prayed the right way, etc. But, you will always have those who are going to critize you, shun you, get in cliques, make bad choices to lead people away from God. That is NOT what church is about. It's about lending the hand to the poor, the widowed, the orphaned. Showing love and compasion to the homeless. Feeding the hungry. I bet there are tons of people that go to church every week who would just die if you asked them to do something like that. That what a "my way" religion and have lost the true meaning of Jesus and what redemption has done for us. It's now all about the dinners, the social events, the ladies clubs, the trips and on and on. Why aren't we out busing in the poor anymore? Are they too dirty, to poor to pay tithes, not worth the time or expense? I'm with you Hope, I've so disenchanted with the whole thing right now. I go to church still, faithfully, I pay my tithes because I am in a covenant with God, but I DO NOT agree to the way churches are being run. I thought it was for the lost to come in, not the saved to have a country club. Just my thoughts.

Kerri Berri said...

I am so feeling this article, been going through some of the very same things myself...thanks for the post and the encouragement.

God bless