Summary: People sometimes leave their long term commitment with the church for the wrong reasons, or snap decisions that don’t make sense at all. I am going to d
Thy Will Be Done?
I left the church I grew up in after 50 roller coaster years. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t because of the roller coaster that I left. I learned from that and gained experience and a wonderful knowledge of scripture and the importance of wisdom. It was because of the roller coaster operator who had problems with telling the truth; that was why I left. That is neither here nor there at this point. What I want to share is that in my experience with the church, whether Christians, or people in general, they sometimes leave their long term commitment with the church for the wrong reasons, or snap decisions that don’t make sense at all. I am going to describe the wrong reasons people leave the church. May God’s “will” be done.
If you’re planning to leave your current church to stop attending church altogether, please reconsider this very dangerous step. Very few decisions are more likely to cause long-term spiritual damage than leaving the church. Even for a little while. Because a little while almost always becomes a very long time. Even deciding to ‘see what’s out there’ in other churches can be a dangerous practice. Church-shopping can become church-hopping, which easily leads to church-stopping. Christianity was never meant to be lived in isolation. We need you. You need us. We need each other.
I remember an old story told by an old preacher; it went like this… “There was a fellow in the church who got mad about something that took place within the church. Instead of talking it out and praying about it with the pastor and through council, the ole’ guy just left the church. A few weeks went by and one evening as the ole fellow was sitting in his rocking chair and smoking his pipe, there came a knock at the door. It was the pastor.
Can I come and sit with you awhile? said the pastor. If you’d like, said the ole’ fellow. So in silence, there they sat for about a half hour, neither one saying a word. Then all of a sudden and ember popped out of the fireplace and landed on the floor. It was hot, bright and strong. The two gents just stared at it as it slowly lost its heat, its brightness, and finally went dark. As the pastor looked over at the ole fellow he saw a tear stream down his cheek. The ole fellow looked at the pastor and said, I’ll see you on Sunday.” The moral here is that in the community of the flame (the church) we remain strong like the ember surrounded by the rest, but without our church family we slowly fade getting darker and weak and eventually growing cold.
As we are being fed in the church, the amount we can take in diminishes until we do one thing: start serving. Expecting to grow spiritually by attending church but not participating is like expecting to get physically healthy by eating better but not getting off the couch. In both 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5 we read about immature believers who wanted more “milk” even though they should have been ready for “solid food.” Often, church members will leave a church because they want meatier sermons. The truth is, most of the time those who are still drinking milk will choke on the meat. But, while sermons can always be better, I don't believe we can ever get spiritual meat from sermons, just milk. What makes something milk is that it’s been through the cow. Someone else has eaten it, chewed it, processed it and fed it to you. Meat is something we ourselves chew on. It requires our work and participation. It must pass through us, individually, for us to benefit from its nutrients. (God’s blessings)
If you’re a mature believer who isn’t being fed, don’t look for another church. Pick up a spoon and feed yourself. Then start serving by feeding others. The church is not a buffet where we pick the spiritual products we like. The church is a community that worships Jesus together; a family that cares for each other, and blesses others in Jesus’ name. Believe me, people don’t become giants of the faith by hearing better sermons. They do so by drawing closer to Jesus Christ and living better lives as a result, by putting others in front of themselves. Guess what? Even powerful sermons won’t change a proud and stubborn congregate. So, stop blaming the Pastor’s sermons for your need to leave. We are our own examples of our own lives and when we grow up and become men and women, we are then now accountable to God for our own actions.
1Co 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.