I grew up in the Church. My dad was my youth pastor for a few years. I interned at a local church when I was 18. I was hired by a local church to be a youth pastor when I was 20. I have served & worked for local churches since 1995. I have invested a lot in the Church. When we started Thrive Church, Tracie and I gave everything we had in savings and in our retirement to start this Church.
Needless to say, we’re pretty invested in the local Church.
And, I Love the Local Church. I really do!
But, as a Pastor and someone who studies the Church. I have some pretty decent concerns for the Church. Now, I’m not an alarmist. There are a few pretty loud people crying about how the Church is pretty much defunk. I don’t buy that.
I believe because of Jesus, the Church is God’s Plan for reaching this lost world.
But, I have some concerns.
ONE…Our Consumeristic mindset. Yikes. It’s kind of intense. We actually say that we’re ‘shopping around for a new church’. WHAT T.H.E. Heck? You can’t shop for a Church. That proves my concern right there. The Church is not a store, it’s not a club, it’s not a school, it’s not an online experience.
The Church is the Bride of Christ! It’s a family. It’s a Community. It’s tribe.
TWO…Our ability to put leaders on a pedestal and then destroy them.
Wowzers! This is kind of crazy in 2018! We convince ourselves that our Pastors have a different line to God and that they can and should do everything we think they should do. We think they should know everyone personally and be there for everyone. That’s just not the case. They’re people like everyone else.
Yes, we should respect our Pastors and pray for them. But, we have to stop worshipping them. And then, we have to stop dumping on them when they fail.
Churches toss out hurting Pastors left and right.
Maybe that’s too tough. Maybe I’m wrong. But, I have easily had over 300 conversations with Pastors who have been dumped, fired, let go, crapped on and forgotten about.
This has to stop.
And, Pastors have to stop leading in ways that point everyone to them. Sometimes Pastors become what I call…’Pastor Centric’. They preach every sermon, they lead every meeting, they counsel everyone. This just can’t be.
This has to stop.
THREE…Our way of NOT committing.
I have to be careful with this one. I have the ability to become a little jaded about this. But, I feel in 2018 when a Pastor calls their Church to Commit, to be All In…there is decent push back. And why? Well, because we are so busy it’s ridiculous.
For parents…School and Sports and Activities are King. Sorry moms and dads, it’s true. I’ve got 23 years of serving families as a back drop to that truth.
For human beings…Work is life. Ok, for most of us. Now, there are more and more adults who are living with their parents and not working. That’s a whole other story. But, many people work on Sunday’s now. I get that. You have to take care of your family.
For teenagers…Technology is life. How can the church compete with the constant flow of media that our teens are running through our brains.
For people who have been hurt by the Church…they are not committing. They’re not quick to sign up to serve, to be in a group or to give. And trust me…I GET THAT! I’ve had my heart ripped out in the past and I’ve had to learn how to protect it. I get it.
But, at what point do we say…
the church is incredibly important to Jesus, so it should be incredibly important to me?
FOUR…Our ability to be a GHOST.
This one just kills me! People get involved with a Church community. Make and build relationships. Get to know people. Then they…
They think by not telling anyone they’ve moved on, they’re helping their Church. I’ll just quietly disappear and I won’t make a stink, they think. Actually, its just not healthy. You leave a wake of questions. You leave people wondering…’was it me’?
FIVE…Our mindset that its OK to NOT share the load.
This is probably tied to my first concern, but it is amazing how many people will watch instead of getting involved. Consume, instead of contribute. Now, this could be because the Church gives the impression they don’t need anyone else. This could be because the leaders do everything themselves and don’t build up others. This could be because you’re hurt. Trust me, I get those!
But, very often, we need to be the ones to step up.
Ok, not the most super happy post from me, but as I pray about the Church and my local Church, these are some of the concerns I have and that I’m praying about.
Tomorrow’s post…5 Reasons Why the Church is Going to be better.