Tag Archives: church

Why I’m Not Leaving The Church

I read a few posts recently on various blogs from people who were fed up with the organized Church. Overwhelmed, frustrated, and appearing somewhat jaded, they listed their grievances as reasons they were leaving The Church.

They weren’t necessarily giving up their beliefs, and they made no mention of “losing religion”, but instead stated the reasons why they could no longer participate as members of organized Christianity.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those posts. I’ve been thinking about how sad they made me, and how those who are leaving The Church, and the reasons for which they are leaving, only exacerbate the issues that exist within organized Christianity today. So I decided to explore a few of the reasons why I’m staying.

Their reason for leaving: The Church isn’t open to people of all backgrounds and lifestyles.

My reason for staying: It’s true that there are many organized churches under many denominations who don’t welcome people of all races, backgrounds, lifestyles and socioeconomic histories. But I do. I believe the lost are the lost, no matter where you come from. I believe that all people of all skin colors, nationalities, religions, creeds, and backgrounds are welcome at the foot of the cross. I believe our churches need to open their doors to everyone, no matter what. I believe I attend a church that does. So I’m staying. I’m staying so that I can invite people to worship with me. I’m staying so that I can be a part of welcoming them into the body of Christ. I’m staying because if I leave, who, WHO will be the one to let these people know that they are welcome? Who will be the one to smile, shake a hand, encourage, support and minister to someone, anyone, who needs to know Jesus Christ? I’m staying so that I can be one of those who is open-minded about who worships next to me. I’m staying so that I can be a true witness of Christ’s love–the love that is open to all, no matter what. If I don’t, who will?

Their reason for leaving: I don’t like being judged.

My reason for staying: God’s word is true, it’s powerful, and yes, sometimes it steps on our toes. We need God because we aren’t perfect. If we could tweak His word to say whatever we wanted, letting us off the hook for our sins, there would be no need for a perfect, sinless Savior. There’s a real lack of personal responsibility in our society which lends to the belief that we can justify sin by ignoring that it’s sin altogether. But sin is sin, whether we pretend it is or not. The Church isn’t judging when preachers are preaching from the truth of the Word. Instead we are being herded back into the fold, following the Great Shepherd who already paid for our sins with the spotless blood of the Lamb. Leaving The Church to create your own church based on your own interpretation of the Bible might suit temporarily to ease your conscience, but understand that in the end, the truth cannot be ignored. So I’m staying because I’m not perfect and I need a perfect Savior. I’m staying because I know that from time to time, I need to be reminded of my human nature to sin, and I need to be reminded that my sin has been paid for by the One who died for me.

Their reason for leaving: All the people are hypocrites.

My reason for staying: A church is a family. Like our blood families, sometimes we don’t always get along. Sometimes there are those who seem to ruin it for everyone. And sometimes there are those who lie, cheat, steal, etc. But we’re family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and while we can’t control what someone else says or does, we can combat their negative image of the Church with our own positivity. We can be the beacon–we are the city on the hill. I’m staying because I want to be the positive light. I’m staying because I want those who believe all Church members are hypocrites to look at me and say, “No, not all.”

Their reason for leaving: I’m not being “fed.”

My reason for staying: I’m doing the feeding. Christ commanded us to go and make disciples of all. That commandment implies action. It implies commitment. It implies work. Nowhere does it imply that we are off the hook for doing the leg-work of discipleship. Nowhere does it imply that we are to relax and wait for someone else to “feed” us spiritually. There’s an attitude of service among Christian’s today, but it’s the wrong attitude. We’re waiting to be served instead of realizing that it’s we who should be doing the serving. I know people who have left The Church because there aren’t enough services for them and their families. I know people who church-hop, joining one church and then another because they can’t find a place where they feel like The Church is doing enough for them. That’s such a backward thought process. We’ll never be truly One as a Church unless we are serving, following Christ’s commandment to make disciples. To piggy-back off a president from awhile back, “ask not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church.” So I’m staying because I am able to serve, and spiritual nourishment comes through that attitude of working to make disciples of every believer, including myself. I’m staying because through service, I am being served in the body of Christ.

In an effort to keep this from being the longest post ever, I’ll end there for now. 🙂

Share with me: What are your reasons for staying? What are your reasons for leaving?


Filed under The Christian Walk

Winning The War of Worship

My pastor recently preached a sermon on worship.  He said that the scriptures state that we are all to open our mouths and sing to the Lord.

As he spoke the words, I could feel the tension in the sanctuary beginning to thicken.  Suddenly, attention had been called once again to the battle that our church, and many churches throughout the world, have been fighting for years now.

How to worship.

There are two camps: those who believe that the traditional way is best, and those who believe that a more contemporary way is best.  And a lot of times the battle boils down to a will of generations– those who prefer the tried and true way, and those who want change.

The arguments of both sides are valid.  The traditional camp believes that the hymns and songs of the faith that have been sung for years (in the cases of some hymns, literally hundreds of years) present the most reverent offer of worship to the Lord and connect the founders of the faith with the followers of today.

The contemporary camp believes that in order to draw in the lost and entertain worshipers, the songs should be new, raw, and most of the time accompanied with a band that consists of at least a guitar, keyboard, and drums.

But the real issue here is not traditional v. contemporary.  The real issue is about the intentions in the hearts of the worshipers. 

Worship isn’t about the how, but about the who.

Who is being glorified by the worship?  Is it the organist?  Is it the band?  Is it the singers in the choir loft, on the stage, or in the pews?  The correct answer is that only One should be glorified in our worship.

Reading carefully through the Psalms, it’s easy to see how David and the other authors glorified God with their voices and their instruments, not concerned about the comfort level of their fellow man; only concerned that God’s ears would be pleased with the sounds of his devoted faithful.

The scriptures say that if we do not praise Him, the rocks will.  Verse 12 of Psalm 96 says that the trees will praise his name.  We can be certain that the rocks, seas, mountains, hills and trees don’t care about what instruments are being used or whether the tempo of the song is too fast or too slow.

When we begin to fuss and argue over style of worship we are forgetting the true meaning of the word.    

When we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit, worship is a time for us to pour our hearts out to God in gratitude for his mercies and grace through the sacrifice of His son.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

When we think about just how amazing God’s mercy is and how it has changed our lives and adjust the attitude of our hearts, the worship will pour out.  No matter the format, arms raised or folded, tempo fast or slow, words in a hymnal or on a screen, God will be glorified.

And that’s all that matters.

Personally, I find amazing worship in all types of music within the church tradition.  There is no song more beautiful to my mind than How Great Thou Art.  And when I imagine what it will be like to sit at the throne of God and sing of His wondrous love, no song is more powerful to me than You Are Holy (Isaiah 6).

Share with me: What’s your favorite worship song or hymn and why?


Filed under The Christian Walk