“I Love God but Hate My Church”

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I once read that you cannot truly love your Pastor and not love his wife.  I know it may be possible, but not practical.  Believe it or not, his wife is the extension of him, the one that supports him when no one does, the one that listens when the man behind the pulpit needs to vent, the one that takes care of his home while he’s tending the sheep.  You get what  I mean. 

Similarly, I don’t get this mentality either: “I love God but hate my church because…”

10) the sermon is boring. This is a big thing with people when their pastors don’t retort like John Piper or challenge like Marc Driscoll. There’s a great debate as to whether or not a church can survive without a dynamic speaker.  I will tell you of an old testament leader who generations followed despite his absent penchant for oration, but God chose him.  We place little importance on integrity these days of our leaders who will speak the truth.  And let’s be honest, is it really the sermon that’s boring, so we can wait for God to dazzle us with whirlwind or the fire, as if the worship is about us?  Or do we come Sundays to really wait on God, and listen closely for His whispers?

9) the people are fake.  You know what?! You’re fake! Just kidding…look…everyone tries to put their best foot forward. OK, not everyone, the people that shove it like it is get another title- yes, hypocrites.  You really can’t win.  Those trying to put their best foot forward and end up showing their humanity are fakes; then those who are too honest to your face aren’t even worthy to be called Christians.  In all my years in the church, do you know how I stayed sane with these questions of authenticity of character?  There’s a bunch of ways, but one is to remember that I am not perfect.  And two: I don’t go church to worship them, but to be in the struggle with them and minister to them, grow with them, and love them.  What I love most are the people who shout hypocrite when the hating is practically hyprocritical thinking. Love that.

8)  that church is not growing.  Despite seeing and hearing testimonies of peoples lives being changed, families growing in forgiveness and love, ministries struggling to serve those in need, charity work produced, relationships building, youth rising into leadership, discipleship training (in and out of the church), children learning about God’s love, reaching out to the poor and needy, church planting, ministering to today’s troubled youth, and especially testimonies of hearts just growing in love for God and the joy of serving in that church, people can really critically guage the church isn’t growing.  It must be really powerful to know exactly everything hidden thing that God is doing in the lives of His people in a given church.  And I know how accurate it is to look at the numbers in attendance and conclude the lack of growth in numbers is directly proportional of the church not growing spiritually.  Have we forgotten to realize that when people leave, new people come in?  When leaders must go, servants rise up?  If you start counting success by numbers, I would have thought God would have at least given us one hundred fingers, ten eyes, and the ability to go through bodily physical mitosis to accomplish two things at once.  I know many admirable pastors who sheperd churches that maintain low attendance and struggle with similar challenges with servanthood.  To be honest, even if their congregations never pass 200, I could never say their church isn’t growing. I look at the close disciples and their growth, and measure the potential.  Maybe the more accurate thing to say is “I’m not growing.”  But then that would require some introspection about why one isn’t growing in that church.  Maybe the people are fake or the sermon is boring.

We’ll look into the rest seven reasons in the next few blogs. 

But I want to end with this, it’s possible to love God and hate your church, but not practical.  When you do or say things to hurt your “church”, I emplore you to take a look at the bigger picture.  You’re saying, “I love You Lord, but I hate the people you love, the people who are working as your hands and feet, the people who are ambassadors of His Word, the people who are loving the people who cannot cope. The people who have prayed for me and have ministered to me when I needed forgiveness and love.” 

I want to abruptly end before you, reader, doze along, with this passage in James 3, verses 5-12.  

5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.  7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Think about such tiny little words that may be exhaled through hurt, frustration, disappointment, pride, malice- small tiny words you feed tiny little ears- ears that may not want to hear the unwholesome talk or ears that love disturbance like honey.  Nonetheless, that “tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”  But those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).  

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  • Jason Natte

    I love the idea of “church” but something just don’t ever seem to feel right to me.. whenever I do attend, although i do love to praise and worship God.. and ive visited many churches.. I struggle to see how I’m able to fit into a “one man show” seems everythings already in its place.. And I’m unneeded.. the church functions just fine without me.. Would anyone even miss me if I was gone?? Would the whole church body suffer at there loss of me?? Do i even have a contribution other then just simply money??.. Don’t seem so to me… were all much needed portions of the body of Christ right? (One will prophecy.. One will speak in tounges.. Etc..)Well.. What is my gifting?? Do I even have one?? And would anyone even care if i did?? And where exactly do I plug in?? And do I just barge my way in and take my place?? Do I try to convince the body that I’m needed?? Or do I just warm a bench and remain silent the whole time as I typically would have?? Well then.. Why go? For my benefit alone?? Well I already have God.. And my bible.. Cable telivision.. And internet.. So its not like I would not survive without the church body..

    A few other observations are.. I feel closer to God in my seclusion with him away from the body.. Things are much clearer for me as I read the word alone.. Allowing for God to speak to me directly.. The church seems way to “Luke warm” in my eyes, and I just don’t seem to be able to really connect with just anyone on any deeper level.. Church feels way to “casual” for my taste..and not like a body at all.. The highlight of a service for me.. May be…. Hi.. How you been? Well.. See you next Sunday” then I go back to “my life outside the body” but.. All together.. I kinda like the distance I have between me and the body.. even though it hurts.. And i will visit from time to time.. For You can see a lot from the distance that I do stand.. When the church has a weak spot.. i can now see it clearly.

    • marchesa

      what an honest comment jason, one that i don’t have an answer to if you require an answer that will help every situation, since every church is different.

      so I will tell you two things…

      one, God must have thought meeting with ‘the body’ is important because, well let’s face it, He tells us to meet often (heb.10:25)(acts 2:42), keeping the Sabbath Holy (exodus 20:8)…and well, fellowship with the body does wonders for our spiritual life because we find people who will help us and keep us accountable in our struggles- friendships I’ve found deepest are within people in my church family. Not just that, but in my experience, I’ve also learned so much about life from others’ lives, pain from their pain, and how to love from those who love and are also unlovable, forgiveness, and grace…from those who are young to those who are old- all within the church family. I’ve seriously seen first hand how God moves in their lives and who God is to them, how God changes them, their families, their lives, redeems them, blesses them, refines them, and forgives them. And I can only hope that me being there, letting them see my life opens up a way for them to see who God is to me, and how God moves in my life and in my family. In a church makeup, we’re allowed to see God’s perfection in the imperfect. And yes, we don’t have to go to church to see what God does in people, but these are the people you are investing in, committing to- emotionally, mentally, physically- people who you want to help and can help you grow in the knowledge of God.

      Scripture says iron sharpens iron…and my friend, we can only be sharpened alone to such a limit. We can feel closer to God in our own seclusion, as is what God wants- to passionately seek Him and spend time with Him, but how will we minister to the lost, to those seeking, to those hurting, to those struggling with a similar sin, to those who need relating, to those who need a friend, to those who desire a conversation, to those who are alone? People come to church to seek God, but God isn’t in the building- He’s in the people who need to help and love people. We cannot do that alone.

      Two…and I know i’m typing a lot for someone who says I don’t have an answer…in my younger years, I was given to make the decision to attend a church that meets my every need- a great praise team, a great sermon, a great presence…or a church that needed people…

      I chose the church with needs- that needed a pianist, that needed teachers, that needed a youth leader, that needed people to sing, to join the choir, that needed people to volunteer. It wasn’t a flashy church, but I learned about servanthood in that church, and I learned about loving and ministering in that church. Maybe, Jason, you just need time to really invest in a church where you see yourself fulfilling a need…and usually that takes months to see. It’s sometimes in the least obvious places- like ministries that feed the homeless, or starting cell groups, helping out young churches, or teaching an instrument, saturday cleaning, etc. Maybe you can approach the leaders or even people you feel close to in that church and share how you’d like to help. Going to the cell bible studies or prayer meetings may give you a glimpse of areas where you can be of help.

      My advice? Just attend a cell group during the week and commit to your attendance. Slowly, you’ll start to see that people just need companionship, friendship, conversation…then from there, other needs are tackled. The “casual-ness” will start to become more genuine. I have to be honest in saying that even I myself have a hard time really letting people in- but being alone isn’t the answer- I’ll only limit myself in seeing what God can do and what He is doing, and what I can do for His kingdom.

      I hope that helps…if not, thank you for engaging in the thoughts.

  • Aia Marie Nable

    Thank you for this Ate Marchesa. I was [stalking] reading your sixnineteen blog you posted on FB. I don’t know how I got to this blog. But this is exactly how feel at the moment except for my father. It is a bit frustrating to see people bash my dad, when I see him diligently pray for the church. It breaks my heart to see people talk down to my dad and my mom. I see it in other churches as well. I don’t know how to remove my anger & bitterness towards these so called “church members” who love God but hate their church. It really is a stumbling block to me. But reading your blog, helped me cope with that. Thank you.

    • Marchesa

      Man, I left a whole reply but somehow it got lost.

      In a nutshell, I said that this is always to be expected in ministry. I’m sure your dad isn’t surprised, although the experience, however many, will sting. Point is, we’re all imperfect, even the leadership, so in the span of the many years together, we’re all going to rub each other’s feathers, intentionally or not. I’ve learned though that at the end of the day, I have to face God and examine myself if I’m glorifying Him or not and if I am doing the best I can and if my heart is without malice, my integrity will speak for itself in due time.

      Many times, in the past, people may have said many things of me, whether I know it or not, but I chose to just let them be and have my life speak for itself. Although I could have verbally defended myself, I knew drama wasn’t worth it and my eyes needed to focus where it mattered. Truth eventually wins out.

      In ministry, we just have to choose our battles and examine whether we’re in the wrong. Leadership or not, we’re called to work together for God’s glory. If we focus on making sure the other person is wrong, God’s work suffers. I don’t know why we still don’t get that and we still maliciously speak against one another.

      Well, hope that helps a little.