seriously annoyed with Church

Recently I’ve been hearing friends expressing their disillusionment with Church in its institutionalised, committed-to-sticking-around form. quite a lot of them are saying the thing doesn’t seem to be touching the reality they know and experience every day. others that it just isn’t matching up to what they had expected or hoped for, or even what they felt had been promised when they first “joined up” or got involved.

The list of friends thus pissed off includes Gen X and Y types, especially from the creative world, and those with an activist history in the face of aching need – some daring to work where most of us wouldn’t be seen dead.

But some of the people on this list are fellow clergy, minister, pastors, priests. it just doesn’t seem to be touching real people where they are. we seem to be doing church a heck of a lot for ourselves, and they’re in the process of deciding they don’t want to patronise that, chaplain it, promote it or even defend it. in fact I get the feeling they want to demolish it, dance on the ruins and then start something new – if we could just figure out what that was.

so here’s an invitation, a challenge, a kick up your low-riding pants. what’re you gonna do about it? what would it look like if we tried to do something about it? how do we stop it from becoming yet another edifice in need of a salutary demolition job? what’s not negotiable? where could we start? with whom? doing what?

my mate Tamati and I want to get you talking, reflecting, arguing about the revolution that’s long overdue. in my time we had the charismatic thing that revolutionised church – but it stagnated and became charismania – and i know a whole lot of you hate it now. so what are we wanting to do? come on let’s hear ya?

the barefoot surfer

12 thoughts on “seriously annoyed with Church

  1. Hi dude, good questions.

    A friend of mine was questioning why he does businesses with “Christian” organizations, some one commented.
    “I find they lack in communication and are not professional in the worldly sense of the word and obviously don’t have to think, “Time equals money!””

    This I think sums up the church, they lack communication and are not professional.
    Is what is needed, a more professional church which can communicate? why is the church unable to communicate which that is its task? to communicate the gospel? big questions.

    1. professional? ehhh? more attentive to communicating more clearly, honestly internally as well as externally…
      “by your (professionalism? nah) love they will know you’re my lot.” Tho that IS about communication right enough.
      Thanks for responding revroy…hang in there bud

  2. Good topic for discussion. I think your saying people don’t want to do ‘church’. I often wonder about how Jesus did it in his day and how different it looks to what we do. Relationship is so important. People are attracted to genuine relationship and honesty.

    Personally I know my non-christian family aren’t interested in being involved in a structure like church because its foreign to them
    but i do love my church family though in saying all that.

    I think people want to be helped and to go where there at and be genuinely loved through relationship, whanau and community stuff etc

    We have an inground tradition on how to do church but is it working?
    Its like turning the titantic around i reckon. It needs to be planted in to the minds of the new generation of Christians to look at doing church in an alternative way, community etc. The crunch comes back to the individual – ME! I need to change!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    1. I think some feel “church” is standing in the way of some damned good work with reject kids, or prostitutes, or just being on the creative edge

  3. hmmm very interesting…

    This has been something that my home group and i have been asking for the past 2 years!

    Unfortunately we still have not got an answer… the closest thing that we have is for us to stop complaining about what ‘others’ are doing and become reponsible for the change we want to see. Its easy to sit back and complain. But if you really want change to happen,.. its up to you. I think you just got to give it a go… you cant really be faulted for trying.
    In my limited experience, by going to the people at the top with a freshness in ideas has actually been greatly accepted. You need to push though the barriers. Gen Y get off your bums and do somthing about it…

    The other thing to think about is…Why should church be confined to ‘4 walls on a sunday morning’? Why not have church ‘faith discussions’ via new age means… Facebook etc…? or down at the pub? or even on the rugby field?

    These are where we spend alot of our time is it not?

    1. thanks for your response.
      one of the things that worries me is that the people who are feeling alienated are the ones who have committed hugely to quite daring work but feel burnt out, or just plain burnt by those who poke holes rather than patching up

  4. I think the “professionalism” thing is tough – a number of churches, especially pentecostal churches, appear to be run in the business mold, and are professional in the way they run services, teams courses, and in terms of managing the church itself (the church I go to is definitely in this group) – yet they are facing the same challenges as churches who could be deemed as not professional. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that all churches – no matter what level of professionalism they are at – is going through these same challenges, and its members asking themselves the same questions.

    For myself, I think the biggest challenge facing the church (and I speak only from experience in several churches in my area, and conversations with other Christians on sites like the Soul Purpose message boards) is still judgmentalism and intolerance.

    For example, I play in a band that plays a wide range of covers in places like bars and parties – places where people are drinking, doing drugs, being promiscuous, etc; when I play in the band, I don’t hide my faith – we sing songs from Christian artists as well as secular artists, we kick off our set with an original song which I wrote based on a prayer, and we promote safe drinking, non-violence and having good, clean fun, right from the stage – not only that, but its also given me the opportunity to share my faith with people who I might not have been able to reach if I wasn’t involved with the band, including my fellow band members (who aren’t Christians, but are all dear friends of mine). Not only THAT but I really feel like we can promote a message that can change people – if we do 500 shows, and 1 person decides not to drink and drive and avoids an accident, surely it was worth my while, or if we do 500 shows and I get to talk to 1 person who is saved eventually, due to something I’ve said to them, surely it was worth my while.

    Now, the only opposition I’ve ever experienced to what I’m doing has come from inside the church – I’ve been labelled as a person who is playing “death music to secular people”, I’ve been told that “demons of alcohol” could be getting a hold of me, I’ve been told that I’m sinning merely by going into a bar, I’ve been told that I’m backsliding, I’ve been told that I’m not a good Christian … all by church members who know nothing about what I do, and know nothing about the situations I’m getting into, and/or are in denial about the size of the alcoholic problem in this country (though that last point is probably not on-topic here).

    It seems to me that I experience more judgment and intolerance from Christian church members for my band or for going into a bar than I do from nonChristian people for my faith – and if I’m feeling like that (me, a person who genuinely feels more committed and more stable in my faith than at any other time in my faith walk), how are nonChristian people coming into the church feeling about things?

    Real Christianity – to me, at least – is an all-encompassing, non-judgmental, fully-tolerant faith that welcomes everyone, no exceptions, no strings. The actual practice of the faith – the church services, the courses and so on – should be completely secondary to this goal of preaching God’s love and His gospel.

    What do you guys think?

  5. I think Rob Bell sums it up nicely when he says –

    “The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.”

    I think its the same with church… church shouldn’t be nice neat lines and perfected sermons… i think it should be an open expression of God and his infinite mystery.. it should be a place we we are able to come and be open and honest and ask the hard questions even if we don’t have the answers… It should be a place of Love and not judgement… I recently heard that a guy in was fired from his church because he listened to a certain christian preacher online… how dangerous church becomes when one cannot think and explore and develop HIS relationship with God for HIMSELF.. I hope and pray that the heart of the church of my generation will join together in Love… true love, a love that the father can look and smile upon..

    Rob also says ‘”people often confuse religion with God and walk away from them both”

    I agree with his statement and would also say that “people often confuse CHURCH with God and walk away from them both”

    I hope and pray that no mater what… we all remember that church is made up of people.. and we have all fallen short of the glory of God… lets learn, lets forgive, and if you have to, move on and join a place that makes you happy, that feeds your spirit and that leaves you hungry and thirsty for more of the amazing and divine Jesus… If your church isn’t doing that, then your in the wrong place..

    A few months ago I was at the end of myself and was about the throw it all in… enough of the unrealistic expectation placed upon me from the church, enough with the hype and the fluff.. enough enough enough!!!

    But something happened. God captivated my heart and reminded me its not about CHURCH… and its not about ME either…

    Its about God. Period.

    Grace and Peace!


  6. ood read. Good to see you’re hungry for change, if you’re hunger leads to you yielding more of yourself (in a sense becoming dead to self) to Jesus then I’m sure the power of God will meet you where ever you stand. We are in times I believe that require much tears and surrender in our prayer closets then speaking and hyping the words of man.

    John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

    For revolution, our cry must not be “what do we want” but “Jesus increase… take all of me, my mind, my soul and strength”. Then we will speak as Peter says the oracles of God – Then we will speak His Word and His truth to this generation that once rooted in hungry hearts will grow into a fruitful tree of might, unwavering in the wind and storm.

  7. Church should be a group of people sharing God’s love to those who do not know or have not experienced that amazing love.

  8. Time for another revival.
    Every revival in history has been started with prayer. Sacrificial fasting prayer…hours of it on hard floors, on cold mornings, through long nights … are we ready to sacrifice our comfort and really get in tune with God. Let Him shake us and change us, scrape away the muck, the false promises, the pretty smiles. Are we ready to feel pain and discomfort to hear His heart. That’s what a revival is about. It’s about dying to self and sacrificing comfort to hear God’s word. Look at the disciples lives .. they weren’t exactly comfortable or safe. So do you want to pay the price? Shipwrecks, stoning, torture, floggings, losing your family, Is it any wonder that the “church” is booming in countries where Christians are under persecution?

  9. some research indicates that the strongest predictor of a congregation’s growth relates to a commitment by its leadership to engage in significant ways with the wider community.

    We need an outwards focused church. don’t we?

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