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 Unfriendly Churches

I would like to relate to you folks a real experience some good friends of ours had at a local church. This couple moved here a couple years ago, and are still looking for a home church. We have encouraged them to join in our journey of house churching, but they are not ready to make that leap yet. (But they may be now, after this recent experience!)

They started attending a local evangelical church just before Thanksgiving (early November). The church runs around 150 people, mostly older folks, mostly retired. Our friends are in their early 40's. Everyone was real nice to them and they felt welcomed so they decided to attend on a regular basis.

The pastor there is fairly new, and he and his wife are in their 40's as well. The pastor claimed to have a vision of reaching the community and bringing in younger families. Our friends are very outgoing, and the wife is very talented and gifted. They were excited about this vision of the pastor's.

Time went on, and the pastor made promises to get together with them at their home to get to know them and discuss how they could better reach out to the community as a church. Time went on... promises never came to fruition. Our friends tried several different ways to get to know people in the church... yet the folks in the church seemed content to talk to them for 2 minutes after the service... but that was it. Several folks did promise to invite them over for a meal, but after several months nothing happened. No one ever called them, no one invited them over.

There was one lady in the church who befriended our friends. She and our friends discussed a new sub-division that was going up next to church, and how the church should take cookies and tracts to the families moving in. It was brought up to the church board. The church board said they would put it on their agenda to discuss it. Several months go by... nothing ever happens.

I advised our friends to not wait for the board to move on it... do it yourselves. Why does the board need to vote on reaching out to the community? How stupid is that? Just do it... as Nike would say!

Our friends were getting more and more frustrated with the inaction of the church and the broken promises of the people promising to get together with them. Even after 6 months the pastor and his wife had never stepped foot inside the house of our friends. Never sat down to just talk.

So the wife called the pastors wife the other day about something, and the pastor's wife suggested she call so-n-so from the church. Our friend said "I dont even know who that is! I dont cant put a face with a name with ANYONE in this church!" The pastor's wife said "That's your fault. You've been here for 6 months... if you dont know anyone, then thats your fault."

Then the wife explained to the pastor's wife that she and her husband are praying about starting a friday night fellowship where people just come and eat and talk and sing. They want to invite people from the new sub-division. The pastor's wife said "First off, we might be interested in coming but I dont want to have anything to do with planning it. Also, if you invite every family from that sub-division you will may well be overwhelmed with people! And I dont think the board will be happy if you dont get their approval first."

You have got to be kidding me! That was my response when they told me this. I say "LORD... OVERWHLEM ME!!" And since when do we need board approval to share the gospel??

I have advised this couple to move on and find another church... while explaining that this is exactly why we're involved in churches that meet in homes.

Unfortunately I think this is norm for churches today. We consider fellowship to be sitting and watching a show on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening... looking at the back of someone's head. That IS NOT fellowship. I'm all for teaching, but church should be about a body of believers traveling this journey together. Sharing all that we have and loving one another. Most churches in America are missing that. But if the people in those churches were honest, they would admit that they are STARVING for it!

When will the church wake up?

Krispy

 2006/5/17 7:55
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7460
Mississippi

 Re: Unfriendly Churches

For some reson when I read something like this all the warm fuzzies grow cold and get real disgusting! Challenges my Christian love for some people....

I would think this couple has been shown where they should NOT go to church for fellowship.

ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2006/5/17 10:33Profile
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2733
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: Unfriendly Churches

This is certainly a difficult situation and unfortunately one that many find themselves in today. This is part of why we see so many "out of church" these days.

I have struggled with this issue myself and have prayed much about it. I wonder if much of the discontent with "Churchianity" as some call it, isn't just a cloak for our own selfish desires to have "our" needs met in church. Yes, there is much that is wrong that we can point to in many churches, but why do we attend in the first place? Is it to serve or be served? Is it so we can have our needs met or is it to worship God in lives surrendered to His will; do we wash feet as our dear Lord Jesus did just before He was to suffer immeasurably for us?

It sounds like this church could use some fervent intercession, and I mean intercession not just in prayer but in deed as well. Who will do this? Should we just run from churches like this or should we seek God fervently for His will in whether we should serve as lights in such dark places.

I've often wondered whether I would even hear if, for example, God called me to serve in a Catholic church (gasp!). God would have to remove a lot of darkness from my own judgmental heart before I could ever serve Him and others in true humility in a Catholic church.Would God do that? Why not? He loves Catholics just as much as anyone else, they certainly need some light.

Maybe this sounds like pie in the sky to some. Could God really use one simple person or a couple surrendered to His will to bring light to a whole church? I for one believe He can.

Much prayer required.

In Christ,

Ron


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2006/5/17 11:25Profile
brentw
Member



Joined: 2005/12/14
Posts: 440
Ohio

 Re:

Our church started a dinners for 8. Its 4 couples getting together once a month to have fellowship and get to know each other. Then we change and get in new groups after a few months. We know so many more people now.

But I agree this is the normal church in America...get your fix and GO!


_________________
Brent

 2006/5/17 11:38Profile
Scroggins
Member



Joined: 2006/4/13
Posts: 129
Dallas, TX

 Re:

Let hear it for the monstrosity that is main stream "Christianity!"

This kind of thing is (sadly enough) quite normal when you attend the majority of Churches today. So caught up with ourselves, what with the prosperity Gospel.

Silly people! Prosperity is for heathens!


_________________
Scroggins

 2006/5/17 11:52Profile
boomatt
Member



Joined: 2006/3/20
Posts: 235
fredericksburg, Virginia

 Re:

My fiance and I are in sort of a similar situation, only everyone at the church is real nice, the pastor is right on biblical teaching, and there are even a lot of nice people.

But everyone just says hi at church and never speaks to each other again till the next week. We have tried to go to some of the fellowship dinners at the church, but maybe 2 at the most 3 couples that actually come up to people. I have several times tried to talk to people, and they just dont seem interested, or even some cases ignore us. We have even gotten some rude comments about my fiance from the older people, scorning us because my fiance has a child. I wont mention that she has done more to bring the love of christ to that child than I have seen older people do with their kids.

I dont know what to do. I am in the process of lifting them up in prayer. We have just left the Church of God in our area because of their word of faith teaching. They were actually ten times more nice than they are at the church I am at now, and when we feel like we have a strong bible based church, the congregation is basically dead.

Maybe you guys can give me suggestions on what we can do.

My pastor tries his hardest to get people together and do outreaches and fellowship, but it seems to always fall of deaf ears.

I would also appreciate your prayers for our wedding


_________________
Matt Kroelinger

 2006/5/17 12:08Profile
beenblake
Member



Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re: Unfriendly Churches

I am not saying your complaints are invalid, for who am I to say, but if we were to start and complain about all the problems in the Churches far and wide, I am sure we could write a book longer than the bible. What about Churches who put fellowship above evangelism? Are Churches concerned enough with international missions? What about Churches whose pastor is a false prophet? What about Churches who are too big to care for their flock? What about Churches who are too small to be effective? Need I ask more?

I know that I could write lists of my own personal complaints about my own Church. Along side that list, I could write of complaints about myself too. I am certainly not perfect.

I believe the important thing is to go where the Lord is leading. These people should attend the Church where God places them. It very well could be that the Lord put them in that Church in order to stir a change in the Church, or in them. Who are we to say? They need to consult the Lord in prayer.

The Church I attend is not a perfect Church and it certainly is not my first pick. I am there, because that is where the Lord wants me to be. I do what the Lord tells me. He has a purpose for me there even though I don't know what it is. And even though, I may not see the success I wish to see, the Lord has a plan that is greater than I.

On another note: the whole meeting with the board thing does sort of bother me too. However, a Church needs to be like an orchestra. If one of the instruments decides to start playing a different tune, then the whole melody will be off. Or imagine if in an army unit, all the soldiers decided to go off and attack whomever they wanted without consulting the team?

The goal should be to unite the whole body to a common purpose. I would not tell someone to go off and do their own thing without consulting the rest of the group. That is unrespectful and selfish. We should love each other enough in a body to consult everyone involved, so that we can be united. That is the whole purpose of the board. It is to serve the needs of the body in these decisions concerning them. If we are a body, then we should operate as one. How could a hand ever pick up anything, if each finger decided to do it's own thing?

Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Quote:
Most churches in America are missing that. But if the people in those churches were honest, they would admit that they are STARVING for it!

When will the church wake up?



This is not just a Church problem, but a social one. All people are becoming more isolated from each other due to technological advances that remove our direct need for each other.

The Church will awaken when it truly realizes its need for one another and seeks out each other for help. Such will occur when the Church is placed under heavy persecution and hated by the world. Until then, we are becoming more and more autonomous.

I wonder if our focus on our own faults is the problem. We don't trust one another enough to draw close and trust one another. If we truly trusted each other in the Church, would not we truly give everything for one another? Would we not be more communal? Instead, we constantly point out the problems with other people. We are fearful of one another's faults, it seems. We don't want to draw close for fear of hurt. Not to mention, everyone seems too busy. We are too busy with TV, computers, games, music....personal entertainment. We entertain ourselves more than others. Not sure???? Just some thoughts.

In love,

Blake


_________________
Blake Kidney

 2006/5/17 12:18Profile









 Re:

Quote:
I wonder if much of the discontent with "Churchianity" as some call it, isn't just a cloak for our own selfish desires to have "our" needs met in church. Yes, there is much that is wrong that we can point to in many churches, but why do we attend in the first place? Is it to serve or be served? Is it so we can have our needs met or is it to worship God in lives surrendered to His will; do we wash feet as our dear Lord Jesus did just before He was to suffer immeasurably for us?



IntheLight... I appreciate your input, and in come cases I would agree with you. However, if you re-read what I wrote you will notice that our friends main frustration is that they WANT to serve and reach out to the surrounding community... but this church is too slow to move on it. Sure, they are also frustrated because they are not receiving any fellowship, but is that bad? We NEED fellowship. I hear this all the time when people bring that up... are we there to have our needs met? Well... yes, to some extent we are. There is nothing wrong with that. Every sermon I have ever heard preached about "forsake not the gathering together" is preached from the perspective that we NEED fellowship with other believers in order to grow.

([i]I removed something I had written here in response to something else Inthelight had written because it was not really related to the topic and had the potential to spin this thread off into another direction.[/i])

Krispy

 2006/5/17 12:19









 Re:

Quote:
What about Churches who put fellowship above evangelism? Are Churches concerned enough with international missions? What about Churches whose pastor is a false prophet? What about Churches who are too big to care for their flock? What about Churches who are too small to be effective? Need I ask more?



Beenblake... there needs to be balance, you are right about that.

Quote:
I would not tell someone to go off and do their own thing without consulting the rest of the group. That is unrespectful and selfish. We should love each other enough in a body to consult everyone involved, so that we can be united. That is the whole purpose of the board. It is to serve the needs of the body in these decisions concerning them. If we are a body, then we should operate as one. How could a hand ever pick up anything, if each finger decided to do it's own thing?



If you read what i wrote you would realize that they DID approach the board about reaching out to new families moving into this new sub-division... and the board did NOTHING. It was after this I encouraged them to ignore the board's inactivity and be obedient to the Word of God and "go into all the world". How is that selfish?? How is that disrespectful? In my opinion, a church board that refuses to take the gospel to the lost is unworthy of respect.

Quote:
I wonder if our focus on our own faults is the problem. We don't trust one another enough to draw close and trust one another. If we truly trusted each other in the Church, would not we truly give everything for one another? Would we not be more communal? Instead, we constantly point out the problems with other people. We are fearful of one another's faults, it seems. We don't want to draw close for fear of hurt. Not to mention, everyone seems too busy. We are too busy with TV, computers, games, music....personal entertainment. We entertain ourselves more than others. Not sure???? Just some thoughts.



Agreed, I think you have a good point here.

Krispy

 2006/5/17 13:07
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2733
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Quote:
True, God loves Catholic people. He loves Muslims too. Too bad neither religion teaches salvation. God would not call you to serve in a Catholic Church because He has already called you to this:

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.



Krispy, I can appreciate your thoughts here and I have considered these verses as well. You may be right about a calling to the Catholic church however, one thing I have struggled with is this, how do we reconcile your application of these verses in this matter with what the Lord Jesus said to the churches in Revelation? For example, here is what the Lord Jesus said to the folks at Thyatira...
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. [i]But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come[/i]. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
(Rev 2:18-29)

The Lord Jesus chides His people at Thyatira for their awful false doctrine but He told those in the church who did not hold those doctrines to "hold fast till I come". He doesn't tell them to run away, He doesn't tell them to wait and see if the others repent, He just tells them to hold on and overcome. I find that very interesting, don't you?

In Christ,

Ron


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2006/5/17 13:10Profile





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