Why We Aren’t Looking for a New Church

Posted: January 15, 2015 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Every once in a while I am asked, “Have you found a new church yet?”

To which I always respond, “No, we’re not looking.”

“But you need to be in a church!”
“But you need a church for fellowship!”
“But you need a church to grow and to be held accountable!”
“But you need a church . . . . !”

Now I know there are all kinds of reasons why people think we “should” find a church. And sometimes I’m sure those who ask think that we aren’t looking because we were “so hurt” in the past. But that’s really not it at all.

I usually don’t try to explain because I’m fairly certain the person asking will take offense. “Their” church isn’t like that, after all.

Hmmmm . . . Really?

As a musician, I have been invited into more than 100 churches over the years and there are many more than that within a 50 mile radius of our home. I have not heard of one church that doesn’t have this one “little” issue that keeps us from attending there.

Are you ready? Here goes:

We don’t want to attend a church where there is a “food chain.”

That’s it.

What does that mean? Well . . .

We don’t want to attend a church where people are not quite as acceptable if they weren’t born and raised there or married in.

We don’t want to attend a church where people’s status is determined by their “ability to pay.”

We don’t want to attend a church where politics trump ministry.

We don’t want to attend a church where the pastor is “king” and he surrounds himself with “yes people” – and anyone else with a comment, concern, or suggestion is seen as a “problem” or “trouble maker” or “critical.”

We don’t want to attend a church where only the people at the “top” (whether that’s administrative, political, or social) matter.

We don’t want to attend a church where only the people at the “top” are privy to the financial details of the church.

We don’t want to attend a church that quickly puts new people to work but never invites them into their personal lives.

We don’t want to attend a church that is more concerned with what’s wrong with people than loving them.

I’m sure there are more reasons why we aren’t looking for a church, but I think you get the idea. Every one of those listed above are based on a “food chain” mentality – that some people are “better” than others based on political, social, and financial position. Some people are worth more than others. Some people are more acceptable.

And some people are, as my former pastor told me, “disposable.”

I know not every church is perfect, but any church we attend that has a “food chain” mentality will never fully accept us. So, if you know of one out here in rural south-central/south-east Iowa, let me know.

  1. Reblogged this on quixoticfaith and commented:
    I couldn’t have said it better!

  2. Thank you for this. I can completely relate. I reposted this in my blog.😊

  3. clockworkjosh says:

    I blame the entire structure of the modern church. Any type of hierarchy is simple not biblical in my opinion. Everyone is a servant therefore there cannot be in a food chain. Unfortunately there will always be those seeking power or authority who will always look away when shown the verse “… the head of every man is Christ”

  4. Tricia says:

    If you lived in Southern California I’d reccomend the Rock Church. Big mega church style with contemporary music and and very non traditional (but Strongly Biblically based) pastor. Everyone is welcome and you’re not pressured to donate. There are ex drug users and gang members on staff and he himself is a former addict and I think this bleeds in to the “come as you are” attitude of the church. You can check out his video messages and live streaming services at sdrock.com if you’re interested.

    • Ellen says:

      Sounds exactly like my last church – without the addict-turned-pastor. They boast several thousand Sunday attenders, a multi-million dollar facility and budget, have technology that puts the local colleges and universities and schools to shame, very contemporary worship, and are known for welcoming everyone. But welcoming into the building and accepting into the “inner-circle/beautiful people” crowd are two different things. I have yet to hear of a mega church that does not value staff over laity, where the board/elder positions are not political “offices,” and where there is full disclosure of finances. Although my old church did occasionally have “trophies” on display – people who gotten cleaned up were trotted onto the platform to show just how amazing the grace is. One particular fellow comes to mind. Sold out to Jesus and an incredible impact on others who struggled with addictions. But never “good enough” to serve in the church. He didn’t have the pedigree.

      • Tricia says:

        Wow, sounds like you’ve had some interesting and not so pleasant church experiences. It’s always doubly sad to me to hear about church leadership abusing their power and well, acting like men (and women) who don’t know Christ. The most vulnerable of people walk through their doors and are prone to serious damage or brainwashing if those in charge are corrupt. I can’t speak at all to the inner workings of my Church as I’m not involved enough to comment. I do know the Pastor is as real as it gets and his messages humble and Godly so I would have to think that bleeds out to the rest of the leadership. Who knows though eh? Good luck in your search, I pray you find what you need.

      • Ellen says:

        Many people are “not involved enough to comment” – especially in large churches that are mostly staff-driven. In my experience, most people – especially those who attend mega churches, but it really happens everywhere – are just that – attenders. Hearing from many people who have suffered spiritual abuse, they are those who are more than pew-warmers. Contrary to your comment about their being “vulnerable” and “prone to serious damage or brainwashing” (watch for my next post), they are people who were actually trying live what they believe. I would challenge you to become more involved in the church you attend. Get to know the inner-workings. Ask to see a financial statement that lists every expenditure down to the nuts and bolts. I’d be very interested to hear what you find.

      • Tricia says:

        Ha, yes it would be a good for me to look more closely in to the financials of my church, you would have thought I had done that by now! 😉 The congestion is encouraged to this and we do get yearly breakdowns which I should more attention to. Please note too that when I mention vulnerable people nd brainwashing, I wasn’t painting everyone who walks inside a church that way, especially those who are “more than pew warmers.” Many, if not most (at least of the ones I know) are mentally stable and well adjusted and do much good work through their church. There are some however that for whatever reasons are pretty messed up and who turn to the church for help. It’s to them that the corrupt ones prey upon and do the most damage. Looking forward to your next post.

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