I Believe In God, I Just Don’t Do Church. Ever thought this yourself or do you know someone who says this? This is a fairly common feeling today. Much of the population feels this way unfortunately. To find the reason why, one needs to look at the church to figure out where the problem is. Church folks say they love people, “don’t they”? The population says all they want is to be loved and accepted. Right? So, Where is the disconnect? Yes, people have been influenced by what is currently popular and yes they get mixed messages about church and spirituality these days. They do not know what to believe and who to trust. It can be so confusing, even for this incredibly intelligent generation. My heart aches for them. They are wondering souls looking for a place to call home. A place of comfort and answers. A fortress to run to for safety. A place to be loved and reassured. They are eager to learn. So what is the problem? They are seekers with just the right wishes and needs for the church to reach with a positive and encouraging message. Yet the church in America is getting smaller and smaller. There are more requirements be become Minister than ever. More education. So shouldn’t they be more capable?
Maybe the problem is not as much this wondering generation as it is the church. Ouch! I have probably just made every church out there mad at me now. Allow me to explain. How is the sin nature of man of men, women and children any different than it was back in the days of Jesus? Short answer: It’s not any different. The temptations of days of old are the same temptations of now. The desire to find pleasure and security are still there. The seven deadly sins are still around. We still have the same wild desires and needs to be met. This generation still engages in much of the same behaviors they were enjoyed back them. Let’s face it. It is hard to give up some of our pet activities. They feel good. They satisfy. They please. They meet needs. And many of these things are widely accepted by today’s standards. Feels good: Do It. Considered Cool: Why not? These are valid questions. The church of today has not provided an answer that captivates their audience. So what was so captivating about the message that Jesus put forth. Why did the message give His audience the warm fuzzys and make them feel so compelled to fall in love with this man and His message? The message was not one that accepted the pet sins but was kind and patient. The message did not reek of judgement and intolerance but one of, I love you. Let me love you through the confusion and show you real peace and joy. This is a fact: People do not care how much the person trying to persuade them knows until they know how much they cared. Jesus cared.
Is this to say that the church doesn’t care? Absolutely not. The church just does not seem to be able to convince the people they want to reach the way Jesus did. Jesus realized that spirituality was sometimes an imperfect journey. Not because He was imperfect but because man is imperfect. Especially those who struggle with all kinds of addictions or lusts. Life is messy so spirituality is messy. One of my favorite books ever has been around awhile. “Messy Spirituality” This book changed my life and approach to ministry. A very short read, Inexpensive and speaks volumes about how people see the journey and the church. How they see the minister reaching out to them. The primary quality of the minister or church that will reach me and the people I minister to is the one that love me enough to try to reach me. Then they love me enough to teach me and nurture me with patience. They love me enough to let me fall on my face and help me get back up and dry the tears when I hurt. They walk with me on the journey and praise my accomplishments and encourage me when I fail. Judgement and distance from me has never won my heart. The church that actively lives the message of love is the one that captivates.
Allow me to convey one more thing that I hope will give you hope. Don’t give up on God. He doesn’t give up on you. Don’t give up on yourself. You are a precious To Him. Do not give up on love. He loves you!
God of Love: My Higher Power