Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are Really Leaving the Church

A hard, honest look at why people are really leaving the church.

leaving the church

Want to know why people are really leaving the church? Being on the other side of the Exodus stinks, don’t it?

I see the panic on your face, Church.

I know the internal terror as you see the statistics and hear the stories and scan the exit polls.

I see you desperately scrambling to do damage control for the fence-sitters, and manufacture passion from the shrinking faithful, and I want to help you.

You may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.

You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away.

You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things.

You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed up the morality of the world that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons people are leaving the church.

They aren’t the problem, Church.

You are the problem.

Let me elaborate in five ways …

1. Your Sunday productions have worn thin.

The stage, and the lights, and the bands, and the video screens, have all just become white noise to those really seeking to encounter God. They’re ear and eye candy for an hour, but they have so little relevance in people’s daily lives that more and more of them are taking a pass.

Yeah, the songs are cool and the show is great, but ultimately Sunday morning isn’t really making a difference on Tuesday afternoon or Thursday evening, when people are wrestling with the awkward, messy, painful stuff in the trenches of life; the places where rock shows don’t help.

We can be entertained anywhere. Until you can give us something more than a Christian-themed performance piece—something that allows us space and breath and conversation and relationship—many of us are going to sleep in and stay away.

2. You speak in a foreign tongue.

Church, you talk and talk and talk, but you do so using a dead language. You’re holding onto dusty words that have no resonance in people’s ears, not realizing that just saying those words louder isn’t the answer. All the religious buzzwords that used to work 20 years ago no longer do.

This spiritualized insider-language may give you some comfort in an outside world that is changing, but that stuff’s just lazy religious shorthand, and it keeps regular people at a distance. They need you to speak in a language that they can understand. There’s a message there worth sharing, but it’s hard to hear above your verbal pyrotechnics.

People don’t need to be dazzled with big, churchy words and about eschatological frameworks and theological systems. Talk to them plainly about love, and joy, and forgiveness, and death, and peace, and God, and they’ll be all ears. Keep up the church-speak, and you’ll be talking to an empty room soon.

3. Your vision can’t see past your building.

The coffee bar, the cushy couches, the high-tech lights, the funky Children’s wing and the uber-cool Teen Center are all top-notch … and costly. In fact, most of your time, money and energy seems to be about luring people to where you are instead of reaching people where they already are.

Rather than simply stepping out into the neighborhoods around you and partnering with the amazing things already happening, and the beautiful stuff God is already doing, you seem content to franchise out your particular brand of Jesus-stuff, and wait for the sinful world to beat down your door.

Your greatest mission field is just a few miles, (or a few feet) off your campus and you don’t even realize it. You wanna reach the people you’re missing?

Leave the building.

4. You choose lousy battles.

We know you like to fight, Church. That’s obvious.

When you want to, you can go to war with the best of them. The problem is, your battles are too darn small. Fast food protests, hobby store outrage and duck-calling Reality TV show campaigns may manufacture some urgency and Twitter activity on the inside for the already-convinced, but they’re paper tigers to people out here with bloody boots on the ground.

Every day we see a world suffocated by poverty, and racism, and violence, and bigotry, and hunger; and in the face of that stuff, you get awfully, frighteningly quiet. We wish you were as courageous in those fights, because then we’d feel like coming alongside you; then we’d feel like going to war with you.

Church, we need you to stop being warmongers with the trivial and pacifists in the face of the terrible.

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John Pavlovitz is a pastor/blogger from Wake Forest, North Carolina. An 18-year veteran of local church ministry, he currently writes a blog called Stuff That Needs To Be Said, and in January is launching an online Christian community called The Table.

1,845 Comments

  1. Thank you John for a voice too little heard 🙂

  2. My word John, you have made my day! I love your comment about the other side of Exodus! I actually don’t and haven’t attended or joined a church for I don’t know how long, but I am a dedicated child of God. Love your stuff, please don’t stop, God bless

  3. It is so good to know I am not alone in these thoughts. I left the church- I couldn’t stand it anymore. It broke my heart to see the senseless of its obsessions – advertising, light shows, sound systems. It was so cold. I would love to find a body of believers to fellowship with, but … I’m not terribly optimistic.

  4. The Catholic Church’s “Come Home” campaign will have no lasting effect, even if it has a temporary one, unless those in control pay heed to what we read above. And the sad truth is that, in most cases, they will simply write off all positive suggestions as being “anti-Church” and just go on with the same old same old. People may come back. But it will only be a matter of time before many, if not most, of them will walk out again, mumbling something to the effect of “Now I remember why I left”.

  5. Thank you for your article. As you mentioned, the insiders will turn the deaf ear and go on about their “good christian” business. Many years ago, Johnny Paycheck recorded “The Outlaw’s Prayer” and I have had the opportunity to share it with some of those aforementioned folks. Some, have cried, some laughed and others just looked off in the distance. It is so sad that we have taken Christ out of Christianity. I am amazed at how we look, look and look for the “right” church home … and yet … Jesus waits for us “EVERYWHERE”.

  6. I left the Catholic church before my confirmation, because of how little women matter in their worldview. I have ovaries, and therefore I am not worthy of a position of leadership? I’m out. I come from a big Irish Catholic family–my mother has 7 brothers and sisters–and of the 19 children and 7 couples, only one couple is still Catholic. Everyone else has split for another church or for private beliefs. The church is just becoming irrelevant.

  7. Man, each of these points resonates deeply with me. I’ve been to too many churches who were more interested in appearances than the words of Christ. We attended one for several years whose pastor turned out to be a demagogue. He demanded that we spend money on expensive banner signs for VBS and the food bank instead of making them by hand because he didn’t want to be seen as a low-budget church. He demanded absolute say in every aspect of the missions project and pushed the church to support his personal friends in the field, then rarely made it to meetings and wouldn’t answer questions we needed answered. He openly insulted Catholics in a community with tens of thousands of people from Catholic backgrounds, many right in his own congregation. Then he flat-out lied to the church board about something that had happened in the missions department. The associate pastor (who runs the place now) knew that he had lied but remained silent about it because he believed it was a bigger sin to contradict the guy in charge than to let him lie to the congregation. The worship leader would stop the service and tell people they weren’t worshipping properly, forcing Pentecostal behaviors on them when all they wanted to do was commune with God in their own personal way. I’m still ashamed that I kept my family in that quack-ass building for five years.

    The next church we tried had megachurch ambitions and few principles. Aside from running an expensive private school on campus, that church did literally nothing for the community AT ALL. No food bank, no clothing drive, no toy drive for the holidays, just glitz and show. Then we tried others: one where the pastor railed on and on about how he shouldn’t have to pay taxes to an oppressive government (“give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, anyone?); another whose pastor basically said that anyone who is poor deserves to be poor because they’re all lazy; and several others whose facilities got a regular coat of paint and fancy signs, but never any upgrades so they were accessible to my wheelchair-using son. (One reason we left an earlier church was that our son couldn’t use a bathroom anywhere on campus, and they strung us along for years about upgrading the facilities. They got a big new kitchen and a big office remodel, yet my son had to empty his catheter into a water bottle in the children’s church office. Once I had to help a disabled newcomer in and out of a bathroom stall; I was blessed to assist him but unhappy that he had to endure that embarrassment in the first place.) On and on and on it went: too little Christ, too much agenda that avoided or directly contradicted what Christ Himself taught.

    It was about four years ago that we dropped the church altogether. I decided if I was going to be a Christian, I had to be a red-letter Christian because without following the specific teachings of Christ, that title is worthless. Operating entirely on the words of Christ alone has been a great spiritual relief and has improved our family’s relationship with each other and those around us. There’s little room in Christ’s own words for manipulation and judgment, which is probably why so many churches cling to Leviticus and Numbers when they deal with the world outside their walls. My faith in Christ has never changed, but I actively hate the state of the Church in general and will never return. I’m more than happy to gather together with true believers outside of a flashy building.

  8. This was a great article. Now I wish a woman would write something similar and explain what it feels like from a woman’s point of view. The expectations that the Church places on women are overwhelming but when we come to the Church for help, we don’t get much. The Church continues to live in the past and pretends that women are not holding down full time jobs outside the home.

  9. You need to come to a kingdom hall where everyone gets to open their Bibles and discuss the day’s lesson. Better yet, when Jehovah’s people reach out to you at your own home, how about you ask for a personal Bible study… there is a Biblical reason you are not feeling loved and refreshed by your church.

  10. Agree with the author. Good stuff. For those who commented below, I would love to know how involved you were in the churches you didn’t like. Did you serve? Did you try to head up the efforts to do the things you said the church wasn’t doing? I understand that new believers aren’t in a position to head up anything but as somebody who works at a “megachurch” the people who are critical tend to be the ones who aren’t involved. Once people get involved they figure out that making the church better is a team effort. The church staff alone can’t solve all of the problems.

  11. I agree with everything you’ve said, EXCEPT we’ve planted a church that was designed to address all of those things, and young people are “one and done” every time. Too many dirty, homeless people, I guess. I don’t know for sure because no one ever gives us feedback when they don’t come back.

    We are conversational and interactive, deeply missional, and unafraid of questions. We speak in simple, modern language, we love like it matters, and when we say, “come as you are,” we mean it. So if this is what you’re looking for, where are you?

    I’m trying not to be cynical, but it seems to me that everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. “We want those things, as long as you also have a large, vibrant children’s program, and we want you to welcome outsiders, as long as they are the same kind of outsider as me.” At least that’s how it feels.

    In the 14 months since we planted this church, many beautiful things have happened, and people who feel like you feel are the only ones who stick, but my heart aches every Sunday as Willow and Harvest on either side of me continue to draw thousands and we keep plugging along wondering how we’re going to make it through the year. Not bitter, just sad.

    Addressing all these issues you mention is the deepest desire of my heart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but where are you?

  12. I hope you’ll try one or more of the congregations in the United Church of Christ. In my congregation, we take seriously the denomination’s “motto”…”No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” Except we add “absolutely welcome!” Ours is a church with young and old, gay and straight, white, Hispanic and black members…we are active in the local Habitat group, serve at the homeless center, take kids to see their incarcerated parents once a year with Get on the Bus, and participate in a local community activist group “Faith in Action.” We sent work teams to New Orleans for five years following Katrina. We have members who have grown up here, ones who have come from conservative churches where they no longer felt welcome, conservatives, liberals and even those whose beliefs include those from other faith traditions as well (Buddhist, Hindu). We are all over the map politically…it’s a lively group! That said, I really resonated with the comments from Ed Taylor (below)…we too are a relatively small church, an “outcast” in a largely conservative area where there are several mega-churches. I often remind myself that Jesus began the transformation of the world with just a small group too…

  13. Wonderful, clear article. Thank you, thank you for writing it. Less hierarchy, more loving churches exist. Took me a while to find one. But they are messy and hard in a different way. I think, in part, because we are a culture of watchers. We lack many skills in participating. They are also very challenging to keep open. We are used to the “show” to draw our money. Virginia, a women does write about this, Kathy Escobar. Wonderful woman and a friend. You might like her writings. Keep it up John. This is a gift.

  14. Moderation would be a good word of the day in many churches. Over the top volume and visual effects, extremes in politics, refusal to accept those with differing opinions (or insistence those opinions should change), sermons and Sunday school lessons that aren’t well researched and barely refer to God, much less include bible passages, people who say we need to come together on Sundays but then arrive late and rush out the door right after service, these are the things that have frustrated me most. Thanks for an article that let’s me know I’m not alone.

  15. One of the biggest things is the Republication of the Church. Money is now King. Republicans and Church leaders are now joined at the hip. The Church now supports any war any where. Republicans start wars to they can profit off of them. But Jesus was a peace maker. But the current Church does a poor job of showing that side of Jesus Christ. People are out of work, sick and dying, and in dreadful need and all they get from the Church is the Republican mantra of “every man needs to pull up his own boots”. It is shameful. More and more Church members and even Pastors are now members of the local Mason Grand Lodge cause it opens doors to inside prosperity. Forget trusting in God. Trusting in being a Mason is the real way to get ahead in life they seem to think. But money will only get you so far in this life. Money will get you no where in the next life. No matter how much you put in the offering plate, you will still have to stand in line and give a account of your life.The Church has taken its eye off the real prize. That is truly leading people to a real personal life change in Christ. Building bigger building is not the reason for the Church. Jesus and his death on the cross for Our sins and his resurrection out of the grave and soon return from heaven is the real reason for the season. That is what the Church needs to be preaching. “What will wash away my sins, nothing BUT the blood of Jesus. What will make me whole again, nothing BUT the blood of Jesus.” Church that is still YOUR message. Anything else is just tickling your ears.

  16. Hang in there! God is at work…just not in the way we always expect.

  17. This letter is heartbreaking on many levels. First and foremost because of your hurt, and your frustration; as you are clearly passionate about Jesus and pursuing what a life marked by that love can and should look like. This letter is also frustrating because the way you have chosen to vent those frustrations. It’s not that some if not all of your complaints are unfounded, but rather that you seem to glibly malign The Bride of Christ, while also distancing yourself from her.

    Who are you if you are a pastor, but do not identify with the church?

    This is not to say that the church in the general sense is not in need of sanctification, she is, as am I, because the church is made up of people on journey with Jesus and people like you and like me. The church will not magically get better if all who are passionately following Jesus with their heart, soul, and mind separate themselves from her. There is a better way. The only way the church will get better is by loving sanctification (which sometimes feels very painful) by Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we are the hands and feet of Jesus, so it will come at times not only in ‘outpourings’, but in patient, and long-suffering service. This correction will come in hard talks, anchored by hope, faith, and love. There’s been times that I wished I could leave the church, because of how messy she is, but I cannot in good conscience say that God’s Holy Spirit would be the one leading me away from her.

    I have and likely still do share many of the concerns that you have written about, but I am only in control of my heart and my actions and what I can do to be obedient to what Christ has led me. In short, if I see these frustrations what can I do about that while still being obedient to Christ and living with integrity to myself and God’s word?

    It breaks my heart when I see gifted brothers and sisters feeling that their only option is to leave. I believe there is another way.

    Thank you for sharing your words and your thoughts and I hope my response is received in a spirit of love, and brotherhood, even if it is a touch brokenhearted.

  18. Whenever I encounter difficulties described in this article, I try to remember that Christians aren’t perfect, but Jesus is. I only disagree with one statement… Don’t demand that the church tolerate you…demand that church love you. That is what we are called to do.

  19. If you are doing what God has called you to do and are following that calling as illuminated in scripture do not be dismayed. Also do not fall into the trap of ‘measuring’ your success in the way the world does. Your field is the hearts, souls and spirits of those you have been entrusted. The fruit of your labor is their spiritual worship, by living out their lives as a living sacrifice to God.

    God’s blessings of peace, joy, grace, and courage to you Ed.

  20. Very simple really all the glass churches on TV continually asking for money to build these. Glass and steel pyramids are pushing people away from the local churches…all the fake healing on TV are pushing people away… All the interference in life’s decisions , abortions, gay marriage, assisted death for terminal sufferers is pushing people away…GOD DID NOT MANDATE THE CHURCH TO RUN OUR LIVES! GOD MANDATED THE CHURCH TO TRY AND HELP US TO UNDERSTAND LIFE’S DECISIONS AND KINDNESS…THAT’S ALL!!

    BONES

  21. I was the minister of music of my childhood church for YEARS (15- 28 years old). I rarely missed a service and for the most part, the church was all I had ever known. New years eve/day? I was at church serving for watch night. During college I would drive 45 minutes (one way) every weekend to get to church to lead Praise and Worship. When I began to get burnt out, my pastor made me feel like it was “my fault” because he had given me all of the Godly tools needed to be successful in ministry. So anything I wasn’t doing was because of my lack of discipline or inability to “listen to God’s voice”. Needless to say, many people have left that church now & while it was a hard decision, many of the items listed in this article I TOTALLY agree with. It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve played the piano or even sang for a church due to the immense stress, under appreciation and manipulation I endured. I love the Lord, but it took me a long time to let go and forgive all the things I went through while serving in a church. I know both sides, and now that I have moved to Florida and found a new church home I am beginning to let down those guards that were built for many years…but if you asked my former pastor I’m sure he’d still tell you it was “in the name of the Lord”.

  22. So what you are saying is, “I am in sin, I want to be in sin, don’t correct me for my sin, let me continue in my sin, and just love me for my sin.” Um, yeah, about that, this sounds nice and all, but it isn’t the Bible’s way, and thus, not the Lord’s way. The same Jesus who told us to love one another, also, in love, called Peter “Satan”. The same Peter who was rebuked of Christ, dressed down Simon the former sorcerer for his immaturity, for trying to purchase something that wasn’t his to have in the first place. Sin is sin, and udgment begins in the house of God. A heart looking to stay in sin will have the feelings you speak of here-its called rebellion. Yes, we love one another, yes, we treat one another kindly, but yes, we also must needs deal with sin, lest that little leaven leaven the whole lump.

  23. Very insightful. I would just add this- I visited that duck/ reality tv congregation and saw all kinds of folks welcomed. There are places for the “convinced”, and teaching of plain gospel for the searchers. That church has a very long history of ministering to those in need, whether physically or spiritually. It does not have over the top entertainment, nor use flowery pseudo religious speak. If a reality show brought one curious soul to seek Jesus, it was worth it. There are not ONLY groups out there such as you describe in your article, but I will say these other groups ARE harder to find.
    As well, the hobby store family owners defending their strong beliefs is a battle too “darn small “? How many people need be in a battle for you to consider it “darn big enough”? I do not think the battle of saving babies’ lives is trivial warmongering, but I think that using the term “warmonger” might be considered a “churchy” word to some! I am curious to know if you have left a fellowship for your online ministry, since you speak to the church as though you are not part of it. I am curious about your bloody boots leading you to just online ministry

  24. I feel you, brother. I am in a small town, and our little church keeps plugging along, while seeing the rock and roll church draw people in through entertainment, and another church brings them in according to race. Neither is evangelistic, while we are, yet we lost our building due to lack of funds, because most of our few folks have nothing to give. But as Dave Gilbertson said, if you know you are in God’s will, and are doing things His way, then keep on! If there is one soul hungry for the word, its enough to keep going!
    I was getting very discouraged lately, thinking to step down, but then, a couple came in, and that night, he was born again, and baptized the next week, and it was exactly the encouragement we needed! Now we will train them up as disciples, and let God do the rest. Its HIS church, anyways, He will bring the increase.

  25. Thank you.

  26. “I’ve been waiting for you to step in with this whole supposedly relentless, audacious “love of Jesus” thing I hear so much about, and make it real.”

    I imagine I will be like many on here and say that your thoughts for the most part are very good and true to life in many ways. No doubt you are trying to shake the foundation with the way you write your article but as I am reading it I am asking myself if you yourself are doing what you are wanting the Church to do?
    Are you getting your hands dirty as you describe in this wonderfully written article?

    In our ministry we work in the inner city community every week and have for over a decade and some of what you say is just is not reality in the front line trenches. Oh it sounds good and paints a pretty good picture of a Jesus running around and being relevant with the down and outers, but trust me there is much more to making disciples among the disenfranchised than giving audacious love of Jesus. Making disciples is a long, hard and messy job and most Christians from the young to the old are not ready to take that on in their busy life pursuing the American Dream.

    Finally I would like to remind all of us that the love of Jesus is not just putting up with peoples bad habits and addictions and being satisfied with where they are at for the rest of their lives. The whole truth is God shows His love in His discipline just as much as He shows His love in meeting our daily needs.

    God is seeking growing, maturing men and women who are in the fruit bearing business, all to make Him look good. We as disciple makers must with the Fathers help offer grace, mercy and forbearance with the goal of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Rightly dividing the whole of truth and then living it out ourselves for others to imitate.

  27. Wow. Makes me think of Martin Luther nailing his letter to the church door at midnight. Love this letter. It is at the heart of many believers who admit our struggles and just want to know and be known. Thank you

  28. I only know Christians who are like Jesus…very non-judge mental individuals and very welcoming. It’s sad that you do not. Especially bc you’re a pastor. How sad. Unfortunately, reading what you wrote, I got a sense that you are the center of your world and that your needs are not being met are the priority in your life. My mom always made sure we knew our place. It’s not about me or you, John. And it comes across pretty selfish when you write. Be the change you want to see.

  29. Oh My Goodness The Church is not perfect. There are plenty of bad restaurants but i still eat out. I don’t throw them all under the bus, because there are plenty of good ones. When i was saved I was called into the church (not into ministry) and that’s were i have been for the past 34 years. I have missed maybe 15 Sundays in all that time and none of the churches I attended were perfect, nor were the people, nor was the leadership, and nor was the doctrine for that matter. I went called by God into the fellowship of the saints (the imperfect saints mind you) as are all believers who are Born Again in Christ. It’s not about me, its about the call and the will of God for my life.. God saved my soul and delivered me. No church needed to walk the tightrope of my feelings for me to stay. Sure i got hurt and offended and tired, but i was there for the Lord, and I’m in for the haul. If you go to Church for any other reason than Him it’s only a matter of time…you’ll be gone. I’ve seen it. You got problems or issues? Get in a pew faithfully week after week and become a disciple, because that’s what the Great Commission is. That’s the job of the Church to make disciples. Put on your big boy boots and get to it. God saved your soul! You don’t go for fellowship, all though fellowship plays an important part, you don’t go for the worship, although worship is important, you don’t go to be healed although in time you will be.and you don’t go for what the church can do for you, although the church is there to help many times. You go for the Lord, and to be trained as His disciple. If you go for any other reason, when it doesn’t happen you will be disillusioned and leave. When you make Jesus lord that means He makes the rules. If you don’t follow Him how can you say he is Lord? If you leave His Church altogether how can you say he is Lord?

  30. Ok I will “own” my 47 years as a believer, and I am sure I qualify as one of the people who can’t relate well to people outside the church culture..the problem is…I want to. I can’t seem to bridge the gap between what is acceptance and love for those who are living worldly lifestyles without feeling like I am condoning their choices to disobey God’s Word. I truly recognize that they are spiritually blind and do not see the need for personal holiness. But they shutdown the conversations by their favorite mantra “Don’t judge me”. Jesus does love all of us sinners and did go out to the people…but He also loved them enough to confront their sin and tell them the Truth…that they need a Savior.

  31. “People don’t need to be dazzled with big, churchy words and about eschatological frameworks…..” Eschatological? That word is the Jesus of big, churchy words. Give me a break John.

  32. I just left my church of 4 years. I hated to leave it, because they are very progressive and the pastor was really great. But someone at the church became jealous of the work I was doing and started to spread rumors about me. This was a supposed friend. I would go to church and this person would do nasty little things to make my life miserable. No one confronted her about her behavior. Others had witnessed her behavior, and yet she was not held accountable for it. She was asked her side of the story and she lied. We tried a meeting and she just called me names and couldn’t give a rational reason for her behavior towards me. In the end I decided it was best that I leave as she was causing division because of it. What should be done in an instance like this. I felt if I couldn’t be forgiven for something I didn’t do, how could I be forgiven if I did do something. I loved the article, but church discipline should also be addressed. I know of people who have been horribly wronged in a church, and yet because of money, bias or influence, the leadership turns a blind eye while other church members are victimized. This is another reason people leave the church.

  33. Valerie Christian The Church is not perfect. The people are not that make up all churches. I find the article interesting
    The author writes about churches being judgmental when clearly he is being that way. Sounds like a Divorce to me.
    Instead of trying to make a difference or work things out with the church let’s just quit. I do agree with one comment a reader made. There is a misconception that Worship is about Us, Me, You.
    When in fact Worship is about Christ. Through our Worship we receive the Joy of being in Christ presence and offering ourselves to Him.
    Thankful our Salvation does not depend on a church, it’s critic’s or supporters.
    Thanks be to God!

  34. Valerie Christian The Church is not perfect. There is a misconception that Worship is about Us, Me, You.
    When in fact Worship is about Christ. Through our Worship we receive the Joy of being in Christ presence and offering ourselves to Him.
    Thankful our Salvation does not depend on a church, it’s critic’s or supporters.
    Thanks be to God!

  35. If I could go back and preach at my last church, I think I’d just read this article

  36. You’re a pastor and you’re talking about the church as if you were outside it?

  37. went to church that purported to do all these things but was really a more modern, trendy version of all above. They loved each other (the tiny click) so very, very much that they just couldn’t understand why no one else was feeling very loved or committed. Check yourself and see if you’re still holding to “your” idea of what church ought to be and who should be there or if you are listening. You should be able to talk to a new person to know why they came the very first time. If you don’t, you aren’t trying very hard.

  38. I talk to every new person. They’re all coming back until they aren’t.

  39. Except when Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg, he was challenging sin and calling the church to holiness and biblical worship. This is definitely not that.

  40. Dumb ass. Who are these church plants, anyhow? I have a hard enough time being accepted by the non church plants.

    If Jesus told the folks in the gospels to go everywhere and all around, to seek folks,
    I just don’t understand what this whole post is about.

    Everything that Paul wrote about in the NT was about “church plants.” There were no standing churches at that time. So….what’s the problem, or, origin of the difficulties of ‘church plants’ these days? It’s how the early church started….

  41. No, What he’s saying is “I’m not perfect, I’m hurt, I’m broken, and I need to be loved and as the church, you’re not doing as you are commanded to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”” -Mark 16:15. He’s saying that the church is staying in one place and expecting people to flock to them and then stay. In all reality, we as the church are commanded to go reach people, not expect them to come to us. Show others that we genuinely care about them enough to seek them out and just love them.

  42. A very poignant and interesting article. I agree with most of its points, but I think you’re missing a couple.

    1. Hypocrisy and Judgmentalism.

    In continuing to enforce the ‘anti-sin’, and most especially ‘anti-gay’ philosophies you directly contradict the teachings of Jesus and many verses in the NT that direct Christians to ignore the Jewish Laws listed in the OT – such as Eph.2:15, Gal.2:14, Gal.5:3, and most especially Gal.5:3,4 and Gal.5:14.

    The true Christ Spirit produces fruits “against which there is no law” (Gal.5:22,23). Moreover, “he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not murder’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not covet’, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law (Rom.13:8-10)”. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself'” (Gal.5:13).

    2. Cherry-picking of scripture to support that hypocrisy and judgmentalism.

    A Fundamentalist who claims that others must adhere to even one regulation stated in Mosaic Law is bound by the whole of Mosaic Law: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised (a stipulation of one of the Mosaic laws) that he is a debtor to do the whole law” (Gal.5:3). Someone cannot just choose to adhere to one (or some) law and not adhere strictly to all the others, or this would literally demonstrate Pharisaical hypocrisy.

    The very question of whether Christians were to follow Mosaic Law or not, came up in the first century of Christianity among those with a deeply ingrained cultural tendency towards the written decrees of Moses. The so-named Jerusalem Council decided, after discussion, that because non-Jews were following the Lord Jesus Christ, they should be free from following Mosaic Law, and moreover, so should Jews.

    A lot of these things come down to a simple conclusion that many ex-church goers come to – most especially if they truly study the Bible and Christ’s teachings.

    You (the Church) may try your best to follow Jesus, but you are falling very, very short of that goal. It’s going to happen, as we are all human and cannot possibly reach the perfection and sinlessness of the Son of God. But you could try an awful lot harder.

    You (again, the Church) are NOT Jesus, you are NOT God, and you have no right to judge others of their sins, regardless of how bad you think that sin is. YOUR JOB is to unconditionally love all your fellow sinners and not hold them up to an unreachable standard. LOVE them, no matter what, and support them no matter what. That was the truth of Jesus’ teaching and until the Churches reflect that in their reality, beliefs and behaviors, people will continue to leave.

    The Church needs to reflect the unconditional love of Christ and God, but it doesn’t.

    That is why it is failing.

  43. I skimmed through your post and from what I read, I agree. The only thing I have to say is that we say ‘church’ and mean human beings. All churches are made up of flesh, there will be mistakes made and feelings hurt. God’s word is no longer important to the world because the world has become self sufficient, selfish and inverted. Its not the churches fault, its humans fault. NOT THE CHURCH. God made the church, humans make the attendance. Years ago when the churches/building were full, there were no cell phones, internet, drugs, and extra caricular activities to distract us. There was also a greater need for social skills, human interaction, now we, humans have something called technology. Not stating its bad, just pessimistic about the side affects its creating.

  44. If you simply: Love God and Love People… Everything else is just a tool to minimise distractions.

  45. Atheists and agnostics read the Bible and cannot in all honesty believe it. When the first story talks abou tlight preceding the sun and water separated from the sky then goes on to bring in a talking serpent as a lead character to place women into subservience, you’ve alienated half your audience before the next chapter. Get rid of the fiction, turn it into a community of social activism for good instead of blame. Ignoring the elephant of Stone age stories wrapped with hatred, violence and misogyny not to metion bigotry and hypocrisy leaves people with a really jaundiced opinion against the church thingy.

  46. Yes, many are tired of ‘churchianity’. And the younger generation (18-to-35) are more doers. They want to see action more than a lesson. In my own labors of love (as well as in my research) I see those who “have a belief” primarily avoid churches … and 72% evidently believe churches have little influence on real/major issues in America (Pew Poll).

  47. I understand your point, but the church that stops telling people that their pain is coming from their sin is no longer doing its flock a service. Is your family and your life broken because you have cheated, lied, used drugs, been lazy? Is your life a shambles because you choose sin over responsibility? God’s laws are modeled for us based on the laws of nature. We suffer when we choose selfishly. When we choose to degrade our souls we rot. And the church, more often than not these days,
    avoids telling people that there are wrong choices…..and that those choices will bring suffering. We feed first, and we ease suffering. But then we show the injured the source of the suffering….and help them become well. Because God loves us. He wants us to prosper. But our sin keeps us in our misery.

  48. Excellent article John I have seen this and at times may have even been a part of it in some ways but even when I have been I knew it didn’t seem or feel right. So I try my best now to do my small part of reaching people where they are and listen and love and as I feel the Holy spirit urge me to speak mentor or guide. Not with an agenda other than to share my hope faith and love for a redeeming transforming merciful God. Love your writings and thoughts John
    church without walls is really Church no band no building no extravagant coffee shops needed.

  49. I like what you have to say and the words you use to say it although I think it does not go to the fundamental issue. Myself and many I know have left the corporate structure, the American religious club, but that has no baring on our relationship to Jesus. Maybe we ought to be living a life of love and not so worried about what we call “church”.

  50. Ed: I think I understand. I’m a member of a small, progressive UCC plant deep down in the Deep South. I’d like to chat privately and see if we can support each other and keep our hearts out of the ditch. Message me on Facebook, please. Brother in a christ, Todd Duren

  51. I feel your pain, Todd. My husband and I were in some really bad churches and were terribly hurt more than once. I almost gave up hope but I knew I needed the fellowship of other believers. I have since found a church home where I am comfortable, but I am not highly involved, too much pain mistrust still lingering to allow myself to get overly involved, but I enjoy the worship services, I think the pastor and others who teach there are Spirit-inspired for the most part and I see them reaching out into the community in many and varied ways. I hope you can find some sort of community of believers at some point. My prayers are with you.

  52. Ed I feel your pain. Ive been there myself. Perhaps a solution would be for you to partner with a larger well funded church who could support you. You could be an outreach ministry of them and find both financial and human resources to help you achieve your vsion of helping those you are called to love. I assure you there are those in these megachurches who are longing to help in a ministry like yours but dont know how.

  53. You nailed it John. Several years ago I came up with the term “consumer christians.” It was original to me at the time but I’ve since heard it used by others. We’ve turned church into a competative market. Our culture has shaped us rather than the other way around. Like chosing a hotel, new car, restaurant, retail outlet or any other worldly product consumer christians take the “what’s in it for me” attitude. Rather than coming to church asking how they can help they are content to sit and allow others to carry the heavy end of things. We need to get back to communing with God and our fellow believers instead.

  54. Was your expletive really necessary?

  55. Yes, Kitkat, you are so right!

  56. Why are you making this about politics? This article has nothing to do with politics.

  57. Well said, Dave.

  58. Dear John Pavlovitz, if that’s the way you feel, brother, then I will pray for you and the people you represent. I would encourage you to watch this video about Christian persecution. I think it is another perspective on the western church. I’ll pray that it reaches you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23NEz3Vc4L0

  59. Hmmm. Seems rather…judgmental.

  60. I don’t think that is what this article is saying at all. Plus, you are assuming the Holy Spirit can’t do the work of convicting of sin so you have to do it? That people have to do it? Even if correction is to be made, a person is more likely to listen to someone who loves them and accepts them. Isn’t that the gentle way the Holy Spirit does it? Isn’t that how Jesus did it? I already get the “holier than thou” vibe from you and that’s exactly what this article is trying to address. I would say take the log out of your own eye first ….

  61. Your response is Exhibit A to “why this article is needed….”

  62. Why not go to the Church that was established on the Day of Pentecost. In Acts, Chapter 2; the Bible tells you to believe, repent and be baptized, and Christ adds you to the Church. In Ephesians, it is stated that there is one Lord, one Faith, and ONE BODY; the body being the Church. We must accepts God’s word. The five items of worship are hearing the word; singing, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, giving of our means and praying. Thank you!!!

  63. Because politics is very very present in today’s Church. I have heard it myself right from the pulpit. Personally I think there is no place for politics from the pulpit, but that does NOT change the facts. Pastors are the ones who brought politics to the front 30 years ago. Now young people are leaving in droves.

  64. Some churches are good some are not.Kinda like anything in life. As long as people are involved some will do the right thing some won’t. Remember church is a place were people meet. So saying church you need to do this for me , is not going to happen. If you know what you want start meeting in your home with like minded people. You don’t need a church for GOD to show up. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

  65. amen. I just left a really sad situation, so tired of the bell ringing, bible taking, choir singing disciples we are raising up. Just cant stay another day! i feel I’ve finally lost the battle of an honest “Christian” or follower of Christ! We are rejoicing in our church b/c we just got rid of the “EXPENSIVE” copier.

  66. Oh, thank you for this. I can add that I’m not acceptable when severely depressed, rude, mean and obnoxious. I’m only eligible for unconditional love when I’m nice. If I get rude or pushy or critical, then I get “grace.” Which I figured out must be what I thought was being pretty much completely ignored for several years. Nobody will come after me persistently when I’m like that to find out what’s wrong, or to listen or even to give some hugs. Nope. If I’m rude and blaming then it’s my fault I’m rejected. Yet Jesus never leaves me, even when I’m so mad I kick him in the shins I’m so mad at him.
    Oh, and I can’t point out any of these things because I’m not supposed to judge.

  67. Excellent article, especially #1. Why are we so terrified of reading the Bible aloud, praying, or just SILENCE? Let alone regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper with sufficient time to pray beforehand.

  68. I think this is that.

  69. Would love to hear things from your perspective Virginia! You don’t have to figure out THE woman’s point of view – it doesn’t exist – just ONE woman’s thoughts.

  70. The theme that is the major obstacle here is that the focus is still on getting folks to come. Jesus was sent and in turn sent His disciples. Nowhere in scripture do we see Jesus giving any instruction for getting folks to come to a building on a particular day of the week. Neither do we see it in the epistles.
    It seems that the concept of church has been institutionalized at the expense of the mission. At what point did it become acceptable to erect a building, institute a business plan, and then provide attractional programming to lure customers inside. Forming a missions department might make folks feel like they are following God’s will, but even this is absurd. God didn’t create the church and then give it a missions department. He initiated the mission and gave it a church.
    During the first 300 years of church history, which saw rapid growth, the members of the body met in homes. There was no CEO Pastor, since Christ was the true Head. There were no children’s or youth ministries, since families were the discipleship center. There was no mission’s department, since to be a follower of Christ meant that you were already on mission.
    The question isn’t “How do we get our folks to take the gospel out of the church walls?” Ther real question is “Who told us there were church walls?”

  71. Awe, what an ugly and impatient way to talk about the Body of Christ. We are the best He has to work with at this point. We, too, must mature through our own walk of painful growth through trials and errors into the full stature of Christ. With all her warts, where would the world be without the Church? God Himself, must be the author of what ever we do that truly affects the world for Him? Have some faith – He knows exactly what He’s doing, and He IS RIGHT ON TIME! “For “HE”, Who began the good work in us, “WILL” complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) Most people serving in those highly criticized light shows, coffee bars, etc, are at least showing up and trying to do what they believe might draw people to God… Only He knows their hearts and motives? I have often heard it said – we’re the only army that shoots its own wounded. That is what I hear in this blog. Scolding and guilting the Church (especially by a not-so-new-believer-blogger) coddles and validates a victim mentality in the world and is such a bad witness…spelling division to those outside the covenant. “Guilt sermons TO the Church, don’t work anymore than “guilt sermons FROM the Church, to the lost. It just puts pressure on church leadership to come up with another “new thing” to try and attract people to God. The answer is indeed “LOVE”… But we cannot love those outside the church – which is being purposed here, until we first LOVE ONE ANOTHER. A letter like this DOES NOT BUILD UP, EDIFY, OR UNIFY! NOTHING, but the authentic, supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and LOVE for ONE ANOTHER (John 13:35) will ever reconcile a lost world to the Father. I totally believe we need a program of “attraction, rather than “promotion…but a love letter – recognizing all the beautiful attributes of the Body of Jesus (and there are MANY) might attract more than a scathing letter of rebuke, don’t you think? I want to encourage us all to reread the passage in Ephesians 4:2-16. Verse 13 speaks of the UNITY of the faith among “believers”. Jesus prayed, in John 17:21, that we would love one another (believer to believer before we try and love the lost) “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one…as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. and may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me”. NLT. Maybe another reason they are “leaving”, is that a house divided cannot stand?

  72. Virginia, I do find that there are churches that are less hostile toward women who work outside the home and recognize their needs, though they may be hard to find. The problem I have is that even most of these churches see women having divinely decreed roles that are subordinate to men, both in the church and in relationships. A growing number of Christians, including myself, see this as an error, with the verses commonly cited at restricting women from certain roles in the church and the home taken out of context. I for one like to consider my partner an equal partner. This is one thing I do see driving some people away from the Church.

  73. Many years ago a group called Steely Dan sang something very appropriate and nearly prophetic. They sang “Any world that i’m welcome to – is better than the one that I come from.” I have thought that they were sorts of postmodern prophets writing this back in the 1970’s. The prophets of today are U2 who sing on their new album “Hope is where the door is – when the Church is where the war is.” Church, we need to hear the voices of those outside (and inside) looking for hope. Do we really think (as this post says) that they are just in love with being hopeless? Do we know and believe that “hope” is one of the things the Bible says is a motivating factor for those outside? Check it out – it is in 1 Peter 3:15. The things said in this post were “stuff that needs to be said!” Thanks to John P.

  74. Enjoyed the article but not sure if a pastor can provide the best experience. It’d be like the CEO of Sony writing about why people don’t like Sony. As a layman, my problem is that many in the clergy believe they are the only ones who knows what’s right and wrong with the church. They speculate about what we, the laity, believe or think. For me, I go to church in order to find Christians I can disciple because they aren’t getting it from the pulpit. You said churches speak in language people can’t understand, my experience is the exact opposite. They try to be so “relevant” that the Bible becomes a commentary on the pastor’s beliefs rather than the basis for what all Christians should believe. They are so afraid of offensive verses that they share only what others would accept. I.e., your comments about love. How about preaching about how Jesus loved His disciples through rebuke? (Rev 3.19,20).

  75. To be completely honest. In my opinion often times people do not reap the benefits that they believe their supposed to find in the church because they dont commit theirselves and honestly get involved in the church. I myself have felt many ways mentioned in this article at ppints in my past. The thing that helped me the most was trying to get involved and be serious about church despite my opinions about how service was done. I found out that the love was actually there and that when you really get to know those who labor among you that you see their struggles and you find out that there not to much different from you and you do belong!

  76. TRUE Worship ushers in the presence of God, it do not entertain.

  77. Just speaking for myself, it’s too late for the Church to get me back. I have needs and those needs were not being met by the Church. I was supposed to give and give and get nothing in return but shame and guilt. Enough!

  78. DANG this is a good article!!

  79. Very good points, yet like most things this side of glory, incomplete. The crowds left Jesus in his earthly ministry. (John 6:26-70) And they will leave Him in His ministry as the Body of Christ.

  80. I absolute love this article! I’ve been screaming some of the very same things for years now. I have continually found it hard to be in ministry when we can’t live in our truth in our church organizations. Yes, Jesus loved prostitutes, liars, SINNERS and would come to the defense of anyone that stood against them. Why aren’t all of us (not some of us) who call ourselves disciples following after His teachings? At least once a week I think about leaving my post at my church to start a gathering just for people who want to know Christ….the Love of God. No dogma, doctrine, established theology or even (God forbid) offerings; just encouragement to develop a relationship with the Almighty!

  81. bravo!

  82. Gave up my need for approval from “the church” and turned to the only true church on Earth, that is to say Nature, created by God perfectly, and from whom all the lessons I need are written on the sky, sun, moon, leaves, even the dirt. Gave up trying to understand the ramblings of imperfect students who never really understood what Jesus was teaching and spread their prejudices and preconceptions, later called “gospel”. Only study the “red words”, they are the only ones I need. Studied and integrated the Tao, which taught me to release my attachments to ridiculous personifications of God, to me the ultimate sin of the “the church”. Finally realised “the church” as the geopolitical force of sickness and death that it is. I mean, if you understand the workings of the human brain and its tendency towards heuristics, the shortcut to “heh, that guy died on the cross for me, so I don’t really have to change myself at all” is not even a big stretch. John, I have felt your pain. Take Jesus into the forest with you and you won’t be in pain anymore. Take others with you and you will know the true measure his power. Peace be with you brother.

  83. Really? You think that Jesus came to destroy the Law? When you “love your neighbor as yourself,” you don’t steal from them, you don’t lie to them, you honor your parents. The Law of God is holy, just and good. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” “Why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” but don’t do what I say?” We have been given one directive – “Preach the Gospel to every creature – Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded.” The Lord is the Righteous Judge, and He has made us to be partakers of His divine nature. We know the difference between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean, by His holy Spirit who lives within us. We are not called to be like the World. We are called to declare God’s Word to the world, so that those who hear and repent would come out from among them and be separate. Most of the world will not hear, because they WILL NOT HEAR, not because they don’t understand. Don’t be deceived, what a man sows, is what he reaps. Those who sow to their flesh, seeking to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind, will reap corruption. Jesus said it, and He doesn’t lie. Repent and believe the Gospel.

  84. By the way, the only way that the Church could be “failing” is if Jesus were a liar. He said “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” If the Church is failing, you might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we perish.” The only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved is the name of Jesus, and the only thing that He has promised to be with is His Church. So if you leave, you lose.

  85. This is awesome. Hoping to connect in a real way with this pastor.

  86. The answer is PRAYER, plain and simple, faith filled or even desperate PRAYER. Our little church in Cairns has lost many teens but after a year of dedicated prayer by a faithful few, suddenly we saw increase! WooHoo! To God be the glory!!!

  87. Maybe it’s time that we the body of Christ humble ourself and seek God till His presence fills the place and then we will see people saved, healed or what ever their need may be. And we will have enough of His spirit in us they will want to stay.

  88. I want to respond to this, but I don’t really know where to start. I’m a church goer, have been since I was in my mother’s womb. But my relationship with Jesus is my own. A relationship that has had its ups and downs as any real relationship will have. I think what bothers me is the part where you say we don’t go outside our building. Spoken like a pastor. I may come to the building on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday I DO go outside the building. Pastors need to get it that those of us who aren’t in “The Ministry” are out there doing, well, ministry. We go to jobs where our co-workers cuss and tell lewd stories and sneer and malign us as we try be tolerant of “where they are.” We show love and mercy. We try to engage these people in relationship. Most of the time it doesn’t do any good, but every once in a while you make a statement that hits a chord in someone’s heart and the next time, they listen a little more intently and with less eye-rolling. I go to a pretty good church that actually does get outside the building–at least once a quarter we do. We have a thing called “Big Life Sunday” wherein we go out on a Sunday morning to retirement homes, and hospitals, and we minister to the poor by fixing their front porch steps or a broken window. But the rest of the time, I sit in the pew and listen to a pastor tell me I’m not doing enough because I like to come to church and enjoy the company of my brothers and sisters and the presence of our great and awesome God, on Sunday–where cussing doesn’t usually happen. No cussing, it’s nice for a change.

  89. The vast majority of the followers of god spend the majority of there time shining their armor or fighting amongst each other. (Quote from Mike warniky former Christian comedian) May he who is with out sin cast the first stone. For god so loved the world that he gave his only son that who so ever believes in him will not perish but have ever lasting life. I don’t need four walls to have my faith. I don’t need my designated seat for a sermon. 2 or more belivers congregating in the fellowship of god is a congregation. Be there for all of gods children lost or found and lead them with courage, faith, and love as they need it. God will guide us and help us to do what is right. This is just my view but I believe and that’s what matters. I may be considered by many to be the red headed step child of god but at least I know in my heart wear I stand. I’m sure there are those who may disagree with my views but god gave us the free will to disagree and for that I thank him because he allows us to be who we need to be not what the world says we need to be. Please remember if you beat someone with a club they will follow until the can get away but if you feed someone and treat them as an equal they will walk with you. Be the table and a friend and let god do the leading.

  90. Another rehashed church bashing article. Yes there are “bad” churches. Most I have seen are reaching out to the communities is real ways. Our church: mens and womens jail ministry, nursing home ministry, food pantry that delivers monthly as well, thrift store, and gives to foreign missions. Has a separate building (costly) for the purpose of reaching those in need. We have Sunday school at the church and small groups that meet at various times in various places. There are multiple corporate outreaches as well as encouragment for individual evangelism. And yes, upgrading santuary, childrens and youth areas too. (Oh those are bad things, forgot.) We are not the only ones doing that in our town either. Article writer, if the church you pastor is that bad then maybe try something else.

  91. Is Christianity about defending religious beliefs and dogmas or about showing the lost world the love of Christ? Churches aren’t excluding non Christians from their services, but they aren’t inviting the lost and undeserving out to their Sunday afternoon lunches either. The poor are treated as if they are charity cases, but Christians aren’t really befriending them and treating them as if they are equals. And just because more Christians join the battle for a hobby store than for social inequality does not mean the fight for the hobby store is bigger or more important than the battle over social inequality. You missed the entire point of the article, Honey.

  92. No, what he is saying is the church people forgot that all humans are equal, and church people need to step out of their self-righteousness and become friends, real friends, with the lost and dying world.He is not saying you need to adapt to the ways of world, or to accept the sins of others, but rather to define others as humans not by their sins.

  93. If you really want to relate to those outside of the church, start by becoming aware of your own self-righteousness, and humble yourself just a tiny bit. Start by knowing the only thing that separates you from those outside of the church is the redemption of Christ, other than that you are just the same as any other sinner. Come down from your pedestal, then maybe you can follow the in the direction of Christ.

  94. People don’t go to church cause it takes 5 seconds on Google to debunk the talking snakes and impossible stories about the world being 5000 years old. You did it to yourselves church and you allowed no room for discussion. Enjoy your final days the sun is setting on your fairy tale gimmicks.

  95. So true! But it doesn’t have to be this way.. The congregation I serve in Central Oregon thrives, but not because of any rock-star, fancy worship or slick preaching. We share 200 cords of firewood every winter with needy neighbors. We move over a ton of food each week into family kitchens through a modest foodbank that never asks for identification. We converted our pesticide based landscaping into an organic food forest to model responsible land use and to feed the hungry. We aren’t particularly interested in anybody’s gender preferences.. and post-church oregonians see these as evidence of a compassionate and relevant mission they are interested in contributing to.
    Of course, the message we share inside the sanctuary on Sunday about following Jesus who challenges church and state, feeds, forgives and heals without copays.. etc. motivates and informs these genuine public choices.
    Sometimes we still use big churchy words, but not to win any souls. We trust God to do that part along the way.

  96. Amen. “User Friendly” churches lack the power of life altering efficacy that only comes through the preaching of the Gospel as contained in the Scriptures. Transformation is necessary for discipleship to exist in reality.

    2 Peter 1:3-11 AMP

    For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins. Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall. Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  97. Just curious, but are you just done with Church, or with the faith as well?

    i agree with you 110% about the unfair burdens many Churches place on their women. Not all of them can be stay-at-home moms. In this day, odds are they’re single moms with 2 jobs who need a little adult- and God-time, or just need to feel *wanted* and not just needed. It isnt fair, and it certainly isnt what i think of as love becoming of a group of believers who claim to emulate the God of love

    (Granted, too, there are many exceptions out there, but they shouldnt be exceptions)

  98. I was a minister in the Church but finally turned away because of all the certainty and judgmentalism and self-righteousness….and the assignment of roles based on gender, sexual orientation, social status and on and on… Then I found Unitarian Universalism….the most open, supportive, socially conscious, environmentally aware, nonjudgmental religious community imaginable. Jesus, the Buddha, Krishna, Abraham, Mohammed….all would feel right at home. Enough with the “Christian” church!! Not interested whatsoever in THAT “in crowd”!!!

  99. What church language is too difficult? I’ve never heard “eschatology” from the pulpit. Are we to abandon terms like Salvation? Redemption? Atonement? Or heaven forbid the R word–REPENTANCE? Ugh.

  100. ” For the love of God, reach out already”. Well said!

  101. Good thing you have zero evidence to back up your claims that this is why people are leaving church.

  102. Wow. You’ve hit the nail on the head. We are supposed to be reaching the lost and building Gods church. Not building institutions for people to gather together and zone out for an hour or two so they can say they are a dutiful Christian. In this world we live in, it’s getting harder and harder to really just talk and get to know a person. Build an actual relationship. So, it’s going to be a slow process for those who are truly changing hearts out there and not just growing numbers.

  103. too dramatic, the same old pedestrian attack on the church culture sin certainly has an impact on receptivity. sure the church has problems but there is an arrogance to assume that the church can fix all her problems. there are generations that fall away and then there are generations that experience a move of God; the difference is humility repentance , and God’s out pouring.

  104. Dave, I did leave because of someone who became jealous of the work I was doing. This person continued to spread rumors about me until other people started making accusations of things I didn’t do. No one addressed these other person’s accusations, no one confronted the jealous person, no one addressed the division that was caused by all this. Even though I brought these issues to the pastor and the administration at the church. So for the sake of the congregation I left to minimize the damage that was being done. People started to polarize into the them and us camps. This should not be. Especially in a church, so I left. I was asked by the church council to do the things that I was working on, and yet, this individual couldn’t stand it that I actually finished what was asked of me to do and did it well. I was victimized and the perpetrator was consoled because of her poor self image. I have seen this happen to other gifted people in other congregations. Talented singers, musicians, administrators, etc… all want to utilize their gifts for the benefit of the church only to have to walk away. Why?? Because childish, jealous or territorial individuals feel threatened that someone will get their piece real estate in the church. I tried to go to this individual in love to see what her issue was, and I had insult after insult hurled at me. She gave no rational reason for her behavior and yet nothing was done, no reprimand, no forgiveness, no apology, nothing. Church became a trial for me every Sunday, I no longer enjoyed going because this individual continued her hate towards me. When other people got sucked into this it was more than I could stand. And instead of coming to me to ask what was going on between us, they believed her completely without ever getting my side of the story. And you wonder why gifted people leave the church. There is no church discipline. This person couldn’t forgive me for something I hadn’t done and it was known by others that I didn’t do it. She should have been reprimanded for this, but wasn’t. There are wolves in the congregations but all anyone wants to see is sheep.

  105. Us too! Planted 2 years ago and your comment sounds like one I could have written! I agree with the entire article except I’m not sure I understand some of “come as you are” point in it. I agree, come as you are but we can’t skip the don’t stay as you are and I didn’t get that from the article, that seemed skipped. A commitment to Christ is a new life and unfortunately many people want a Jesus who will let them continue to sin and that’s not who He is and when people profess faith but don’t want to stop sinning we can’t be tollerant of that and neither was Jesus. Love isn’t only accepting people as they are, it’s helping each other to be more godly everyday. Without that change then you may not know Him. 1 John talks a lot about that test of faith.

  106. If you had thousands, you would not be able to give individual care. Hang in there. Help one at a time.

  107. I’m curious what those needs are. What differences between you and men do you see our local churches fulfill and don’t. Looking forward to your reply, Virginia.

  108. “At what point did it become acceptable to erect a building, institute a business plan, and then provide at tractional programming to lure customers inside.”
    My guess would be – it started with Constantine when he made Christianity the official religion.

    “first 300 years of church history – no CEO Pastors, youth ministry, etc.”
    The oppression and abuse of the church during this period may be one reason no one thought it a good idea to institutionalize. Personal, familial, community – life and death – SURVIVAL – seems to have been the greater priority. A priority in which “faith” was developed, shared and lived together as it produced and gave HOPE for a future out from under oppression.

    The “MOTIVATION” of “church” participants (comparing past w/ present) seem to be at an extreme disconnect. Of course, the endeavors of those like Ed’s, seem to come the closest in the comparison, as
    many of the people they connect with are desperate for a “hope” that will get them through the present day.

  109. I disagree with the second one…we like to be spoon fed, we have allowed ourselves to be dumbed down, and we just want basics. The Bible has more to it than those few things you mentioned. Yes, of course, talk about love and joy and death, but don’t leave out parts of the Bible because “it might be too much for people or they might not understand.” Explain it to them. I know kids and teenagers that understand deep theology. We need to stop sugar-coating and dumbing down God’s Word. He put it in there, we need to know it. It’s not trail mix…don’t pick out what you like and throw away the rest.

  110. I see your point, but you’re missing another way that the Church could be failing. When the leaders of the Church have so perverted and twisted the Bible that it no longer follows the teachings and mission of Christ, people will leave because they can clearly see the hypocrisy in such a message. Jesus came to teach us that God was about unconditional love, and not the angry, vengeful God that the OT portrays. When the Church refuses to show and follow that love, people will leave.

  111. So you’re asking messed up, sinful people who come to church because they’re lives are falling apart to act perfectly in God’s love and exhibit it perfectly to the rest of the world? This article does nothing but to make our world more divisive. I’m about as f*cked up as anyone else, but quit making this an us vs them.

  112. I have already “Repented and believe the Gospel” long ago, and it is highly presumptuous and judgmental of you to automatically assume that I have not.

    If you care to understand the basis of my faith and why I posted the things that I did, please read this:

    http://www.christianspiritualism.org/articles/lawrepeal.htm

    If you don’t care to understand, and simply wish to continue raving and judging someone who has a different interpretation and belief of the message of Christ, then you are a major part of the reason why people are leaving the Church in droves.

    Christ’s message was of God’s unconditional love, not God’s conditional judgments. That’s exactly what he criticized the Pharisees for 2000+ years ago. Read Matthew 23 in its entirety and perhaps you will understand more closely what is happening to the Christian Church (again), for what the Church is suffering from is modern-day Pharasaic hypocrisy.

  113. as a church organist for close to 30 years, I’ve seen many of you women catch all the hell. Particularly if you are young and attractive. In an ideal situation, if a young woman wants to get out of a life of prostitution, instead of receiving love, she’s being judged by what she is wearing. And even in some worse situations I’ve seen, being accused of trying to seduce all of the men in church. Who in their right mind would want to even come to a church like that? Instead of loving on this young lady, they’re too busy judging her for what she is wearing.this is one of the problems I personally have with the modesty doctrine. Its erroneous at best. And it teaches young girls at an early age to be ashamed of their bodies, instead of feeling good about it, and confident. You young women are expected to hold down all the duties in the church, yet they fail to see what you do outside of the church on your 9 to 5 jobs. Basically for the most part, women are not appreciated enough in church. Theres is crazy believe that you women have to cover up your bodies, in order to keep men from lusting, which leads to sin, which ultimately leads to death. Which in reality is total nonsense. You are not responsible for what goes on in my mind regardless of what you are wearing, or not wearing.I’m just sick of the legalism that often plagues the more fanatical churches like the Church of God in Christ. Holiness, and hospice dollar denominations. All in the realm known as Pentecostal. and I’m really tired of how the church like to try to frighten people to serve God. So yeah, there are many reasons why people are leaving the church. This article it’s just the tip of the iceberg as to why people are leaving the church and rose and people in church are sitting around wondering why.

  114. John, I am bothered by your article. People need to stop blaming the church and start looking in the mirror. I know, I know..sounds harsh in our culture of wanting to be accepted. But what if doctrine does matter? What is social work programming is not the thing that will bring the droves of people to Christ? How many verses in the NT actually point to such efforts as a means to make disciples? Hmmm. Everyone wants to take a pot-shot at the church it seems today. I think this article is filled with gross misrepresentations. The church IS loving and is active in society and around the world. Our local churches are some of the ONLY organizations helping the needy here and abroad without receiving a check for their efforts. Yes, churches can be legalistic, show-oriented, and use jargon that distances people. However, what if the problem isn’t our model or mode. What if its deeper? Why this craze about appealing to and embracing the masses? Maybe people are leaving because we aren’t loving enough. Or, maybe they are leaving because they define “love” as the acceptance of any activity or lifestyle they embrace? Christians, we need to start building up the church, not tearing her down. Yes, there are problems, but there are a lot of good things happening as well. I suggest we start pointing toward and encouraging the positives and stop punching the Bride of Christ in the gut. There are enough out there doing that without Christians joining in.

  115. This is an interesting article – one that has aspects which I find myself in COMPLETE agreement, and others where I don’t think I could disagree more. Let me go through his points one by one…

    Fwiw, I am a 51yo who has been a Christian for 46 years now. But I have not attended a church for the past 6 years. So while the author wrote this from the perspective of “why do lost people not come to church”, my view is somewhat different.

    Point 1: completely agree. One of the items that drove us from our previous church was that the “show” was so loud, we literally couldn’t stand to be toward the front of the church. It was physically painful. And then when the comment was made (from the pulpit) “if that didn’t bless you, there’s something wrong with you” …

    Point 2: that might be the case in churches that are very traditional, but I don’t think it has much truth for the majority of churches these days.

    Point 3: Here’s where the author & I part ways. I have come to hold the position that THE PURPOSE of the church is to lift up the body. Outreach is supposed to be a function of each Christian – is it *not* supposed to be a function of the church. And it certainly shouldn’t be one of THE main focuses. Instead, what churches should have is an almost singular focus on INreach.
    I attended the same church that one of the other commenters attends – she points to how wonderful their “Big Life Sunday” is. I point to it as a shining example of just how badly churches misunderstand what their purpose should be.

    Point 4: I agree – but in a different vein. The author points to current event issues. Instead where I think the church FOR DECADES has missed the mark is in trying to label things which are simply choices as sin. Drinking alcohol. Smoking. Dancing. Playing cards. Tattoos. These things are NOT sin. Nor is half a hundred other things that the pious love to look down their noses at.
    Trying to call them sin is basically the same thing the Pharisees did. And it was this group – not sinners – whom Jesus belittled, mocked, and physically beat.

    Point 5 is pretty much an extension of Point 4.

  116. Love and Truth, two legs which must work together to walk on any path or work of God. One without the other is corruption. I agree hopping on one leg or the other, even, temporarily is not doing anyone any good (re: bait and switch). Very few people were at the cross when Jesus died in our best view of love and truth perfectly manifest. The broad way and the “few” is a hard thing for me to process.

  117. There is an answer for all this. It is found in Christ’s Church which has 80,000 full time missionaries, 1 Prophet, 12 Apostles, true priesthood authority like Peter, James, and John had, is found in nearly every country on this planet, does not have rock shows or speak in words nobody understands. Christ’s true church is on the earth right now and has none of the elements in this article. Christ accepts everybody for who they are and where they are at in life. People are joining this church at the rate of 300,000 per year. See http://www.mormon.org for more info. 🙂

  118. One of my jobs is worship leader. I try to do this for God’s glory and I make an effort not to trivialize what anyone gives for God’s kingdom. Thanks for dismissing me though.

  119. I will pray that the Holy spirit will guide you into the direction that you need to go. You should be extremely optimistic about having the ability to serve the Lord and worship Him. There are brothers and sisters out there for you to gather with.

  120. True Dat

  121. I think this is that…
    You can’t get away with that! 🙂 You need to explain your reasoning. And that would include how it relates to Luther’s challenge to the “church of his day”.

  122. Dear Toni,
    Repentance is a daily thing, not something that we’ve done “a long time ago.” Jesus and the Apostles preached “Repent and believe the Gospel.” That Gospel was not “God loves you unconditionally,” although He does love us with an everlasting love. Rather, it was that God has, for Christ’s sake, forgive you all of your sins.
    The message, “God loves you and had a wonderful plan for your life,” as nice as it sounds, never fell from the lips of either Jesus or the Apostles, neither was it spoken by the Apostolic Fathers. It is a modern invention, and had ushered in with it all manner of humanistic error. The Reformation was fought over the issue of Justification, not the love of God. The question that each man has to answer is not, “Does God love me?” It is, “How will a man be justified before God?”
    May I suggest that you read Article IV of the Augsburg Confession and its Defense, for a clearer understanding of this issue. It is the issue upon which the Church stands or falls.

  123. Also, I could add to his complaint. We are made for relationship, but when I attend your church you have no singles group and do not plan to add one.
    But you tell me I should be happy without a wife.

  124. Thankyou Clarke. I love your comments. I have been in the Australian church now 30 years and havinge some thoughts on this. First – God told me- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN IS SMALL. BUT WHEN IT IS TAUGHT WRONG IT BRINGS OPPRRSSION.

    Now my thoughts – The praise men seek to get in church they do so by putting down the woman and lifting the men. Also if man is going to lead doesn’t this mean serve???? And when things go wrong the women get the blame. Shouldn’t the leader be responsible when things go wrong????? If he is the provider why does he push the woman into work and try to stop her having children. And sexuality — Women are sexual too but it makes the men uncomfortable so they make diagrams to show why they can’t get sex from their wives. Are they chemically neutered?

    Leadership and headship equals the responsibility and the extra work.

    Having said this. I am praying to know what I am what God says that I am so we can save women from hell. Church should have the answers. I have a husband that I am addicted to. I also have 4 sons one of which will be a pastor soon. Men are fantastic friends and helpers. I thank God for them.

  125. That is your belief and interpretation. Mine differs, as do many others. As a person, I do have to justify myself before God, although I also know that he loves me unconditionally and knows the truth of my heart, mind, and soul. I understand and realize that. However, as the Bible also clearly teaches, I do NOT have to justify myself before any man or woman. Continuing to tell me that I need to repent, even though you know absolutely nothing about me, tells me that you are simply being presumptuous and judgmental.

    I pray and ask forgiveness for my sins every day, but in all honesty, since I love God with all my heart and I do no harm to, and show love to my fellow man/woman, I don’t end up the day with a lot of sins to ask forgiveness for.

  126. Further, you condemn the Church for not reflecting the unconditional love of Christ and God, right after you upbraid the Church for judging sin, saying that we are not Jesus, and we are not God.
    You err on both sides here, we are commanded to “exhort, reprove, and rebuke with all patience” by the Apostle Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, expose them.
    Love takes no pleasure in iniquity, but it delights in the Law of the Lord, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be imitators of Christ, as dear children. When you confess your sins, your pastor will, in love, exercise the the office of the keys of the Kingdom, declaring to you that God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you. If, by contrast, you love sin rather than God, he will proclaim the Law of God in all its severity, so that you would turn and repent. That is his charge concerning the congregation that he has been called to serve in Word and Sacrament. This is elementary stuff, and, since you feel qualified to correct pastors, surely you know these things, right? Why then do you resist the Holy Spirit as He works through Word and Sacrament to stregthen you in the faith? Why would you turn away from the bride of Christ, whom his has placed in the earth, to bring to you these gifts of grace, thus resisting the Spirit of grace?

  127. Good, although, even when I am unaware of sins, that does not justify me, for I am so aware of the sin in my members. Thus my daily Confession is not simply of sins, but of sin itself. I do not know your background, but from what you have said, would I be wrong in guessing that you have not been exposed very much to the Small Catechism, written by Dr. Martin Luther? It is available online at bookofconcord.org. It might give you a perspective that you don’t currently express.

  128. I didn’t “condemn” the Church, I simply said these are some of the main reasons people are leaving. If you can’t see the hypocrisy and Pharasaic legalism, then you are part of the problem. I’m obviously beating my head against a dogmatic wall here and I won’t continue this conversation. Have a good day.

  129. I didn’t accept Christ until I was almost 20. I did not grow up in a Christian home. Actually, it was quite the opposite. People like me are coming in from the cold and wanting the love of the Church. Just as we are. Let us grow in God’s timing, not your’s. Understand that we are learning. God will change us how HE wants us to be changed. Not the way that you believe we should be changed. God has changed my heart, and a lot of the ways that I think. What HE has not changed is my personality, which was influenced by my past. I don’t speak “godly”. Yes, to some of us that is actually a language, and it turns people off that don’t know what the heck you are talking about.

    We want real. In your face, I love you no matter what, you are a child of God no matter your views, real. My pastor makes the statement that someone is “so heavenly minded, that they are no earthly good.” This is a very true statement.

    The thing is, is that the Church believes that it is the unsaved person living in sin that is the problem…but they are not the whole problem. It is on both sides. The sin that they “Church” walks around with and does not acknowledge is also part of the problem. When you look down your nose at me, do you really think that I want to listen to the gospel? When you speak with arrogance saying that your daddy, mama, aunt, uncle, grand-daddy, great-grand-daddy (etc) was a preacher so you KNOW what you are talking about….well honey, get off your high horse…you probably don’t know jack!

    WE WANT TO BE LOVED! NOT JUDGED! We are not going to listen to someone that judges us! Even being saved now, and going to church, I don’t like most churches, cause I am still looked down upon because I don’t speak “godly”.

  130. I was praying for some perspective on this just today. How to truly love without saying that sin is right. First of all, I noticed that although Christ did call out sin while on earth, He never even broached the topic of someone’s sin until He SHOWED them unconditional love (healing, protecting, etc). Because love is an action, not just a little saying to add on to the end of a sentence. And it wasn’t just that His love was an action, He didn’t bring up their sin until THEY knew that He unconditionally loved them. Because it matters whether or not the person actually feels loved. It then occured to me that if every time my husband said he loved me, he ended the sentence with “but I don’t agree with you doing…”, I would never feel very loved. Can you imagine if the only time we were told we were loved was “I love you, but…”. If that’s not a very good way to show love in a marriage, I don’t think it’s a very good way to show it to anyone else. So I think the balance is that love always has to come first, and once a person realizes how precious they are and that they are loved unconditionally by the King, they will be willing to give their sinful choices over to someone who they trust because there is safety in love. I know the more I realize His love for me, the more I trust all those dark parts of my life with Him! That was a great question, iamredeemed! 🙂

  131. wow…you totally missed the point…

  132. I have been apart of THAT church and just for the record, they are no different than any other denomination.

  133. another one to totally miss the point

  134. I have read quite a number of these comments in relation to this article – it is very noticeable the lack of scripture and the sharing of personal ideologies. IN BRIEF –
    What characterised the NT church – Acts 11v19-29
    V19 – it was a church composed of ordinary people
    V20 – it was a church of great diversity
    V21 – the hand of the Lord was with them
    V23 – there was evidence that God was at work in people’s lives
    V26 – it was a church of “disciples” – being taught the word
    V27 – it was a caring church in sending relief to others
    Ch 13 v1-3 the church was missional and its leaders in touch with God.
    Let’s share with churches what they can be, in the light of the WORD OF GOD
    BLESSINGS
    Paul – “that which cometh on me daily, the care of ALL the churches.”

  135. I’ve heard it said this way: The Father invited the whole world to an all expenses paid banquet. The “church” is made up of those that accepted the invitation and are willing to be served by Him.

    With that in mind, I’m almost inclined to think that the “church” referred to in this article isn’t the real church at all. It seems awkward to say, but those that are leaving should probably be commended for their obedience. The Father is calling folks away from that institution. It doesn’t fit the family model. This will resonate with some.

    “And they shall all be taught of God…”

  136. I’d be happy to listen and be corrected if you care to share, Amber.

  137. Yeah, your article is pretty confusing… So what do you want the “church” to do for you again?

  138. Clarke, I agree that things seem to be a little unfair when it comes to rhetoric about dress. I believe that when men aren’t modest in their appearance (open shirts, gaudy attire, etc.), it should be addressed. Modesty isn’t the issue. There’s actually nothing wrong with it when applied to everyone. The thing is, clothing for women is made more provocatively than clothing for men. Thus, women’s lack of modesty is seen and addressed often. It often isn’t addressed in love, however, which is an issue.
    Also, even if a woman is fully clothed and wearing nothing that is mini or tight, she should feel confident in her body, which is for her husband. (His body is for her as well, as the Bible says;)
    In addition, her emphasis shouldn’t be on her body or sexuality, anyway. It should be on Christ.

  139. In addition, as a Christian, if something you’re doing or wearing is creating an issue and/or distraction from Christ, etc…it is your duty to correct yourself…Not get offended and upset.

    “…no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” Romans 14:13 (KJV)

  140. Sorry, I replied to the wrong person lol.

  141. Clarke, I agree that things seem to be a little unfair when it comes to rhetoric about dress. I believe that when men aren’t modest in their appearance (open shirts, gaudy attire, etc.), it should be addressed. Modesty isn’t the issue. There’s actually nothing wrong with it when applied to everyone. The thing is, clothing for women is made more provocatively than clothing for men. Thus, women’s lack of modesty is seen and addressed often. It often isn’t addressed in love, however, which is an issue.
    Also, even if a woman is fully clothed and wearing nothing that is mini or tight, she should feel confident in her body, which is for her husband. (His body is for her as well, as the Bible says;)
    In addition, her emphasis shouldn’t be on her body or sexuality, anyway. It should be on Christ.

  142. Sorrryyy! I meant Eric, not Clarke…

    In addition, as a Christian, if something you’re doing or wearing is creating an issue and/or distraction from Christ, etc…it is your duty to correct yourself…Not get offended and upset.

    “…no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” Romans 14:13 (KJV)

  143. I disagree with much of this. If you want the real hard truth of why people are leaving, get this free download. Freewonderfulbook.com

  144. I think the point is not the initial “come as you are”. If a person comes in as a sinner and then becomes saved that is good. The problem I see too often in church is the rejection of people that are saved but then sin and are not forgiven. I saw a church body ostracize a friend because they dared to get a divorce from an abusive husband. The church, at that moment, should have embraced her instead of leaving her out in the cold. I agree that we should not stay as we are but we also need to be loved as much when we are Christians who sin as non-Christians are shown love.

  145. This article is not directed at everyone who is a Christian or runs a ministry. Some people show the love and charity he speaks about daily. But not all, and I would argue a majority do not. It is these people he is addressing. Also, I don’t know much about your ministry, but too often I have seen ministries that do help the down and out but don’t embrace them. I in no way suggest your ministry is one of those. I would ask though, how much fellowship do you have with the people in your ministry outside the times you have services or outside the confines of the building you use? Have you become their friends? Have you brought them to your home or only ever gone to their home? What do you do with them outside the ministry you run? If you have embraced them as friends and family then you are doing the work correctly. However, if you are only going into the area when the facility you run is open and never see them outside the context of the ministry, then I would suggest you rethink they way you do your ministry.

  146. I partly agree with you, but becoming his disciples is not the only reason to go to church. The Bible does direct us to help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to stay strong. The church is not a Horatio Alger story. You need help and support to stay in fellowship with the Lord. We all do. I do agree that if we have our feelings hurt we shouldn’t just leave the church, I have had my share of hurt feelings and they did sting. I didn’t leave the church then. I left when I saw the hypocrisy of a church who professed to love everyone ostracize a friend because she had “sinned” in their eyes. Just because we are saved doesn’t mean we don’t sin anymore. We need just as much forgiveness then as before we were saved. I also, saw a pastor that was willing to ask his parishioners to do something he considered wrong just to help himself. If you as the pastor think it is wrong then it is wrong for everyone in the church. I don’t believe that a pastor is a perfect human. They sin as much as anyone else, but they should also not ask a member of their church to do something they consider morally wrong. I can point to many other examples that I hear on the news and from friends.

  147. These are all reasons why people leave a particular church, not THE Church.
    People are as fickle as the some of the churches described here. But in reality, people leave the Church because they’re not truly born again. The true Christian will hit every church in the county to find a good one. The folks who say they have “given up on the church” usually spend more time preaching the “good news” of “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian!” than the Good News about Christ…it’s sheer laziness and arrogance. You aren’t fooling God, get your rear end planted in a Church, and remember, it’s not all about you.
    “Come as you are” churches are either false advertising or preaching a false gospel. For starters, how else can they “come”? God receives you the way you are, but he loves you enough not to leave you that way. And if your “Come as you are church” puts a low value on Bible study, and tells you God isn’t interested in modifying your behavior, you’re not in a church, you’re in a cult. Get your nose stuck in that dusty paper weight you keep on the coffee table so people can see how “spiritual” you are (The Bible) and equip yourself to weed out false prophets and false doctrine.
    A little country church with no lights or screaming guitars, no PowerPoint or hip preacher…a church determined to preach Christ and him crucified, that puts a premium on holiness, encourages regular in-depth Bible study, and admit we will suffer for the sake of Christ, and are not ashamed to plead the blood…these are the ones who see people being regenerated, coming to genuine faith, growing in that faith, and producing the fruit that accompanies salvation. And people who leave because they don’t like being challenged to grow (i.e., “stop sinning”) just don’t get it either…that’s one of the main reasons to go to Church and become an active member. The Church does not exist to validate your ungodly lifestyle. And until you surrender completely to God in Christ you will never know peace or the joy that surpasses all understanding, because you’re still lost as a duck in a snow storm:
    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬ ESV)

  148. No doubt Brian there are people like you describe that will go and volunteer at a food pantry for a day then consider themselves working among the poor. Most everyone locally I know that are doing any kind of ministry their hearts are in it. We cannot be everything to everyone. Even the Apostles said they have to devote themselves to prayer and the Word and need to assign men that are full of the Spirit to work among the widows.
    Jesus Himself said I have to go or else the work of the Father will not be accomplished in the earth as He purposed. It takes all of us. The real problem is only about 20% of the body of Christ is doing 80% of the work. The rest are too busy pursuing the American Dream to be bothered too much with living out Life in Christ. As Keith Green used to sing, they are asleep in the Light.
    As far as this blogger John, I went and read much more of what he has written and I have discovered he is very much in the left ditch as far as his opinions. This is typical human nature, it is very hard for all of us to stay in the middle of that narrow road. We easily end up in the right or left ditch in out thinking. It truly takes a bankrupt heart, discarding our rights and our opinions to allow the Spirit to teach us to righty dividing the truth.

  149. Wow. I loved this article. I have been born again and I attend service , bible study and went to New Life Bible Institute. I “come as I am” and I continue to because I know Jesus. I will probably never look the part of a holliar than thou Sister in the church. My relationship is with God. My faith is in Him. When you really decide what this walk is about… Jesus always used less regular folkss..My Jonah…rebellious and I, my Rehab…Promiious and all, my David…hmmm, my Peter, aggressive and I, my Paul…persecuter and I. This relationship is an individual thing. I have two friends in a church I’ve been in since 2003. I dnt “fit in” with the people but guess what I fit in with God.

  150. Well put! Grew up in very closed church, got divorced (but if I’d change my mind I could still be ‘saved’ in that church’s mind). I for the life of me can’t understand how some church communities miss the part about how God is the only judge. I totally agree that I lost my church but not my faith.

  151. Ah, shallow . . . I’ve Pastored churches where I sought to be the loving caring talking pastor. Same result. People turn on you when they don’t get their what they want above everyone else’s best welfare.

  152. I don’t usually throw myself into the crossfire of hot topics, but I’d like to put in my two cents.
    We are all familiar with the articles written about why today’s generation is leaving the Church. Some cite studies and assert that millenials have less interest in religion. Other Christian-focused articles confront churches with 7 Reasons Why People Leave the Church (like this one) blaming churches for being too shallow, being too flashy, being too judgmental, etc. “The church” is providing a service but providing it poorly, so our generation is looking to have its needs met elsewhere.
    In other words, our generation is complaining a lot.
    I think a fundamental question we should ask ourselves when we list our problems with “the Church” is what is our definition of “the Church?” Biblically speaking, every true follower of Christ comprises His body, the Church. That’s us, you guys. We are complaining about US, not just them. We are selfishly demanding that the more mature believers lead us without fail, but then we turn our backs in disgust when they stumble. We call them bad leaders and walk away like spoiled children. We are pointing fingers at ourselves, which is Satan’s primary way to cause division and stir up trouble, keeping our focus off of Christ. This keeps us in a stagnant state of spiritual infancy. Instead of taking part of the Body we are rejecting it and waiting for our pastors and elders to give us a more engaging pastime or better conversation. And we are fickle. First we wanted more drums, more bass, more technology, more pep. Now we are condemning churches for providing what we asked for. Does this sound like any children you might be related to or babysit for?
    “The Church” is not a board of aging deacons and pastors with antiquated ideals; nor is it naive coffee-loving leaders who invest in too many stage lights for worship. It’s not a building or an institution, yet we point fingers as if it’s our corporate office and we are on strike until they treat us better as employees and provide better benefits. I’ll admit that there’s a lot of crap going on in individual churches today that need to change. But our leader isn’t the local building we attend on Sunday. It’s Jesus Christ. If we are really following Him, we need to assume equal responsibility for what today’s Church looks like, and dive in to work with every other follower beside us.
    I’m tired of isolating my generation as “this generation.” We aren’t special. We don’t have it together. We are spoiled rotten and arrogant, when many (not all) of our pastors have been following Christ for years and are doing their best where THEY are at, just like we are trying to do. If we want change, then we need bring it to the table as an ACTIVE member of the Body. Instead of turning up our noses at our church’s ideals, let’s dive in and work WITH them. They are sinners. But guess what? We are sinners too, and we are most assuredly the more immature sinners. We are all seen the same in the eyes of Christ, washed clean by His blood and free of condemnation. I doubt Christ sees age, gender or culture. I’m pretty sure He just sees His children fighting a lot and walking out on each other.

    Stop blaming “the Church.” Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. And we wonder why the Church is in such a mess? If we see something that needs to be changed, then let’s step up and help change happen. Stop walking out because our pastors aren’t being perfect. One day, we will be in their shoes, and we are going to want grace from the next generation when we mess up.
    I’m not making excuses for the dire mistakes that many churches make. But we are only adding to the problem of shallowness and materialism and judgment in the Body, because we are JUST as important parts of the Body that cause ripple effects. Man up, generation. Take up our crosses and follow our Lord side by side.

  153. You missed out the most important reason of all, which is all the insistence on this God stuff. I want a church that will teach that God is a metaphor that made sense to our ancestors as a way of explaining the world, but is now best treasured as a historical reminiscence rather than anything with any existence outside our heads.

  154. Where is prayer?

  155. wow. You say a body is for a husband. At least you’re nice enough to say it is “also” for her. And you’re so disconnected you assume all women leaving have husbands. News flash–women today, and they’re right to believe it, see their body as their own and no one else’s. They share on their own terms. I pray for you.

  156. Having been born and raised in church all my life in the same denomination churches are rapidly falling away. We used to have Sunday school, Sunday morning worship, Sunday night service, and a Wednesday night bible study.
    Sadly the denomination I have attended all my life some of there churches no longer have Sunday school, Sunday night service or a Wednesday night bible study. People say we’re too busy for God. Really? Is that the reason why we got rid of Sunday school, Sunday night and Wednesday nights?
    What happen with searching, seeking and following God with our whole body soul and spirit? I truly believe God is going to spit us out of his mouth because we as the church have gone lukewarm towards the things of God as it says in his word.
    When is the last time you heard a salvation message from the pulpit? When is the last time you heard a message on heaven and hell?
    When is the last time you heard a message that smoking and drinking were wrong like it says in the bible?
    When is the last time you heard a message that homosexuality was wrong like it says in the bible? We have so many churches jumping on the homosexuality bandwagon that they must have forgot what god’s word says against it. I agree we need to love the sinner and hate the sin but when the sinner does not repent of his sin then we the church are not reaching them.
    Worship service when I grew up we sang some good old fashion hymns. Now we sing worship songs with a lively band it makes me feel like I’m in a bar instead of church. Some worship services are all about the lights, noise and how loud they can be.

  157. That has nothing to do with why most people are leaving the church. We are leaving because your faith claims are empty and absurd. There is no reason or evidence to believe any of them, and we see the negative effects of believing those lies.
    That’s why you are having problems demonstrating lies. Because you are basing your lives on archaic ancient lies/mythology. Look at the fruit you are bearing. Don’t look to try and arbitrarily change the fruit… you need a new tree. A tree rooted in critical thinking.
    Which is so sad in this modern age. We actually know enough to live a happy successful life based on what is knowable… religious speculation is not necessary.
    Show one credible reason why I, or anyone SHOULD go back, and I will in a heart beat. But until you answer your http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof, we’ll be living our life outside the church.

  158. This is why I love my church…St Paul Presbyterian. We have a Sanctuary building and another building for Sunday School, nursery, fellowship and CHoir practice and Church office. We have a full kitchen because we love to eat but no coffee pot, just the gallon coffee percolator. It is simple and our minister speaks plainly about God’s love. None of the super church activities.

  159. Oh my goodness, someone sent me this article on Dear Church, here’s why people are really leaving you.
    A couple of days ago a bishop said to me that someone had brought in two ladies to the church, but they were wearing pants. His wife later went and purchased dresses for them to wear, but he said that they will not wear them. He also said that if they didn’t put those dresses on that they could not be a part of his church. And in the same sentence said but my main focus is the help save a soul. Oh my God, I could not believe what I was hearing, so I called him later, and told him that I had concerns about what he had said. He denied that he said that. So I continue to tell him that if he is concerned about a persons soul, I didn’t think what a person is wearing should stop them from being a part of a church. He said he had rules, and if anyone did not follow them, they don’t have to come to his church, and he also told me that he was not going to continue to talk to me. WHAT?
    Pastors, Ministers, Bishops, Elders, some of you all have it twisted. Just like a hospital is for the sick, not the well. The church is not for those so called saved people that has been in the church for years, and is still taking up space on a pew every Sunday, you should be strong enough now to get out in the streets, or wherever needed (outside of the church) and help save a lost soul. The church is for the lost, needy, a sinful soul, someone that is hurting, and is tired of the way they are living and that is ready to give there life to Christ. Thank you for writing this article.

  160. I can’t get away with that? What? No, I don’t have to explain my reasoning, or how it relates to Luther’s challenge to the church of his day. I don’t have to do anything.

  161. I’m sad to hear that. People are people no matter the church they attend. Christ’s true church is a lay ministry, and it operates with 100% volunteers. As such, some people will make mistakes, and some feelings will get hurt. But know this, the Doctrine or teachings of the “True” Church are unfaltering, as they came from revelation direct from God to his Prophet. The True Church of Christ does not entertain with bands, loud music or light shows. It is a way of life that demands commitment to get the most out of. I personally devoted 2 years at age 19 to teach people about Christ’s True Church. That experience forged my faith for a lifetime. I’m curious, if any others have left the LDS faith, where then did they find “happiness”? “A religion that does not demand the sacrifice of all things will never have power enough to produce the faith necessary for salvation” – Joseph Smith 🙂

  162. Main reason it’s not real. How is a belief system going to help. Nobody hafto believe they’re problems because they’re real. And the reason churches haven’t changed much in 29 years is clearly you are not.

  163. Also, lack of quality theological education of the congregation. The ad-nauseum repetition of praise choruses, for example, lack the depth, substance and power of living theology. Talk about “love, and joy, and forgiveness, and death, and peace, and God” all you want, but if you don’t understand the power of the Redemption, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Justification, Sanctification, Discipleship, etc. — church is just another feel good, self-help group. FOCUS IS ON JESUS CHRIST. Anything less is not Church.

  164. I remember attending a church service where the entire message was about our duty women to submit to our husbands. This was in Sunday school, I was in middle school.

  165. Correction: our duty as women*

  166. but that’s not what the Bible says…which is what BT is stating.

  167. People, you are the church. You make it what it is. You have a need, it’s your responsibility to go to the pastor and the elders to seek guidance.

  168. It is unfair to expect Christians/churchgoers to be perfect! We are sinners just like everyone else. We just know we serve a forgiving God. Church is a place where all who are striving to develop their PERSONAL relationship can go and be around others who are attempting to do the same. Not all churches believe the same things. There are numerous denominations and it can all get confusing. I am blessed to attend a church where the pastor is college educated. He used to be an extremely successful attorney. Our church volunteers and supports a rescue mission. Just like finding the right doctor doesn’t happen on the first visit, doesn’t mean you stop going to the doctors. It takes work.

  169. I am a lapsed Catholic and one Sunday decided to attend the local service. The priest preformed some of the mass but what seemed like hoards of people were running around on the altar with guitars strumming and humming. The priest didn’t give the sermon, my next door neighbor gave it, trust me this was not a good thing. Where is my religion? Where is the priest except to act as a firgurehead with other people doing his job.

    I went to a friends church with her recently and once again all the lay people were doing all the speaking. Lady stood up to give the sermon and started castigating the Jewish people and Israel. Ok, so not what I was expecting. When asked after the service if it was that church’s policy she replied “I don’t discuss my personal political views”. Her point of view was not this church’s POV but she is allows to preach a political view and it’s ok. NO its not. I won’t be walking in those doors again
    So God and I have a relationship just without the hype and glitz and guitars. I don’t need your lack of leadership, lack of religious conviction, and general lack of overall being a leader. God and I talk just fine without you in the picture.

  170. Cant you all just look at your selves in the mirror and say do I really believe in this because I want to or because I’m scared not to? If you have enough brainpower to log on to a computer and read this then you should be smart enough to admit to yourself the “book of truth” is less likely to have happened then a Superman comic book

  171. I am shocked and appalled that these are the reasons given for people leaving the Church. Why aren’t people just leaving because it is simply incorrect? Or because it is only very loosely based on reality? Or how about because it has no more to offer morally than any mother goose story could provide? In fact, judging by the horrible prejudice displayed by most Christians, I would say it has less to offer. If these are the reasons people are leaving, then all you are doing is saying that people are morons and totally incapable of educating themselves.

  172. Steve and Rueban, obviously not Virginia, my spouse was cheating regularly, church said I had to forgive, he moved in with his lady friend, I had to forgive. Work in the church? Taught 2 classes, did the funeral lunches, worked the food pantry, the homeless week, food drives, sat on committees. A young man was beating his child and abusing his wife, she was told to forgive even as her spouse was sent to jail. Where is the compassion for the woman?

  173. TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH…..

  174. Oops! Prob not. Some of us run around w/a more liberal crowd. 🙂

  175. Oops. Prob not. Sometimes run around w/a more liberal crowd than others! 🙂

  176. This REALLY speaks to me. My youngest daughter just shared it on FB. LOVE TO ALL.

  177. Fab article john! Spot on…

  178. I come to church to be served. That’s why the Puritans and Reformers called it a service. It’s where my soul is served by the living God. The Westminster Confession defines the ordinary means of grace as the Word, prayer and sacrament. Through these I connect with the real presence of God. The pastor is a facilitator, a waiter that brings God’s meal so I can eat at the Lord’s Supper, hear the Lord speak and acknowledge, encounter and engage with the real presence of the living God who resides with my soul through the Holy Spirit. John 17:3 defines eternal life as knowing the one true God through Jesus. I hope those who desire to know the one true God are enriched and refreshed at church, have a meaningful encounter and grow in the knowledge of the truth. I hope those who are looking for entertainment or fire insurance are repelled at the service and realize they don’t belong there. May my church continue to be not about the killer bees: bodies, budgets, buildings, the band and bashes, but about building up the body in knowing God, loving God and being an instrument in His hands the other six days of the week. Praise God for the few Christ-centered churches in the midst of our man-centered church culture. If the sermon is about me and not knowing God through Christ – I run, run, run. If a sermon would be just as acceptable at a seminar or social club – I run, run run. If you want an all-about-me feel-good moralistic or therapeutic pseudo-Christianity there are plenty of motivational speakers, like Joel Osteen, that appeal to the masses who want that false gospel. They aren’t leaving that church. But you won’t like my church. You will run, run run.

  179. I grew up in the church (sadly) and this article misses the mark. Churches are in decline because more and more people see them for the brain washing social clubs they are. Besides that…the masses are waking up to real spiritual truth regarding God/the Universe…that has nothing to do with organized religion. We are all the eyes and ears of God…each pure God experiencing heaven on earth. There is no devil or hell where “sinners” are punished for eternity. And…there is no “savior”. Never was, never will be.

  180. Nice opinion, but grounded only in your personal preferences. There is sufficient evidence to trust the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for those who desire to know Him. Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the one true God (John 17:3). Those who desire to know God will find Him. Those that don’t will define their own God as an idol reflecting their own personal preferences, rather than through revelation. Redemptive history is like an artist’s painting reflecting His attributes. Those who desire to know God will have their desire and be with Him forever and be examples reflecting His mercy and love. And those who only want to use God’s stuff and pretend He doesn’t exist will have their desire too being separated from God and serve as examples of His justice and punishment for a lifetime of dishonor (Rom 1:18-32). They will be like a black velvet showcasing the beauty of a diamond. My statements are not based on my opinion or preferences but revelation. If the Bible is not God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ, the Bible says to pity me (1Cor 15:17-19); otherwise I pity you.

  181. I realize that this comment is public and it will be against what I’m saying in it, but I have not found another way to contact you John, so once you see this, please remove it from the comments. If I had an email or something I would send it to you privately. But here it goes.

    Your statements may be true, but your method does more harm than good. Yes there are problems with the church. But airing it in public does not solve anything. It puts people on the defense, or it starts a venting session. And then people who want to leave the church or have never been in the church see this and it just adds more to the list of reasons to not join the church, because they fight amongst themselves. The church needs to be a united cause. Paul talks about this kind of thing in 1 Corinthians 5. We aren’t supposed to take our problems from within the church and throw it out in front of everyone to see. Because surely someone involved in the church is smart enough to solve these problems (which I think the point of this article is that you have ideas on how to solve it). So I agree with what you’re saying, but you’re hurting the church by trying to help it. Paul wrote letters and addressed the issues in the church, but he sent them to the churches and didn’t post them on the street corner. But people do need to hear these things. And I saw you’re a speaker, so if you aren’t already, I encourage you to talk about these topics when you are asked to speak places. They are extremely valuable.

  182. This addresses some of the reasons that I stopped going to church but it has nothing to do with the reason that I stopped believing in God altogether, which is that there are absolutely no good reasons to think that any such critter exists or has ever existed.

  183. Interesting article. “stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us …”

    Hey church, be like the rest of the world. Don’t tell us what God says is right or wrong, evil or bad…let us make those decisions, you just need to accept and tolerate us. Hey church, stop fighting us on our sins and choices, stop quoting scripture to us because it makes you sound judgmental…hey church, stop using the bible to show us and tell us that how we are sinful…we just want you to shut-up and listen to us….we want you to accept us, be like us, approve of us. Tolerate us or we won’t come. Cater to us or we won’t come. Change your ways or we won’t come. Be more like the world, or we won’t come.

  184. You are woman. Go ahead and write what you want to say. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Be courageous!

  185. The last sentence in point #3, ‘Leave the building.’ I have been saying that for YEARS! What about the unsaved outside the four walls?

  186. I would agree if the American church system was the church. It isn’t we only have these kind of problems, because the system has been teaching love without judgment. The reality is yes people have to come as they are but you can’t stay as you are. You have to be reborn! (Not to use church jargon) You have to be intrinsically different than the you that you want to be. Jesus did go after the outcast, but he gave them a decision. Everyone can not follow him, because narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life.

  187. Ayyyyyyyyy-Men!!!!!

  188. Wonderful! Well written and to the heart of God. I truly appreciate your inside insight. I wonder if it’s God’s desire to fix such a thing as today’s church. Where is there room to see His eyes, wonder at His voice, and simply sit with the lover of our souls? https://darcydowning.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/who-do-you-love/

  189. I would like to see an article/blog describing all that the church is doing to help those in need. The church I attend, houses and feeds the homeless as part of a rotating shelter. We support several missionaries. We support 16 local families with food, utility payments, school supplies and big ticket items (sofas, refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, cars, etc.).We raise money to support a mission that takes care of abandoned street boys in Peru and to help local women and children in need. Yes, we have disagreements. We’re not perfect. And, yes, some judge. But the good outweighs the evil.

  190. I hear what you are saying Virginia. A woman works all week at her outside the home job then comes home and does the mother and wife thing. Then she gets up Sunday morning and flies around the house get kids and husband off to church, so she can come along and listen to a message on how if she loved the Lord more she would give more time to the church for this or that program. There is only one woman who has it worse then you, that would be the wife of a pastor. You know men get much of the same stuff also just in different ways. Here is what I think the cure is. There should be no paid pastors who have all day to sit around and think up church ideas and programs that we should all do to get the approval of good christian, that is handed out by the people who dream up the programs. I bet you if pastors and other church leaders had to spend the whole day working 10 to 12 hrs with drive time before they came home and had to do the father thing and husband thing and then the pastor thing, their messages would be really different and so would their ideas of what a godly christian life is.

  191. I love some Jesus!

  192. […] So… this post has been a long time in the making. For the past decade, every time I read a post by some avant-garde religious/church-planting/emergent/post-modern blogger, I think, “Hmmmmm. I should respond to that.” Then kids need diaper changes, sermons need to be written, and shut-ins need to be visited. Right now, however, I have some time to write a response. I have, once again, stumbled across a blog post that takes its aim at the church. If you care to take a glance at what has precipitated this post, take a gander at the article here. […]

  193. Thank you! Although this article has truths in general I see it shared on social media outlets by Church haters, by those who never attend church at all, but dog it every chance they get and drool over articles like this that further their cause of church bashing.

  194. To forgive is a conscious decision to not hold something against someone weather they ask for forgiveness or not. Forgiveness does not mean you must continue in an abusive relationship. Matthew 6:14-15 explains why we must forgive. If we walk with an unforgiving heart we are not walking in the fruit of the Spirit and we allow the devil access. Also the body of the church (people) with Jesus as the head should be showing compassion for any of their brothers and sisters that are abused and for that manner helping anyone that needs help. Scripture in Hebrews specifically tells us to be kind to strangers. Scripture in Corinthians specifically tells us to help widows and orphans. In all things we must act out of love.

  195. Exactly. With all its faults, I Love the Church….so does Jesus

  196. @ Virginia Moher, God uses the women. Jeremiah said in the last days that the woman shall compass a man. You need to know who you are as a woman. Keep your self esteem up. Know your self worth as a woman. If you have a relationship with God, allow him to give you a peace of mind. Women are doing it all. They are holding down the home and working a nine to five. In some cases 2 full time jobs just to keep end’s meat. Do not allow the so-called church dictate your life.
    If one would really get in this word, and get a concept of what the word is really saying; one would not be so bothered about what the church thinks. One should care about what God thinks. The Lord will judge the church according to its behavior toward mankind. So I encourage you to keep your head up.

  197. @ Mr. Shogren, I beg to differ. There is a woman’s point of view. There is a woman’s perspective. We do have a place in the body of Christ.

  198. I’d like to address the Hobby Lobby issue as millennial who has been working to rejoin the church. Have you ever heard the term “pick your battles?” Hobby Lobby decided as a business that it knew better than its employees. The owners of the business believe that certain birth control methods are wrong. However, the owners don’t seem to understand how the birth control works and claimed it caused abortion when it doesn’t. Hobby Lobby said “we know what’s best for you, not your doctor.” That’s where I had a problem. There were tons of Christians backing Chic-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby because of their “religious beliefs” when, at the end of the day, they’re big businesses just looking to make the biggest profits. Instead of focusing on increasing the profit margins of these businesses, why not focus on actual problems? I don’t really care about the religious beliefs of the owners of businesses I shop at. I have too many problems of my own. My friends have their problems. My family has another set.
    I work 2 jobs to pay bills, and still barely make it. I graduated from college to make $12 an hour. The utilities are on, but barely. My friend has to beg for help to feed her child. Another lost her child at 20 weeks because they couldn’t afford prenatal care. We’re tired. We need help that’s not coming. It’s not coming because poverty is our fault. We’re told that if we actually cared or worked, we would be able to buy a car or house or afford to have children. I’ve been at one job for almost 5 years and make $12 an hour. The other pays minimum. My fiance just got promoted and makes $9 an hour. We’re told that we’re not working hard enough. That we’re undeserving. We’re lazy. We’re entitled. We just want what you had. We want the “American Dream”. We want a full time job that pays a living wage. We don’t want to have to go to work with the flu, praying not to get sent home sick because a lost day of work means we won’t eat or a bill won’t be paid. We want to be able to buy a house or start a family. We were told if you go to school, get good grades, and get your degree, and you, too, can have the house and the family and the retirement plan. But that’s not how things work anymore.
    We think differently. We’re more accepting. We have tattoos or piercings and some of us have kids out of wedlock. It’s hard to go to church when you work Sundays. It’s even harder when you finally do make it and you feel the people judging you. You get the stares and the concerned looks because your dress clothes aren’t new or you’re there with a baby, but not the father. My fiance and I aren’t the same color, and we’ve gotten that disapproving look at church.
    Basically, pick your battles. So much money was thrown into those businesses that could have been spent to, you know, actually help people. There’s a church near me with this huge set of crosses out front. I mean, really massive. You can see them from miles away. They light them at night. Since they went up, I can’t see the stars anymore. Every time I see them, I think about how many people they could feed. How many houses they could build. How many kids wouldn’t have to go hungry. Such a waste of money that could have been better spent actually making a difference.

  199. @ Mr. Young. I was raised COGIC and I do understand some of what you are saying. However, there should be some sort of modesty apparel. When I have worn clothes that were not so modest, I was approached by men of the cloth. There is a lack of love and it is being felt from others who are not so familiar with the doctrine or rule. The church should not frighten people to serve God. What I find usually is that when things like the way 2 dress, or other things that appear to be religious concept is there is a lack of understanding of that word. What people need to know is that one can go to hell for judging. One can go to hell for being self-righteous. Hold your head up my brother and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  200. I have to conclude that you completely misunderstood me, Mildreanne, or else I did not express myself clearly.

    Of course women have a place in the Body of Christ. Half of the people I train for Christian ministry are women.

    But what I heard Virginia saying sounded like, “all women share a common Woman’s Point of View.” That has hardly been my experience as I listened to the sisters, whose ideas vary wildly.

    Nor would I sit still if someone said there there is a monolithic manly point of view. We are all individuals, that is to say.

  201. With Ruben, Steve and the others, I ask that you please do articulate further on this. It’s info we probably need to hear.

  202. So goodness it’s yours all by your self. Pease explain

  203. Not hard to find in my neck of the woods…we have plenty of Episcopal churches. How about if we all try to focus more on the soul than on the outer packaging (gender, color, etc.) Merry Christmas to all!

  204. Are you saying that to belong to your church I need to stop sinning? You fucking hypocrite. Don’t you get that’s the whole problem? That’s why so many of us want nothing to do with you. My relationship with Jesus is between me and Jesus. You don’t want to help me be more godly. You want to judge me and shape me into your smug, self-congratulatory pious image. No thanks.

  205. Basically, I became more skeptical. I need a reason to believe more than I need a reason to disbelieve.

    You don’t have to be able to prove absolutely that God doesn’t exist in order to stop believing that it exists. You merely have to realize that there are no good reasons to think that it does exist and that there are some decent rational arguments against its existence.

    To be more precise, I should say that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no good reasons to think that God exists. However, I’ve been rationally examining these issues for a few decades now and I think it’s very unlikely that there are any arguments for God’s existence which I have not already analyzed and found wanting.

    As for meaning, meaning is personal, not inherent. Something has meaning only to the extent that it means something to someone. My life has meaning because it is meaningful to me and to those who love me. That’s the only source of meaning that I need – and, of course, I see no reason to think that there is any other source of meaning.

    In my view, the concept of “eternal justice” is mere wish fulfillment. We have an instinctive sense of fairness* and it’s only natural to object to the unfairness we see regularly. So it goes. The universe has no awareness of you and I, neither any concern for us. That may seem a bit harsh but I prefer a harsh truth rather than a comforting lie.

    _____
    *When I say that we have an instinctive sense of fairness, I’m basing that on scientific studies with chimpanzees and other non-human primates which strongly indicate that they, too, have a “sense of fairness”.

  206. Yes and the Bible also says women are dirty and can become clean for two turtles. Hmmm….

  207. I was welcomed into a church congregation where I spent a good deal of time and met a few people whom helped me along the way in joining. However, once my spouse and I filed for divorce: all that help and goodwill left. A nun lied about my behavior in a letter written by her and about me. It never made it to a judge. I got to see it though. I went and dealt directly with her and she told me, “It didn’t have to be so bad.” I complained to the priest in charge – “I am not in charge of the nuns.” It’s all take and no give. I was never once invited or offered any information on divorce groups within the church. I asked the priest whom helped me in the past for guidance – something – anything. He did not return my calls. We had to go to a food pantry for food and luckily another church congregation helped us pay our electric bill one month. My kids were supposed to go to private school there and it will not happen. Ever. They are free to believe what they choose, but I will not enable the church here any longer. I will not give my money to support the hypocrisy.

    Besides the above: go look at what members of your flock say in social media posted online. Some of it is terrible. Awful. You don’t get a free pass because somebody died for your sins. Lead by example. Last week I met up with a priest and I said “So when will women be able to be pastors or when will you be allowed to marry?” He was offended. So start treating your flock equally. Be there for them in and choose not to take sides in personal matters. And, answer all questions honestly. Stop being pricks online. That’s a good start.

    Thing is I know the church I had joined thinks the family I was married to is going to gift them a huge amount of money when the matriarch dies. Sorry suckers. I was the one with the money and you won’t see a penny of it.

  208. What part of the country are you in Lisa?

  209. We are in So Cal.

  210. Yes. I can also confirm there are plenty of predators where men in power are having all sorts of sex with congregation members. I grew up attending Baptist services in Bakersfield where the preacher whom married my parents in a big society wedding: was fired for sleeping with someone he was counseling, a woman. “Everyone is flawed” is a copout. To me sleeping with a member of your congregation SHOULD be illegal: like a doctor sleeping with a patient. Christians argue for more church in schools: I argue for more law enforcement in church.

  211. Yes my first wife and I split because she was sleeping with a member of our church. I forgave them all. It was hard returning to the church again and seeing everyone look at us afterward. We changed churches. My second wife would like to study to become a minister and I have told her she should. I feel like women are not taken seriously by religious leaders.

  212. so true! I found myself struggling, unemployed, no food, unable top pay utility bill and a single parent. I went to my church for help and was turned down. why? because I lived in the WRONG school zone. they only helped those who live in area 2 AND i LIVED IN AREA 3 SO THEY REFUSED TO HELP ME. MY CHILDREN ALSO GRADUATED FROM A RIVAL HIGH SCHOOL THEY WERE TOLD THEY COULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN SENIOR NIGHT OR BE RECOGNIZED AT CHURCH BECAUSE AGAIN, WRONG SCHOOL ZONE. I LEFT THAT CHURCH, IT WAS IS A MAIN STREAM METHODIST CHURCH. i NEVER KNEW Jesus ONLY HELPED THOSE DEEMED WORTHY OF HELP BECAUSE OF THEIR ZIP CODE. BUT APPARENTLY IN TH E METHODIST CHURCH THIS IS THE CASE AS all OF THEM i ENCOUNTERED HAVE THE SAME RIDICULOUS RULES. YOU MUST LIVE IN THE AREA THEY REPRESENT.

  213. While there are some things in the article that have some merit, such as the allusion to the corporatation of the American Church, I find this article really misses the point. The point is that in all these failing churches the Gospel is not being faithfully preached and there is absolutely no church discipline. And please, I am really tired of the idea that the church has to meet someone where they are. Yes, Jesus did meet sinners where they were…guess what, He also said he was sent to heal the SICK. He also nearly every sinner He healed to go and sin no more. As far as using dead language…well, that language is the Word of God and it has His power if it is used properly. Just pick up a recent translation and use it, for God’s sake. The author seems to think we can somehow convince the lost…and yes they are LOST and they are SINNERS, to be part of the church ‘group’ without having, in the final analysis, to believe anything….just as long as they feel good that makes everything ok.

  214. The author of this blog needs to get over himself as do the rest of you sheep. John, the problem isn’t the church, it’s attention seeker’ s like you! You are one on a never ending list of people who think they’re the first ones who have finally figured it out 2000 years later. When you take shots at the “Church” , you’re taking cheap shots of millions of people you’ve never known or will ever meet. People like everyone else, people who are trying their best, people who are new in areas and just trying to get involved. As a matter of fact, my wife went to a church plant “community church”, and the only thing we’ve been able to get out of it has been an inside joke we share now since not one single soul came and spoke to us except the pastor and his wife (the business owners essentially). Although I really do appreciate the laugh my wife and I share , I don’t feel the need to go blog to the rest of the world how you church planters “ARE THE PROBLEM” .
    I remember an old preacher in a sermon years ago saying, “all these people going around labeling others close minded, actually are the closed minded ones”. How true. So get over yourself! You want to keep blaming the “Church” (whatever you think you mean by that)? Remember, you’re no different than every liberal chaotic agenda since the beginning, always hating and blaming those who happen to be in the position you’re not. We don’t need a savior Sir, that role was already passed out and its not you. And one last thing, whats made you an expert on racism and bigotry, the problem of racism has more to do with white people like you who would rather give lip service to black people by making them think you’re one of the ‘good ones’, when actually you don’t have the guts to speak the truth in fear that you won’t be liked. Oh , and let me add, it’s always been the few! Big churches, work, bars, your precious little community churches….you get snubbed everywhere, most people ARE out for themselves. News flash….everybody’s got a story, get over it.

  215. Some great thoughts, thanks for putting the time into writing this.

    So, how do we change?

    I suspect the root of the problem is a little deeper than just trying to change our behaviour…

    Maybe the reason we’re judgemental, dismissive and condescending is because we actually live in fear of a God that we suspect treats us like that. Can we truly transform without reforming our beliefs about the One we call ‘Father’?

  216. This article hit the nail on the head in many respects. What it left out was the “wars” being fought by the church are losers. Abortion isn’t going away because you want it to, try to legislate it away and hold protests outside of planned parenthood. If there were a possibility of having the Supreme Court reverse Roe v Wade, abortion will continue anyway, just in back alleys using coat hangers.

    Gays aren’t going away. Call them sinful fags that God hates all you want. They’re not going away. The churches miss these rather critical points time and time again. Hell, the Catholic church is in large part run by a bunch of gay men and they condescend to preach about marriage and childrearing.

    Religion: put a fork in it, it’s done.

  217. That is one place where many Churches don’t understand the difference between forgiveness and restoration. We must always forgive for our own sake. But that does NOT mean we have to maintain relationship with unrepentant or dangerous people. Any Church or Pastor that would recommend staying in those relationships you described does NOT understand the love of God.

  218. A lot of truth to that, sadly enough.

  219. lol we wonder why people won’t stay with the church? We argue all the time like some are doing in the preceding post here( no offense intended, just an observation) Church folks just can’t seem to agree on much and we always must prove our point. Hey, I do it myself far too often I’m afraid. I’ve seen church split after church split over the trivial things and everyone always thinks they are the ones that are right on either side.

    Personally I appreciate this article for its honesty. Of course there are good people leaving the church and good people staying, but the message is being lost in our argumentative ways and our programs to attract fish to our own bowl without our going out fishing for them. Maybe we should preach Jesus message where all are welcomed to trust in him, but also repentance from our own ways. The message of salvation and his plan for his followers to go into the world (yes that includes our neighborhoods as well) and make disciples. A true Disciple will follow the path he sets before them and will, as they grow, realize how little of themselves is really important. There are specific things in the bible that if we would read them without twisting them around to fit our lifestyles, well they would speak to us about how we are to live.

    I’m afraid that most of us Christians *myself again too often) live using a “smoke screen” to both put a holy face on us for others to admire while it also keeps us from accepting truth to change our own lives.

    I have been involved in church all my life until recently when the last church argument caused me to wonder if I want to attend another one. Thanks John p for the honest thought provoking article. Lots of truth in it.

  220. Preach it. If anything, I’d say that they attack everything that’s within them, which causes self destruction than what they could be battling what’s a threat outside of the Church. We’re the first to whimper away when paving for others who attack the Christian faith but throw bombs at the folks who want to be part of Christ. How does this make sense let alone put a foundation of what we could represent to the world around us?

  221. Dear church, here’s why people are REALLY leaving you:

    1) Advancements in knowledge in the fields of Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Archaeology, Biology, History, and Textual Criticism (among others) has revealed that your holy book inspired by an all-knowing, all-powerful God is internally contradictory, contains many historical inaccuracies, and is completely ignorant of science. It also condones genocide, rape, slavery, and homophobia.

    2) With the advent of the internet and more free democratic societies today than at any previous point in human history, the information mentioned above is able to be accessed by and shared with more people than ever before. Anyone with doubts or curious questions is simply a few keystrokes away from finding real answers that haven’t been obfuscated by centuries of theological doubletalk.

  222. So I read this Article and had some good thoughts but then the last part:

    “So yes, Church, even if you’re right, even if we’re totally wrong—even if we’re all petty, and self-centered, and hypocritical, and critical, and (I’ll say it), “sinful”—we’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong; a place where it feels like God lives, and you’re the ones who can show it to us.Even if the problem is me, it’s me who you’re supposed to be reaching, Church.So, for the love of God; reach already.”

    Let’s take this part “We’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong.

    I often want to say Dear People: You belong here, but the Lord is asking you to “Go now, and leave your life of sin” and calls you to Conversion and Repentance. Conversion takes a lifetime, but you are never going to be able to find a Church that suits “your life”. Christ gave us a Church and promised us that “the gates of Hell will never prevail against it.” He set up leaders to help govern it in his absence (to you do I give the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, what you bind and loose on earth, will be bound and loosed in heaven) ordering them to “teach them everything I’ve told you”. He said he would send us an “Advocate” to help guide us.

    We (those who are trained, whether it be laity, priest or religious) have been reaching out, and we’ve done so delicately, but people still do not want to leave there lives of sin. So at certain times giving the harder messages with fervor of “flipping tables” is sometimes necessary. People are not going to like it, just like they didn’t like Jesus’s teachings. But spare the rod, and the children will be happy to wallow in sin, because they’ve never been challenged to sacrifice. Just because the Church isn’t your recipe for success, doesn’t mean you can abbreviate “a place” to suit your way of life. As the prophet Isaiah said:

    …Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…

    The Church and her teaching is like a trainer or a Coach. They are there to help you, to guide you, to tell you what to do so that you can grow spiritually. If you don’t go to the gym, your never going to get physically fit. If you don’t go to Church (the gym) don’t receive the sacraments on a regular basis like the Eucharist (taking your supplements), Reconciliation (Therapy or Rehab) Refresh yourself with Church teaching, writings of the saints, Continuing Adult formation/Youth group/Religious Ed (Weight Trainers) you are going to suffer spiritually and became lazy and sinfully obese.

    The Church, who is guided by the Holy Spirit, wants to teach us how to be Spiritually fit, and sometimes we stay true to our diet and some times we don’t go to the gym at all. For some they have never been asked, some are embarrassed to go because of their excess sin. But it requires commitment and dedication on our part. On the Church as a whole. Meaning the entire community. There is a structure, and the structure works. There are some who cause mechanical blowouts in the structure, but you’re going to find that everywhere, like finding a bad trainer at the gym. The Gym is still a gym, but sometimes you get bad trainers.

    But the training is generally the same (speaking specifically for the Catholic Church at least – forgive me, but the Protestant idealism of once saved always saved seems to be like a looking glass you walk in front of, and instead of showing you your true self – the area’s of sin in our lives -, it only shows you a false identity of what you want to look like. Remember – working out spiritually takes an entire lifetime, and your not going to get that body unless you’ve done the work, gone to the gym, taking your nutrition seriously, and until the Good lord says “Well done my good and faithful servant” only then do you make it home. But Jesus always gives us that Hope and the means to get there. We just have to choose to do it.

    So basically we are reaching and inviting. Some of us do it in different ways, and you may need to find a trainer fit for you. But that trainer should challenge you, should work you to the point were you do feel sore, otherwise your not going to grow. There is a ton of return in all this, but sometimes we don’t want to go through the suffering and sacrifice it takes to get there.

    I leave with G.K. Chesterton, my favorite sinner seeking sainthood’s quote “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton

    Hoped this helped. It’s not perfect, but fount it was my best way to articulate it.

  223. This is an excellent article. Religion in general has evolved from its inception. My hope is for the religious to accept science as a quest for understanding and enlightenment just like most religions without the underlying control club / curiosity curbing aspects. We are all blessed with curiosity and that is at the core of every discovery we have ever made.

  224. How about just going along side God? People don’t need a building to do what’s right or stand up for what’s right. These people that are saying the “church” will lose people if they don’t do this, or they don’t do that. How about the world quit blaming and pointing fingers, and quit waiting for who They think should be standing up for all the right things, and just Stand up for God! Choose His battles,speak His word, be His church for those in need.

  225. If I understand self-esteem correctly, self-esteem is not a good thing. It has to do with how we see ourselves and because we are all under the curse of sin our minds don’t always think rightly. For instance we often compare ourselves to others, which can make us feel either superior or inferior. God’s own chosen people failed to go into the land that God promised to give them because of an incorrect sence of self-esteem. When Moses sent 12 spies into the land to assess the situation 10 returned and gave this report.
    “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their eyes.” Numbers 13:33
    The “sons of Anak” were Giants. If Israel would have seen themselves as God saw them, if they would have trusted Him instead of their own stinking thinking they would have went in and taken the land that God was going to give them. If people would only see themselves as God sees them, there would not be all these issues you all have been messaging about. God sees people as so valuable that even when man had rebelled against He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. He bought us not with silver or gold, but with something much more precious, His only Son.
    So, what does it matter what others think of you? Realize that you have infinite value because you were bought with the very costly thing there was, the blood of Christ Jesus. And don’t even begin to think you are better than anyone else because Jesus shed His blood for ALL who will put their faith and trust in Him.

  226. My take on this article…..who cares…go!!!! Scripture talks about in the last day people will not endure sound doctrine and that will be a great falling away!! This generation has a form of righteousness but denying the power. So, I could care less….get out. Nothing but an apostate anyway!

  227. Okay since this article put forth an opinion, here is one. One lady stated, “My needs were not being met.” The definition for that position is, anthropocentric. It is important we as 21st century Christians remember (since we have evidently forgot) it is not, have never been and never will be about our needs being met. I propose a different position, theocentric. It is about bringing glory to the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the Universe (God). God is the central reason we exist. You want to see a change in your life, your situation, and your future ask this question, “How can I bring glory to God who cared enough to send his only Son as my savior?” I spent many years complaining about my needs and what I needed. An epiphany happened one day when I took my eyes off my needs and focused on what I could do to bring glory to God.

  228. Sell the building and fire the preacher if you want to find out if you are really even the church.

  229. How is a “church plant” supposed to be apart from the Church? Biblically, we are unified under Christ as one. A church plant being considered aside from the church seems hypocritical to me.

  230. A well written account done in love. Let the relationship you have with Jesus be so transparent that other’s will see how much you are in love with Jesus and He with you. That is what will attract them to where you worship when invited.

  231. Your Jesus as you say it Does NOT exists except in your own mind. Jesus came into the world to love and help people but also to forgive them of their sins and tell them to go and sin no more. Yes that is a big hill to climb but climb we must. Do I fall down or slip some on the climb up you bet but he commanded us to climb and to help others on this climb not push them down but to help them up not to judge but to tell them of your own struggles and help guide them on their climb up. We all will never reach the top until after we are finished at the judgement seat of Christ. The path is sometimes hard and lonely but with Jesus by my side and what is the final outcome it will all be worth it to be with him forever. I feel sorry for you Eury. I struggle with things in my own mind and it is all I can do sometimes to go to church with all of what I see is going on behind the scenes. Man is sinfull and truly wicked in every way. The Lord walks with believers everyday to guide them to live better love better believe better care better walk better no where does it say we will be sinless but with Jesus & tue believers we will sin less.

  232. You are spot on. However, as someone else mentioned, you left out the angle of the mature single divorced woman who feels like an outcast. She wants to get involved but is afraid to walk in the church doors alone. In my opinion, it is agony to attend church as a once married woman. I don’t feel like I fit in…anywhere. And please don’t talk to me about singles groups. Been there done that. We need some kind of new community church where all feel welcome…and not judged.

  233. I find it disheartening to look at a church website and see only men listed on the leadership team…and sometimes a woman is listed as “church secretary”…it breaks my heart. Knowing what actually goes on behind the scenes (I’m a minister’s daughter and was married to a church deacon before he ran off with a woman he was having an affair with)…the church “secretary” is often the one person holding it all together…but is paid the least and is not invited to the high level meetings and decision-making.

  234. Pastor Pavlovitz, you simply nailed it.

  235. 1. The church (defined in the Bible as the body of Christ – all those who follow him everywhere- that means those not attending organized religion as well) IS where the pointed finger or public spanking needs to be placed. You see, the Church is responsible for what we allow in organized religion. We are responsible for allowing extra-Biblical notions or rules slip past us. We are responsible for not taking continual spiritual inventory and dropping things that are superfluous, bad for the giving budget, or are flat out untrue. Not organized religion. For whiteout the Church, there is no organized “God fearing” religion.

    2. Do places of worship cater too much to the believer and not the unchurched? I have personally been in a church environment in Knoxville where the childcare NEVER learned my kids names. They never greeted me by name. Why? Because they were SO focused on their ministry for drug abuse, divorce, homelessness, poverty, and hunger. Yes they had a phenomenal worship team (Let everything that has breath praise the Lord – Psalm 150:6) Worship is done with talents (instruments) and praise (voices). There are those who would not come to a service without the worship. Worship draws us close to God. It focuses our hearts. Does it need to go on for 30 minutes? At our current church, we worship as long as it takes. If I want God to draw near to me I must draw near to him and I will praise him gladly anytime anyone is willing to sing of his praises with me.

    3. The message. Theology is something I could take or leave until it helps me understand why things Jesus said matter. When I know that the old testament is a story of a people and a prophecy of a man and the New is the story of a man and the fulfillment of the prophecy, I can start to see why things that used to bore me to tears are important. Such as “the son of the son of”. Are there uninspired ministers trying to just keep the faith as they struggle with spiritual writers block? Are there ministers who flat out teach the wrong thing? Are there ministers who work months and months ahead of time to prepare a series or sermon that they pray over time and again hoping that it will make a difference on not just Tuesday but every day of the week? Absolutely.
    When the church feels a minister is missing the mark, they can absolutely share that with him. He needs to know. What they shouldn’t do is abandon him. (Unless he is a false prophet and then let God deal with that lest we not be judged as harshly as we might want to judge the minister.)

    4. Making excuses for why people leave organized religion is a crutch. At the reckoning, we will all be required to make an account for our lives. If we don’t worship or serve the Lord because we couldn’t find a good church, we won’t be able to blame the buildings we attempted to attend.
    If I want change in my worship facility I can BE that change. I can invite other members into my home for a meal and make a real plan to be the hands and feet of Christ where I see a need.

    5. Is it okay for those unsure of what the Bible actually teaches and what Jesus is really calling us to do to be welcome in a worship facility (fancy or otherwise)? Absolutely! Should that person keep attending once they KNOW what the Bible dictates about certain areas of life should they decide those things do not apply to them? No. We cannot halfway follow him. If people want a life changed and they want the Love and Peace and Joy they MUST take the conviction and the death and die to themselves and their selfish desires. They must be willing to be inconvenienced and broken and truly listen when the Bible says something is unwise or flat out wrong. They must be willing to look outside of what they want or how they planned for their lives to go in order to take up their cross daily and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26) They must be IN the Word in order to know when their ministry team isn’t listening to the voice of God or following his good plans and they must be willing to be the change they wish to see.

    My life is far from easy every minute. The stretching and bending to his will over my own is so rough sometimes. The selfish nature in me to do what I enjoy over what he says is a waste of my time or a dangerous path is very strong. The thing that keeps me strong is knowing that he knows (Jesus) exactly how I feel. His own people killed him. Now those same people beg him for life. He’s been hungry, homeless, beaten, poor, tired, humiliated, and without a church that would hear him. He’s been tossed out for being perfectly perfect. Unwelcome for repeating the exact words his Father had already given the people he was coming to save.

    When we don’t like our options for a church facility/ministry we can start a new one (there is no rule that says you can’t read scripture at your house every Sabath (Sunday) with friends and fellowship and get to the real truth behind what we are called to do) or go to the leaders and express what we are feeling.

    6. Claiming that sex, drugs, and the culture isn’t to blame for their own lawlessness and Godlessness is just absurd. We are all adults. Who is responsible for me or my actions? ME! Is the Bible unclear about wisdom and making good choices and self control? Are the commandments unclear? Does the Bible not warn that lawlessness and Godlessness will be rampant? It’s not the responsibility of organized religion. It’s the CHURCH who is responsible and that means every single person alive who claims that Jesus Christ is their Lord (master) and Savior. Wrong is wrong is wrong. Nobody in a courtroom or otherwise is going to let someone say their life fell apart because the building where they attended organized religion wasn’t up to par or perfectly exemplifying the Love of Christ.

    A big fancy article placing blame won’t get anybody to Heaven and it won’t be a good excuse to give to the one who wore all of our sin on himself on a cross while his Father was unable to even look at him.

    Is organized religion sometimes stale, lacking, sad? Sure! Absolutely even. At the end of this life, I must face Jesus. I must tell him why I didn’t feed that homeless person, why I wouldn’t fellowship with people in a church because I thought they thought something bad of me, why I didn’t try to promote change. We are just as responsible for what we didn’t do as what we did do.

    If I don’t go to a church because of their worship style or their words (tell a pastor if you can’t understand him! Tell him! He needs to know!), if I don’t go because I don’t think THEY give enough to the community, if I don’t go because I haven’t decided how I feel about God’s way of doing things and I’m afraid they won’t want me there, if I don’t go because because because, am I really any better than the very thing I’m criticizing? Or, perhaps it’s a good excuse to not have to get uncomfortable?

    When people write things like this with no real “help” plan, are they stirring the pot or making peace?

    Lastly, on Chick Fil A – The Christian community wasn’t being bigots. They were defending discrimination agains what they hold to be true from their scripture.
    The “Church” didn’t get Phil Robertson a show. A&E hired them. (By the Grace of God in my opinion, but nonetheless..)

    Race baiters like the “Reverend” Jesse Jackson aren’t the representative for the “Church”.

    My prayer for anyone who reads that articles is that they ask the Lord to find them a community to worship with where their offering of themselves can multiply. I pray a revival for all who want to fellowship but don’t feel welcome or comfortable. I pray that all who have excuses why they aren’t worshiping will be comfortable getting uncomfortable and go out and be the hands and feet of Christ instead of waiting for an organized facility to come and woo them into feeling at home there. This is NOT our home. Jesus is wooing us. He is our home. Here we are to get with the others like us and go be the example of Jesus to those not like us. That includes a lost or stale or flashy or whatever kind of organized worship facility.

    (sorry if I have typos. Brad says everything I write has them) xoxo

  236. fantastic, i totally and completely agree. As a christian struggling with so many issues, the church just does not seem to get it.

  237. It’s a good article. Of course, one of the first steps in reaching the lost is acknowledging that most of us Christians seek to follow a sin free life, but do still occasionally stumble. Unfortunately, those stumbling blocks that we fail to avoid are fodder for those who want to keep on sinning INTENTIONALLY and they use the stumbles as a shield for their purposeful defiance of the Lord. Nevertheless, we still need to realize that our stumbling blocks are stumbling blocks for those who may be watching our walk rather than our talk.

  238. Well put Eric. I ‘m in recovery from “church.” The problem is I love The Lord. I hunger for more of God and got beat down in my pursuit of God. The Bible states clearly about not forsaking the gathering of believers together but, whew! I was active in ministry and tried to put ministry behind me and just help people. Now, I am gently being wooed back to fellowship, by God, and I am petrified of making a commitment to a local church again.

  239. As a former music minister and church goer, I will agree that love is seriously lacking in the church. I have a good friend who says “Church is the only hospital who routinely kills its wounded. ” We have developed into a people who are so competitive. Denomination against denomination, church against church, theology against theology, program against program, Minister against Minister, and congregant against congregant. We have become a people who don’t reflect the one we’re named after in the effort to win some invisible prize. We spread our Christian feathers and enter into useless and often hateful debate. We kill each other to claw our way to the top of some invisible and highly coveted spiritual recognition. Our best tool is to try to discredit the competition. We tell the stories of Jesus and we sing songs and we drag Jesus name through the mud with our ignorance of what his love really looks like. We are obsessed with teaching people how to avoid sexual sin, but little is said about gossip and backbiting. Gossip is a type of murder that is not only allowed, but we create avenues like prayer chains to facilitate and make gossip spiritual. And we stand leaders up and make them confess if they have fallen into sexual sin, but we call gossips intercessors and give them honor and a platform to sin and destroy people. In church, we can’t share our struggles, and we don’t know our temptations are normal, because the blood thirsty gossips are seeking who they may devour. Instead of being able to share our burdens, we are ashamed and fear that we will get knocked off the spiritual ladder and marked for life. And so we find non-church people who don’t look down their nose at our inability to control our “thought life”. We spend a few years out of church and discover that we can put down that false front we put up to protect ourselves from the vultures, and we found a more authentic faith that isn’t motivated by fear or ambition. And when we visit churches or talk with church people, we get sick at our stomachs that nothing has changed. We feel pity. And we don’t want to get caught up again.

  240. Virgina- Do I KNOW what you mean! I was publicly humiliated in a church for several years. I was accused of so many things that I do not have time to say them all. I was preached at and laughed at by leaders. The only reason I stayed is because the presence of God was there, and in recognition of the fact that the clergy are themselves only human kept me sane. The problem seems ultimately to be twofold: 1. there are people who think they have never sinned, or at least in such a Holy position that they are somehow Holier than others, and 2. SOME of the problems I have faced in churches is from men who were actually in lust and rather than to admit that they project it onto the woman. So wrong. Another problem is that people get their ideology confused with their theology. By that I mean, they want all kids raised by single moms to be raised the same as if they were in two parent households, yet they demand the Moms to work outside the home. They refuse to lift a finger to help in any practical way since, if they were REALLY saved Jesus would take care of their needs. Or at least that is the attitude. Then when anything goes awry, of course it is that sinner single Mom’s fault. God help us!

  241. So on point! Pastors in lofty positions that in their minds are the end all to others opinions, thought or insight are a huge turn off. It’s sad that a person that has been given an incredible position to help others become better people only want them to become what they think is right.

  242. Funny, how it is the churches in our community that are helping to feed and clothe the poor students in our neighborhoods. Whose members show up to tutor and mentor students. We have a corporation that encourages it’s workers to also help in Lead to Read programs. But it is the church goers that are helping pay bills to get heat, electricity and water back on, giving food every week, working with Harvesters to give a weekend worth of snacks to kids. Collecting and donating school supplies, coats, gloves and scarves. You only see what you want to see. Those of us in the trenches of the urban neighborhoods see the good being done by caring Christian churches. Come on in….they need all the help they can get

  243. A man left a comment that basically said the people that feel this way were not ever regenerated, or saved. To this point of view I say that God is the author of love and it is love that regenerates. It regenerates our mentality and our spirit to love in return and there is strong evidence that love even regenerates us physically. If we expect the “church” as an organization to love then it is we that are disallusioned. Love is given by people and it is given by people out where people are. Organizations can help people but they cannot love. Love has to come from people.

    Others are offended that an organizations doctrines are not fiting to their own beliefs. If we are offended by what others say and it draws us further from God then it is within ourselves that we should look. I can disagree with what someone has said without hating them or changing my relationship with God. In fact, it strengthens my relationship with God as I look to him for answers and sometimes it takes a long time to come to grip with issues but God is faithful and patient to teach.

    And to those that speak of the pride and privilage of church memebers remember that the greatest amoung us and those that serve others, Jesus’ words. As James said, true religion pure and faultless before the Father is looking after the orphans and widows and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world. These are acts of individuals and not an organization.

    In WWIIII the prudential rule was, “when in doubt, win the war” In Gods word the prudential rule is, ” when in doubt, love.”

  244. I’m not Virginia, but I would have liked a church a friend of mine attended to not have pressured her into having children, because that’s what women are suppose to do. Pressuring her even though she had Type 1 Diabetes, which had been destroying her body, since childhood. They should have told her to take care of other’s children, so that her children wouldn’t have had to be raised by another woman, since she died having those 2 kids, one who has many physical problems, because of her health problems.

  245. Oh, and then there was the church who pressured single moms who were barely making it on their welfare and child support checks to tithe 10% of those checks, never offering to help feed them or buying their kids clothes. Wanting the mothers to marry the same kind of jerk they divorced in the first place, just to be married.

  246. We’ve been answering the questions above. Another example, a church who forced a young woman not to turn in her father for molesting her, and “forgiving him”, and now he is molesting his granddaughter. Her great aunt turned him in, because she is a teacher and is required to report abuse, but she is shunned now by that part of her family.

  247. Pointing fingers and making excuses ,and complaining are not talking points.

  248. And this is exactly why the people of the church should BE the church. No designated pastor/priest to take our money to support themselves (which is against the teachings of Christ by the way) and that’s the only one who teaches and reads the bible to use. NO. WE are the church. The Priest/Pastor should serve his position as a worthy member of the congregation. In the LDS church we call them Bishops. They are unpaid members of the congregation who are called to the duty for anywhere from one to several years as the needs of the congregation are met. There are many other callings that are filled by other members of the congregation, counselers, teachers, choristers, you name it. All voluntarily and without pay. We support each other and teach and learn from each other and follow the teachings of Christ as laid out upon the holy scriptures. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a group of individuals who set themselves on pedestals above us and fill their pockets in servitude to themselves. Jesus would have words with these people much as he threw the merchants out of the temple for turning it into a market of mockery.

  249. Tithing should be paid on your INCREASE, not on your gross receipts. If after tabulating your needful expenses and paying those things, what is left over would be your increase. If you are barely paying your bills, then you owe no tithes. THIS is the way of the Lord. If however you voluntarily pay more than a tenth of your increase, then blessed be ye. And if you are a needful recipient of tithes through your church, then also may the Lord bless you. It’s too bad most churches pay themselves (which is against the teaching of the Lord btw) The needful that should be their charge get little of what remains. Find a church whose Pastors/Priests /Bishops are unpaid.

  250. A man (or woman) should not put away his spouse except for the cause of fornication. This is a direct teaching of Jesus Christ that is in the new testament. Jesus understands the breaking of the solemn bond of matrimony and what mental damage this does to the relationship, which is why this is the only exception made. Blessed be the woman who can forgive a spouse of this. But yea, unto you is also given permission to leave upon the breaking of this bond. It is a shame that so many Churches don’t even seem to understand the teachings that are right under their own noses.

  251. Dear John (and everyone else),

    Please stop scapegoating atheists for the supposed lack of
    morality in our modern age. Most of the finest people I have ever known have
    been atheists. Why? Because we choose
    to be good, rather than being forced to be good by something that supposedly
    told you to be good – or else. Your forced charity does not hold a candle to
    our choosing to be charitable.

    Of course I realize that in your otherwise extremely well-written
    piece here, you’re not blaming us specifically, but you did include us in your
    list of usual suspects. You are thus propagating discrimination against the
    single most persecuted minority in human history: those who do not believe in
    the supernatural.

    But I do forgive you.

  252. Forgiveness is separate from Justice. You can forgive a man for what he has done, but still see him to his justice. If the crime is great and the Law demands recompense, you can still forgive. You can forgive your child for what they have done, while still seeing the necessity of punishment. So are we in the eyes of the Lord.

  253. “Paid” is the evil root of this entire problem…

  254. Mistranslation by monks…

  255. But this is why people do not want to attend church. My sister decided to leave this church, but she felt she had not right to go to another. I know she should because I know a few, very few churches who truly follow Jesus’ teaching, instead of just worshipping his death. I’m sorry some churches ruin it for all, but that’s what happens, unless other churches aren’t willing to condemn these greedy practices.

  256. But this church didn’t practice justice. They did nothing to protect the victims, except make the creep promise not to do it again. They continue to do this and put pressure on the female victims to keep their mouths shut, because this is the man of the house, and they should follow him. This is one of the reason that sane people have left the church. Get it?

  257. Probably should check the actual stats before a post like this. More people are attending church on a regular basis in America than ever before. The church is the bride of Christ. I’m not too keen on someone slamming my bride. I doubt that Jesus is either.

  258. we need to encounter Jesus, not church, this is why I love silent Quaker worship, we encounter Jesus, He is the word made flesh. He speaks to us in the silence and through the bible. Shut up and listen, listen for the spirit. God is here, Jesus is right here with us at every moment and in everyplace we are.

  259. Or you write articles and blogs about this topic. This is another one to add to your list.

  260. 10 % of your income is God’s money. To keep it is stealing. You are to give with a cheerful heart and for that God will bless and take care of his flock. If the church is going by scripture then it’s their place to take care of one of their members not the governments. As far as the marriage goes, if they are living for God and are really listening to him, he wouldn’t give them some one that is not worthy. Prayers for the situations.

  261. In the book of “Acts” it is written, ” And the Lord added to the church daily those who were to be saved.” My friend, God is the one who adds to a church. We are to be faithful to Him in our lives and our calling. All the “doing ” in the world will never cause God to do that which HE isn’t directing.

  262. Not sure what benefit there is of slamming the bride of Christ. The stats are also not accurate. While weekly attendance is down, the raw numbers of people attending evangelical churches in America is up. Frequency of attendance of all churches is down (largely due to sociological reasons and including non-evangelical groups), but the total numbers of people attending Gospel-proclaiming churches is up. Churches are made up of people, so there will be flaws. But I don’t appreciate people slamming my bride, I doubt Jesus does either. A lot of what is said in this article is pure opinion. Some of the most effective churches that are reaching their communities and seeing lives transformed and healthy growth, are doing many of the things Pavlovitz is slamming them for. That’s exactly what Jesus (and Paul for that matter) told us not to do. We are not to judge others for things that are not in Scripture. This post was painting the whole church with a broad brush, full of judgmentalism and negativity, exactly the kinds of things that if found in a church or a pastor, would drive people away.

  263. Cop out

  264. Seriously? I wrote a comment twice with reasonable criticism of this article, and you deleted it twice. You will post an article that slams the Body of Christ but when someone adds a comment with sincere criticism of that article, defending of the Body of Christ, you censor the comment? Do you only allow comments that are supportive of your articles? That’s not operating an honest blog. That’s not real dialog.

  265. Well, I don’t think we should burn down the brick and mortar buildings, Joe… c’mon. We still need a place to “call home.” Someplace for the lost to “go” when they take the initiative – and you’re home, on-line. (sorry!)

    We need only to look at what worked before to keep the Church, not just growing, but thriving:

    “Then the Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the HOLY SPIRIT. It grew in numbers, living in the FEAR of the LORD” (Acts 9:31).

    (pssst… the Holy Spirit is the missing ingredient)

    I confess, I did find this advice on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x23w6UPpmSY (Youtube: Derek Prince – The Lords Treasure – The Fear of the Lord)

  266. I’ve been a Christian for over 14 years and recently left ‘church’. I still love Jesus…
    Call me crazy but, it could be possible that the current trend may be the hand of God working on the Church. I personally do not believe that the current Church could fix any of these problems that John writes about. Do you see Christians changing their vocabulary? No way, they are going to hold on to their vocabulary at all costs. Do you see them feeding the homeless instead of going to war over a stupid reality show? While I do believe some well meaning pastors will get on here an say these problems have been fixed in their church, I doubt it. We’ve exchanged a simplistic gospel for lights, show and the american corporate model. Until that changes the Church in america will continue to see the exodus.

  267. Your problem was relying on the Church to help you instead of going to God directly for the help. The Church is dead and the only. Real truth is inthe personal relationship you have with God. The Church is Human and to err is human, so why look to Man for your answers.

  268. Virginia, I’m very sorry that you did not find God’s redeeming love and encouragement at the church you attended. I’m sorry you weren’t encouraged in the corporate worship of Almighty God. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. All churches are not like that. I hope you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and are daily striving to be pleasing to Him. There is no shame or guilt in doing that.

  269. Creative interpretation!!!

  270. There are good churches. Focus on worshipping the Almighty God, not finding wrong in the church. Find a church where the Word of God is being taught and attend. It only hurts you if you don’t go – Satan wins!

  271. Unfortunately where the pastor is unpaid, he is so busy with a paying job to get a salary to provide the basics for his family and make up the slack from the lack of giving/tithing flock that he really doesn’t have time to pastor his flock except to give the Sunday sermon. Like it or not the church has expenses. In the years following the ascension of Christ to heaven, followers of Christ provided the needs of the apostles. We should be doing same now so the pastor can pastor instead of selling coffee to make ends meet.

  272. I mean, those are all very interesting points, but – in general – the mega-churches that fit the picture you describe are actually doing JUST FINE. In fact, most are growing. The churches that are steadily dying are smaller (300 or less), denominational churches. So, maybe that’s why YOU left the church, but as a diagnosis of the problem, the math just doesn’t work. The ONLY churches thriving currently look exactly as you described.

  273. Turtle doves. As in birds.

  274. This is a correct pick lousy battles, unactive in legislative matters, act ‘blessed & highly favored’ on executive & judicial matters, yep too much literature speaking that barely get too the exact point, and they have more unadressed scandal in theirs than putting mine on the scale. What more can be a said

  275. The church has lost it’s way! They allow people dressed like thugs do the worship music, sounds like rap and have “night club” lights and most of the time, they are jumping around like monkeys! What ever happened to order in the church?

  276. Al so, maybe a different church, sounds like the one or ones you attended may not be the right fit.

  277. All I can say is, “Thank You.” I have been involved in serving the local church for over 20 years and it has come to lack meaning. I know I am part of the problem, but I thought the church was supposed to help me. All I got was the information that I need to be more mature and serving more was the way to maturity. I felt more lonely in church than I did without. It hurt to leave but it hurt more to stay. I’m now trying to redefine church by trying to be community. Praying that this is what God wants me to do.

  278. I understand why people left THAT church. Yes. One thing that is important to understand. The Gospel of the Lord is perfect. However, it has been recorded and written by imperfect people. And it is administered today by people who are also imperfect. True perfection of the church of Jesus Christ will not occur until the second coming. We can only try our best to follow with our imperfections.

  279. Wow powerful article and much of the reason I did not go to church today. And yet, my heart knows that there are churches that fulfill much of this. I found one that loved me back to life. They were not perfect but they loved my imperfections along with everyone elses. Good people who loved God. I miss them. had to move back home last summer. Boy do I miss them. They really gave me HOPE!

    And that tithing thing… I know this may sound strange… but years ago I had a divine encounter with God who walked me through understanding this principle. In the process he took me from welfare, eviction and poverty—-To owning my own business, multiple real estate ventures, and global travel. if you want to hear the story here is a link to the testimony… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK4xwuQkZE4

  280. Not really. The law of increase is exactly what was practiced in Jesus’ day. If a shepherd had less flock one year than he had the last, he was operating at a loss, and therefore had no increase. can you imagine if your flock only increased by 5% per year but you gave away 10% of the total flock? Eventually your flock would dwindle away. This would be bad accounting and makes no sense. It is also important to interpret needful things and expenses, not optional luxuries. If you split hairs too much with the Lord, he will split hairs with you. So if your flock increased by 5% and lets say that was 14 sheep, then your tithe would be 2 sheep of your increase, because you always round up in the Lords favor. And also any extra milk gained in excess of the family needs would be tithed too.

  281. The LDS church seems to function fabulously. Maybe it’s because we all pitch in? Hmmm….

  282. Pamela, How many churches do you know that look after their own, they are so busy looking after others outside the church but the single mother/father and widow is sitting next to them in the church pew and they don’t even know they are battling….

  283. FIRST OF ALL, WE DON’T BELONG TO OURSELVES, WE BELONG TO GOD FIRST PERIOD. SECOND PEOPLE AREN’T GETTING IT. THEY GO THERE TO GET SOMETHING OF GOING TO CHURCH, SHAME ON ALL WHO THINK THAT WAY. YOU ARE THERE TO GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD FOR YOUR LIFE AND ALL YOU HAVE AND DONT EVEN APPRECIATE IT. AND IF YOU KNOW YOUR BIBLE, IT SAYS IN THERE THAT GOD IS NEVER CHANGING. JUST CAUSE THE WORLD LIVES ONE WAY DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOING TO BE THAT WAY IN HEAVEN SO IF YOU WANT TO GO HOME, SHAPE UP AND GET A CLUE, MODESTY IS GOD’S WAY AND FOR THOSE WHO SAY THAT THEY, THE MINISTERS AND PRECHERS ETC. THAT THEY NEED TO GET OUT INTO THE WORLD AGAIN YOU’RE NOT GETTING IT. WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIVE FOR THIS WORLD OR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT IF YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUR LIFE TO GOD. DENY YOURSELF IF THAT IS YOUR GOAL. REMEMBER THIS IS SATAN’S WORLD NOT GOD’S WE’RE ONLY PASSING THROUGH UNTIL WE ARE CALLED HOME. THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE CHALLENGES WHICH YOU MUST PASS LIKE IT OR NOT. SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WHAT CHURCHES AREN’T DOING TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF AND OBSERVE IF YOUR WAY OF LIFE, ACTIONS OR WAY OF THINKING WOULD BE ACCEPTED IN HEAVEN. MY GUESS IS NO. SO QUIT BEING SO SELFISH AND QUIT MAKING GOING TO CHURCH ABOUT YOURSELVES. IT’S ABOUT HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD/JESUS PERIOD AND BRING THANKS TO THE ALTAR AND HEARING HIS WORD. IF YOU CAN’T COMPREHEND WHAT I JUST WROTE THEN YOU WILL NEVER KNOW TRUTH. AS LONG AS THERE’S ACTIIVITY ON EARTH, THERE’S ALSO ACTIVITY IN HEAVEN. AND JUST CAUSE YOUR PRAYERS AREN’T ANSWERED DOESN’T MEAN GOD HATES YOU OR YOU NEED TO GIVE UP ON HIM AND TURN ATHIEST. HE NEVER GAVE UP ON YOU. ONE LAST THING, GOD SEE’S US ALL AS HUMAN BEINGS NOT MEN AND WOMEN. THAT’S EARTLY DONIG, NOT GOD’S. HE HAD A BEAUTIFUL PLAN AND JERKWADE HAD TO SCREW IT UP FOR EVERYONE SO NOW EVERYONE ACTS LIKE A BUNCH OF IRRESPONSIBLE LITTLE BRATS JUST CAUSE THEY CAN’T HAVE IT THEIR WAY. WELL TOUGH, SUCK IT UP CAUSE IF YOU EXPECT TO BE CHIRSTIAN, YOU’RE IN FOR IT. I SUFFER PAIN, SEIZURES AND WHEELCHAIR BOUND AND I DON’T BITCH ABOUT IT OR HIM DONIG THIS TO ME. IT’S CALLED BARRING YOUR CROSS, YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY NOT GETTING IT IF YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS ABOUT WOMENS RIGHTS. ENOUGH WITH THE DAMN RIGHTS, IT’S A CRUEL GAME THE BIGWIGS CAME UP WITH TO SEPARATE FAMILIES WHICH IS ANOTHER SUBJECT AND NOT GETTING INTO IT. YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL EVERYDAY TO GOD THAT HE EVEN “ALLOWED” YOU TO WAKE UP ANOTHER DAY BECAUSE HE COULD HAVE TAKEN YOU IN OUR SLEEP. SO IF YOU WANT TO GRIP ABOUT WHAT WOMEN AREN’T ALLOWED TO DO REMEMBER YOU HAVE ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE TO LIVE AND THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH. DAMN SPOILED SOCIETY!

  284. Blessed to your words I was brought up it a Pentecostal Church and when I had my child I attended a COGIC church for 3yrs because I was a single mother everybody was telling me I need to be married dont where this,don’t have male friends, I found myself so depress and I just lost my mom to illness it was hard. I do not attend a church, I am a Rastafarian I been living a natural lifestyle I talk and pray to Jah and it truly is the best for me. I dont shun churches I just dont see me there.

  285. You get what you sow ,you get out of church,what you put into it.sow love,you reap love .Sow discord,you reap the same.Church of the Highlands ,where i attend is a life giving church,but even there,personal responsibility is required.

  286. I’m not spoiled. I am allowed to complain if I don’t like how I’m beating treated. I respect your experience and your religious choices. Please do the same for me.

  287. Amen!

  288. All valid points, but number four hits home for me. We are too busy trying to make government do the church’s job to remember to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. I don’t believe in creating entitled people, but there are so many ways to help those who legitimately are going through bad times and trying to help their families. Compassion and mercy are what Jesus preached, not hatred, name-calling, and arrogance.

  289. It’s clear that this guy has a better knowledge of several churches “issues” and he’s accurate on several points. However, my problem is that we, those complaining from the inside of the religious community, are airing our dirty laundry in the presence of people who don’t realize that their many different kinds da of church and completely opposite points of view. Progressive and dare I say it liberal Christianity is not being heard. Cooperative more universal version of the old old story are the solution to these problem, not religious physical and societal iconoclasm. Unfortunately, articles like this are being reposted by Atheists who propose just that solution, a world without faith.

  290. Of course, meeting personal needs is all church is good for. (Sarcasm)

  291. I’m sorry, I found this article to have a bitter, biting tone to it. Having been in church ministry many years, I’m aware churches have their faults. They are full of humans. Most churches are doing the best they can. Their leaders are praying, and yes, daring to innovate. I think it is wrong to take a large brush with your criticisms and aim them at all churches. And, by the way, it could be the things you’ve listed are things you don’t like, not necessarily what’s wrong with churches. You have now used your public platform to open the floor to that which is probably most harmful to churches: fault finding based on personal preference. Please remember that if there if “stuff that needs to be said” it needs to be said in love, not in this critical, bashing, sarcastic manner.

  292. as your response’s connotation implies that you read it with the same tone. Furthermore, proves his point when you choose to respond by deflection and picking of his “flawed” perspective instead of actively listening with empathy. Your fear of churches being generalized because you did when you read this , undermines the message in this essay and is generalizing itself, cause it implies everyone’s reading comprehension is performed in the same fashion like yourself.

  293. I don’t know where you live, but wow you need to find another church. Where I’m from, our little church is a family and LOVE is what we are about. You’ll never hear about the OLD teachings of the woman staying home etc stuff other than maybe in the use of explaining just the differences of then and now. We’re are pretty old school when it comes to church. We have contemporary praise and worship, but that’s about it. You’ll not find all the light and stage shows, instead you find people who love God, and love his people. No humans are prefect and the same for true christians. I pray that one day you find that church of comfort and love as we have! May God truly bless you!!

  294. Could’ve sworn Jesus wasn’t big on churches anyway. Love and develop faith however you and your relationship with God deems fit. In the end, it’s your responsibility for your actions, not the churches. Think people have become to comfortable with seeking outside of themselves, instead of turning within and meditation. It’s okay to seek advice, but ultimately, it’s still your decision and only God can judge.

  295. Wow the commenters really digressed here. I’ll just say amen to your article 110%. So often I feel guilty about my feelings towards church. This article makes me feel at least legitimized that its not just me.

  296. Tired of seeing so many pastors, preachers putting down and being critical of other churches and pastors and preachers for the way they choose to bring in the people to hear Gods word. Everyone is different and each may choose a different type of church or pastors way of delivering Gods word. Judging others for any reason is NOT ok if you read GODS word.

  297. She walks into the room and sits next to you at the table. She’s
    the guest of honor tonight at the rehearsal dinner. She’s the bride, and she’s
    pretty, but not perfect. So you tell the whole table about it: her warts, her
    gas, her morning breath, her character flaws, her idiosyncrasies, and the most
    embarrassing moments of her life. You’re the brother of the bride, and tonight
    you’re going to have your fun… until the Groom takes a seat. Then what?

    Let’s extend the metaphor. Your name is John Pavlovitzl, the Bride is your sister
    the Church, and you’ve just spilled most of her weaknesses to all who are
    within earshot. And one day the Groom will sit down.

    I’m sure He’ll see that you meant to be complimentary… most of the time. I’m
    sure that He’ll see you were trying to help. But you hurt her feelings. You
    compared her to some fashion magazine cover that you think she should be, some
    composite-photo-air-brush-job that she can’t possibly be, that you think is
    beautiful–and you made her feel nasty in the process.

    You’ve besmirched her reputation in public, and you think you’re going to win
    her affection? You want her to trust you? You want to bear the ring that she
    will use tomorrow on her wedding day?

    Let’s not trade the hope we have for a Kingdom that is coming for petty
    bickering over kingdoms that won’t last. Let’s not be tools of anyone but our
    King.

  298. “5. Your love doesn’t look like love.” Love that point and the way you described that. Spot on.

  299. WOW! Just WOW!
    Speechless…in the best kind of way.
    I think.

    Thank you…

  300. ….its not about you or us……its all about Jesus! Live like his sacrifice on the cross means something to you. Stop whining about how your precious need arent met….Every need we have can only be fulfilled by him. What about Gods call on your life? When will you be the hands and feet? Pull your weight? If your coming to church cause you need something don’t look to me I’ll just let you down. Keep your eyes on Jesus he will fulfill your needs.

  301. My late pastor Wendell Thomas said “if you give like you love Jesus it will always be enough.” God knows our heart, he doesn’t need our money, he just wants our heart. When he has that, it all works out, giving, living, loving, etc.

  302. I agree! There are many God seeking churches out there, we just hear about the not so good ones. If your heart truly wants to find a good church, God will send you there!

  303. If Christ dying on the cross for your sins and a home in Heaven isn’t enough to make you stay (as He commanded) than nothing will. If you want to do more… do more.

  304. You say that people are going to church to get something out of it and we should be there to give thanks to the Lord. If that is true, can’t we praise and worship the Lord at home? Do you think that you have to make an appearance in church in order to pray and worship the Lord? We go to church for guidance and inspiration – if this is wrong than why do we even have churches and/or ministers?

  305. I totally agree with 1-3. However, I don’t really agree with #4. I keep seeing the kind of thinking that goes along the lines of “Because there are bigger bad things, we should ignore the smaller things.”Of course the church should tackle poverty, and freeing people from slavery… and they do. The reason you don’t hear as much about those things is because they are non-controversial. But I also think the church really should support people in the spotlight who are trying to live according to God’s Word, and get attacked for it. It’s not only an attack on Christianity, it’s also disturbingly anti-freedom to see people who don’t think like the world does being threatened like they were. All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  306. I do see that the church has become based on “denominational rules” when none of these things will be ask of us at judgement. What will be ask is what have you done for me (not what did the church do for you). Many people complain about what the church did not do for them but in turn …what did you do for the church? That’s where happiness is found to me and that is serving not being served. How much time do we spend feeding ourselves on His word during the week rather than expecting the preacher to solve all problems in a one hour service on Sunday morning. Sometimes…we have to put in effort to become like Christ by studying and serving rather than thinking all responsibility falls on the church. A relationship is based on 100% effort on all involved and our relationship with Christ/church is no different.

  307. Thanks, Dave. Your encouragement is appreciated, and I feel exactly the same. However, it doesn’t change the fact that we are supposedly offering exactly what this post says is missing in churches today, and yet none of the young folks who are leaving the old school are finding their way to us. We have put ourselves out there in dramatic ways, but the response of young visitors to the very thing they are looking for, as I mentioned, is to back carefully out the door and never come back. I want to reach those folks, but it feels like a lot of talk and not much follow through.

  308. I hear ya, brother. I am in the third largest city in the nation, and I experience the same thing. But I told my little band of hard-scrabble believers and seekers that I had no intention of going anywhere.

    But I still wonder where this magical holy grail – the dispirited youth – is hiding. Come out, come out, wherever you are! Sometimes it feels like Bro. Pavlovitz and others like him are just putting out a “grail-shaped beacon” (pardon the Python reference).

    Maybe what we need is an article on how to find this mysterious group without selling out and going “Willow-lite” which is what still seems, at least from my perspective, to be drawing them.

  309. Right. And I’m hesitant to pine after the mainstream. I don’t want to sound jealous at all – I’m not. I have NO desire to be the mainstream, but it would be nice, in a town of 76K in the middle of a metropolitan area of millions, if a few of those folks would come out of the woodwork, y’know? But I’ll keep looking…

  310. This is why I left, especially #5

  311. Also, I know exactly what you are saying. Before I launched this church, I visited tons of places just like you’ve described and found these vibrant, growing churches that just looked like chips of the old Willow Creek block. Great preaching. Great music. But I could walk in and walk right back out without anyone even noticing I was there.

    What I see is article after article and book after book about how the young are leaving churches like Willow (and even more the churches that are still living in the 50’s) because they are looking for something authentic. And yet, when they find it, it’s too scary for them.

    We put our money (and our time) where our mouth is – that’s why we have more homeless at our church on Sunday than any other church in town, because when we say we love people where they are, we mean it. We can’t help them the way the big churches can, but we give them community that they can’t fine elsewhere.

    I still believe in what we’re doing, regardless of who comes, but I just want to know how to find these young people that everyone’s talking about. And in the meantime, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s the right thing to do.

  312. My, how predictably sexist of you.

  313. Sorry, but the way this article is written, makes it sound like our churches would grow like mad if we stayed silent on social issues in the world, kept out of the battle for our culture, and allowed gay marriage in our churches. Yes Sirree, that’s the way to grow! Let the world dictate our teachings, so that we can look more tolerant and loving to their sins.
    This pastor is weak and caving to society’s wicked pressure and frankly, I’m sick of weak pastors. I want the black robe regiment of the Revolutionary War times, who were not afraid to proclaim the word of God, and live their faith out in every aspect of their life, including their politics.
    We already have PLENTY of churches who want to stick their heads in the sand and be politically correct. What this world needs is more boldness to stand up for truth, more Bonhoeffers, and more Christ’s strength and courage to say what is not politically correct. Not more woos’ in our ministry leadership and congregations. Geesh. Get over yourself and care about the world enough to speak up and tell them the truth…. watering it down will get you people, but ones who won’t know or fear the one true living God of the Bible.

  314. I don’t want thousands. I just wonder where all of these young people are. I just want a few 🙂 In the meantime, we will do exactly that.

  315. Thanks, Mike. We are actually looking into this. We’re connected with an agency, but their financial support has an expiration date.

  316. There’s that judgement. Please re-read the article. Hurting people first need to be/feel heard without the quick judgement and rhetoric. Understanding creates an openess and desire for more. Think about when you share your feelings with a friend or mate. How does it feel when they immediately tell you your feelings are wrong without first hearing your heart? Forgive me if I’m currently guilty of doing the same to you. It’s often how it happens. The greatest of intentions go awry. .. after all the bible does say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Smile.

  317. We do have every reason to believe that there were still gatherings that looked somewhat like what we do today. Check out the Didache. It outlines early church practices.

    They most likely still got together in larger groups. Jesus expected the Jewish structure to expand to include the outsider – but the synagogue structure was already in place to keep the message pure and to give people somewhere to congregate. This is why he spoke first to the Jew IMO. Then people like Paul would actually be able to reach and address the “church” in Ephesus, which was not a place, but a group of people.

    However, I agree with you in spirit. Not just trying to justify my existence, but I think gathering to get relationships off the ground is necessary in order for the kind of thing you suggest to happen. Especially in today’s society. Unfortunately, all of the things that the author advises against are also natural outcomes of these gatherings.

    Does anyone else feel like they are walking a tightrope?

  318. thanks. trying.

  319. Well, it is not the SOLE job of the preacher to pastor the flock. That is the job of the elders (which he may be one of them).

  320. I think I just sent you a Facebook message.

  321. Sadly, the young people (and sadly more and more older people) do not feel the need to attend church. They are drawn to sports on Sunday or any number of other activities.

  322. I am lifting you in prayer today. I’m a female pastor and am blessed to have pastored a church for 13 years which was a hospital for the sinners and not a country club for the saints. I’m now assisting with a larger (125 member) church which has the same ideas about ministering. Please don’t give up on all churches. God does have groups where folks take care of one another and above all, love the Lord.

  323. Anyone that things they have the answer is dreaming…..some of your suggestions are very good but saying that applies to all worshipers is naivete…

  324. I will reply. They preach about serving your man (figuratively & litterally), understanding your man, submitting yourself and decisions to your man and so forth. Times has changed, we are expected to be or have to be equal (or larger) bread winners, we should be equal partners in everything from child care, house work, etc. When do they preach to the men about helping out more, understanding a women has had a hard day, being submissive to her direction?

  325. Exactly! I reached out after my divorce(3 kids) & received a payment booklet on day 1.

  326. Indeed. I might argue that THAT is what they’re leaving for. Entertain me to death, please. But that would be a completely different article, yes?

  327. 10% is God’s money? Where in the bible did it say a percent? Where did it say that God accepts payment for his services? The point is to help others in the community, not have church leaders driving expensive cars. It’s called to ‘serve’ not to get paid to represent the word of god. 🙁

  328. I am sorry that the church was not meeting your needs. But if you block the church out, your blocking God out too, because he wants us to go to church. Maybe what you need is to find a different church that is living more like Christ. But just keep in mind that no one is perfect. Not even you. Remember, we dont go to church to compare ourselves to others, we go to church to be a blessing to others and gain a blessing from the sermon. I will keep you in my prayers and also the people who drove you away from the church because of their actions.
    May God bless you, Virginia. I am a 15 year old that was brought up in the church, so i know it can be hard when you clash with others, but just keep in mind what Jesus had to deal with when he was on earth. Here is how he dealt with it, ” Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This should be our prayer.

  329. Thank you soo much for explaining this. I was always under the impression that my tithe would have to be 10% of all I make and than I was unable to make my housing, food, clothing and transportation cost. I budget as much as I am able yet still unable to do all of that plus 10%. I always wondered how that was to be. Now that I realize it is of the increase..after these expenses have been paid than 10% of what I have I can do that. You do not know how much of a burdon has been lifted. I always felt so bad for not tithing properly that I often simply did not. I always made sure my kids (I am a single mom) have offering and I would put in a love offering but the tith was such a burdon that I could not do and always felt so guilty. GrimmEngineer you will never know what that information has done for me. Thank you

  330. If you feel pressured to tithe, then you are not in the Will of God. The Bible plainly says to give to God 10% of our first fruits. If we don’t do that we’re robbing God. I for one don’t want to do that, even if it means I eat less, or whatever other sacrifice I may have to make. The Church is only reminding you to be obedient to God’s Word.

  331. Show me where in the Bible it says to tithe on your “increase.” It plainly says to tithe on your FIRST FRUITS. As far as criticizing a church for paying their Pastor – he not only works for God, but he works for his people. It is only fair that he is paid so that he can provide for his family. Would you work endless hours a day, 7 days a week without an income?

  332. Excuse me Eric, but I’m a member of a Pentecostal church and I’ve seen nothing like what you have described. Our Pastor teaches the Word – the Bible. We don’t care what you wear, what you look like, where you’ve been, or what your past is. We want you to have a relationship with God. We love everyone and help anyone in need. So, don’t label Pentecostal people like you have in your article!

  333. This was interesting to read because these were all things Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to do all over the world in contrast to what the churches of this world do

  334. Amen to all of this….thank you for your heartfelt honesty….I’m listening and hoping others inside the four-walls do too! I believe there is a place where everyone can be themselves; feeling understood and supported, encouraged. Experiencing kindness and unselfish love from humans who don’t have it all figured out but are willing to let God speak for Himself and let us get out of the way. Here’s to a new year of discovery outside the church!

  335. Tithing is from your first fruits, not your leftovers.

  336. Jeremiah 3:15 – And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding

  337. 100% of your money belongs to God. Everything we have, had, or may yet have, belongs to Him.
    The Old Testament standard was the Tithe (10% of gross); this was to be paid before any other expenses. There were separate offerings also, i.e. the first fruits offering (maybe you had a bumper crop this year, and you give an extra portion out of your gratitude and abundance) – translated today that might be an extra offering from the bonus you received, or the amount of your raise in the first paycheck of the new year.

    The point is that the tithe is part of the law, and when people and churches want to split hairs over it, they reveal themselves to be just like the Pharisees. As with so many other things, its not a money problem, its a heart problem. Wesley had this one right: “earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can”.
    Not everyone can tithe, but everyone (who can read this) can give something. My wife and I give 11.8% of our gross to the local church plus support to other charities. This is after 8 years of marriage – we started at about 0.01%, lol. We started giving a regular amount ($20 a week), then every time we cut an expense or got a raise we would increase it.

  338. Tithing is an Old Testament requirement, and a New Testament option. And you’re wrong about tithing the net. They gave back to God first. As Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce.” (NASB) Again, this was under the Law (OT).

    However, the New Testament is actually closer to your line of thinking. The instruction we find in the New Testament about giving is voluntary, and based on ability. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” In chapter 8:12-13 Paul writes, “12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality”.

    There should be joy in giving, not compulsion. I would steer clear of any church that demands a tithe.

    I would have no problem with a paid preacher/pastor. I don’t think they should be enriched unjustly, or beyond reason, at the expense of the church, but they do have a right to be paid. The Bible says several times the preacher/pastor has a right to be paid. Read 1 Corinthians chapter 9 for starters. Paul explained the right to be paid, but chose for himself, to not exercise that right.

  339. These are all things Jehovah’s witnesses have been doing for years In contrast to the churches of the world today

  340. Tithe” means a tenth or 10 percent. 1/10 of a fraction = 10% (Leviticus 27:30-33). Pray about this, just remember that God will use the same measuring stick with us that we apply to Him. Be blessed.

  341. Any one who tithes should hold the church accountable in terms of how the money is spent. Financial statements should be presented to members annually.

  342. The tithe (10%) was a requirement under the Mosaic Law (Old Testament times). We no longer live under the burden of the law, but under grace through faith in Christ. We are instructed to give as we are able, cheerfully. Please see my reply to GrimmEngineer.

  343. The Bible “plainly says” that in the OT to those under the Law. We are no longer subject to the burden of the Law, and are under no command to tithe in the New Testament church.

  344. I do not agree with your interpretation of the tithe. Scripture tells us 10% as an example. Now, consider the example of the Widows mite in scripture. She gave all she had! Consider that these acts represent acts of Faith. There is a great gift that is
    Received when you tithe even though you don’t see how your budget will cope. Consider that all that you have in this life, is a gift, relationships, family, even a job, are there as gifts from God.
    So, if it weren’t for God, would you have anything? No. So, actually, all He’s asking is that in Faith, you give Him a small token
    Of that back in the form of the tithe. The church is the steward of those tithes. The most important part of the whole transaction though, is FAITH. God knows your needs, even more than you do. I have lived this, my husband and I decided to tithe, regardless of our situation. Not long after making the decision, I
    Was laid off from my job. Talk about a test of faith! But, we never
    Wanted for anything. God keeps his promises! When I was finally
    Called back to work we increased our tithe. I feel that we have received far more than we will ever realize, until we go home to the Lord, and all is revealed.
    Regardless, everything, everything is based on FAITH. Denominations aside, study His word, ask for His revelations as you seek Him with a contrite heart, He will reveal Himself to you. That is the promise He has given each and everyone who
    Seeks Him. I believe God is the only One capable of keeping
    A promise. Mans word is chaff on the wind.

  345. John Pavlovitz, it has been interesting to watch the discussion via the comments that follow this blog post. The problem well illustrated, I think. Your post was thought-provoking for me, as well. Inside and outside of the church I know that I am failing. I’m not afraid of the issue. I am humbled by it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  346. Such a bummer to see this article generate more hate amongst believers rather than encouragement and uplifting, seems like it just became another place to complain about all that is wrong and wallow in that rather than encouraging positive channge

  347. Church for me is a place to fellowship with other believers. I need that to keep me encouraged.

  348. Unfortunately, you do not understand the tithe as practiced for thousands of years. Tithe literally means “tenth.” And yes, I can point to scriptural references for it to be paid on the increase. Do you also think that businesses pay taxes on gross receipts?And yes, the widows mite story is an example to the pharisees who would mock someone who gave so little, yet so much. But first remove the beam from thine own eye before the mote from thy brothers. And if you are paying a tenth of your gross receipts then good for you. Unfortunately this is still bad accounting and not the intention of the tithe. Can you imagine if a business owner had to pay tax on his gross receipts even when operating at a loss?

  349. Unfortunately you do not have access to further scriptural references which clarify these teachings. It’s ok.

  350. Unfortunately you are all stuck in the now and do not understand the meaning of “first fruits” as used in the bible. Most people didn’t get a paycheck like they do today. Almost everyone produced something. Whether it be cattle, or plants or other goods. So when it came time to pay your tithe it was very often paid in “goods”. Paying with your “first fruits” simply means the finest quality you have produced. When you paid your tithes you gave your best cattle, or sheep, or produce etc. I know it isn’t clear because of the innacurate translations done by many monks in the creation of the King James Bible.

  351. Me me me me me me me me. That is all I hear in this article. It’s not what you can do for God and the church, but what they can do for you. If you don’t understand something, look it up. Secondly., God DID NOT say that it would be easy to be a follower. You need to pick up your cross and follow the lord. The problem is you. You are blinded by your own needs to see the greatness of GOD’S message. The message that you are missing….

  352. The LDS works well because it is a corporation which owns gigantic business ventures and funds its chapters from its bureaucracy. It also deviates from true scripture and adds its own heretical apocrypha to its teaching. The book of Mormon is a damnable travesty and the actual doctrine of the LDS strays so far from the truth that to call it Christian makes you guilty of, as Jesus put it, “causing one of these little ones to stumble” and would be better to be drowned with a millstone around your neck than to do so. If you can’t agree fully to the Apostles’, Nicene, AND Athanasian Creeds, you are not a true believer in Christ.

  353. I don’t know where you get not owing tithes. Even the widow tithed her two pennies. You tithe out of your love for what God has provided to you. You are just the steward – He is the master. He owns it all.

  354. Ed, I hear you brother. We planted a deeply missional church 3 years ago and we have experienced the same thing. Young adults and older adults who tell us they are all about getting messy and reaching those no other church is reaching, then leaving after two weeks because we don’t offer enough for them, have a rocking worship band or coffee bar. Sadly, most people like to talk about being the church and living sacrificially, but when it comes to taking the step, they run to what they know which is usually the local mega-church with the great worship “experience” and free Starbucks.

    As for this article, I don’t buy it. Sure, it all sounds nice, but there are plenty of churches who are seeking to exist beyond a building and Sunday morning performance and most of those churches are struggling or dying because most people SAY they want something different…until it comes time to actually be different.

    Keep the faith brother. We have seen the Lord do some wonderful things and has brought us a few people who really do want to live with purpose. Still struggling, but still hopeful.

  355. The Mormon church is also experiencing a great exodus.

  356. That’s interesting considering the growth rate is still several points in the positive direction. Via 3rd party statistics also.

  357. Brothers in arms. We should create our own Facebook group and call it something like “Missional in spite of indifference” of “Because we must” – We actually have pretty good music and fresh ground coffee, but it’s still a struggle. Blessings.

  358. Remove the beam from thine own eye, before the mote from thy brothers, that ye may see clearly. Such hate is clearly rooted in evil. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears.

  359. It’s ok for you not to understand. I won’t judge you for it.

  360. Quick question for you. When Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection that it was time for him to go because “Other sheep have I that are not of this fold” and he needed to visit them also. So who were the “other sheep” that were were not even “of this fold”? And just exactly how would the resurrected Christ visit them? Much as he visited his disciples? To believe that his disciples in Israel were the only people on the planet he visited is quite closed minded, and clearly contradicted by his own words.

  361. You sir missed the point entirely. Do not quote scripture when you
    Obviously are more interested in touting your know it all attitude. From my prospective, in my experience in my personal
    Walk with Christ, FAITH is all that is required. Test His faithfulness to provide for you on all your needs. The Tithe
    Is one of those things that proves his faithfulness! Be it 2cents
    Given weekly or more, He knows what is in your heart and what your needs are. It is to be from your first fruits, the best you have
    Period! not what you have left over!!!! Give back what you can,
    Prove His Trustworthiness not to let you down, increase your giving, test your Faith, He will never let you down! You will be blessed beyond belief!! What I’m telling you, is what I personally
    Have experienced. God is true to his word. If you truly want to know what he can do, test you faith! He promises never to leave nor forsake us. Try him! Give Him your best. He has already given you His!!

  362. It’s ok if we do not agree. I will respect your opinion with love.

  363. Unfortunately, your “further scriptural references” are hogwash. And it’s not ok.

  364. I am SAVED, & FULL OF THE HOLYGHOST! And so Proud to be in the Lord!! This was an EXCELLENT! article, WOW!! Well put . . . . Touch’e indeed. This was quite refreshing! Thank you soi much for sharing your “Blog thoughts and what you are thinking with you fellow saints.

  365. I admit that on the first page I too was agreeing with many items that the author specified, and I continued on hoping that to compliment his many criticisms of the church, there would be an equal effort to offer real life solutions. (“By their fruit you will know them”.) No such attempt was made. There are several items that bothered me in this article and that I do not agree with. Before I list them, I thank the author for his input and for having the discussion open. 1) I have not shared the same “judgmental” attitude in “every” church that I have attended. I wish that the author had made it clear that this is not only not that case in every church, but it is not the case in MOST churches. 2) While he points out that over ALL denominations combined there is a drop off in attendance, in some areas there is quite substantial church growth. 3) Oddly enough the church growth is being experienced in those churches that have not compromised the faith to “tolerate” those who are clearly violating the will of God. And likewise, shrinkage is being experienced in those denominations that have. 4) Around page 2 the author gives the impression that a person’s eternal fate is left entirely in the hands of the church. This is not the case. A person’s salvation is an issue between that person and his/her creator. The church is simply a body of believers who gather together with that common thread. The church is NOT responsible for the soul of another; the person carrying that soul is. This is where we seem to have lost touch with the idea of personal responsibility. 5) The author seems to conclude that most churches do no outreach whatsoever. I will tell you that I have lived in 7 different states and I have never been a part of a church that did not have active and ongoing outreach. 6) The author states that “what happens Sunday morning, doesn’t help on Tuesday afternoon” or something similar. Every church that I have been part of had church on Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday night, Bible study on Thursdays, outreach (some other day), and several other activities throughout the week. Again – personal responsibility. If you don’t want to be a Sunday-only believer…… then don’t be one. 7) To the author and others struggling with their experiences in church: I too have been in churches that I did not feel comfortable in – for one reason or another – but instead of quitting all churches everywhere, I simply drove down the road and tried out another one (and perhaps another) until I found the place that God needed/wanted me to be. It was really that simple. If you are a person who quit God because of a bad experience in church, I say.. keep trying. Did you quit eating after your first bad experience at a restaurant? I pray that God guides you where you need to be. And one more note: We are all lost. You don’t need an awkward tattoo, or an nontraditional past relationship, or a prior drug arrest to be at the point in your life when you understand that God has called you out – we all fall short of the glory of God. And yes Jesus associated with the sinner and the prostitute, but when he did they repented and he sent them away to “go and sin no more”. …. It is my opinion that this post is a negative rant against “the church” as a whole, an attempt to completely circumvent the immeasurable good that most churches do, and overall damaging to any would-be new believer. I pray the author will post a follow-up with greater wisdom than displayed herein.

  366. God is love, and the only place you can find true forgiveness for ANYTHING you’ve done. God hates sin, but does not hate the sinner. He loves all, freely, but will NOT let His blessings flow in your life so long as you do not place your faith in Him to free you from the burdens that sin place on your life. We ALL sin, we ALL will continue to sin. God in His grace and mercy forgives all sin. Now, saying all that, God also tells us to, in not so many words, to be INVOLVED in church. So many people “just show up” and expect, “ok God, here I am, fix me, love me, bless me, touch me, make me feel good”. Well, that ain’t how it works! God desires a relationship with his people, and a relationship my friend, is a two way street. And as in every relationship, the work must be put in. So all I am saying is your only gonna get out of it what you put in. JFK had a famous line from a speech that I will alter a smidge, Ask not what God can do for you, but what you with God can do for others. If you work for God, and do it with the heart of God, you will find what you seek. Church gives all of us the avenue, we just have to decide if we will submit to letting God drive.

  367. I couldn’t agree more when he speaks about the contemporary services and attemots to turn church into social clubs

    Here is the problem I have with the article…

  368. Excellent!!!!

  369. Heck! He’s right! SILLY

  370. Judge? Who appointed you? God?

  371. Bigotry and Racism? Not nearly as big of a problem as all the unborn babies being killed in the womb. And where are all these cushy churches with coffee bars? I would like to go see one. Is there one near The Villages, FL ???

  372. The blasphemous book of mormon?

  373. This, among many others, is why we need revival, and revival is coming and everything that needs to be shaken, will be shaken!!!!!!

  374. More hate from a supposed follower of Christ.

  375. The word “won’t” is akin to a boolean NOT. You seem to have an issue with word definitions.

  376. I love washing hogs.

  377. I’m so disheartened to see that the comments have become exactly what the author was talking about.

  378. Ha ha, we have coffee too and a good worship team. Just no smoke, lasers and professional lighting or staging. Or even a building of our own. I’ve been told we need some of those things in order to grow. I don’t want that kind of growth. As a 17-year youth pastor, the old axiom, “you keep them with what you got them” holds true with all ages. Youre right though…some get it and those saints are truly a blessing.

    Btw, I’d join one of those Facebook pages.

  379. I know a pastor who told his congregation that they would go to hell if they didn’t pay their tithes.

  380. Really appreciated this article. I believe it’s spot on. In fact I can identify so clearly with with what John has captured here, I almost feel that I could have written it. In some ways I’ve lived it. I have chosen to distance myself from the organized church after many years of faithful participation. My challenge now is to find a way to ‘be the church’ as Jesus intended. I’m sharing my thoughts and perspectives here: johnhbriggs.com. Thanks for the article!

  381. Just curious if the author is writing about the church where he serves, or is he simply heaping criticism on the rest of God’s Bride or is he also owning these asserted failure’s. Again, I’ll reiterate two things: 1) this blatant criticism of the Lord’s Body is better stated by or from the pulpit as correction and ecouragement to that Body for their failure, incompetence or concluded ineffectiveness, and 2) the lost and unbelieving and rebelliousness that attend the Church seem to prefer to criticize rather than change…oh lest we forget the lost and unbelieving will NEVER appreciate, accept or understand the Biblical church words we use, IF they don’t first love Jesus Christ. So let’s caution ourselves about concluding that’s the problem. Many unbelieving will listen but never Hear and do and blame God’s Church all along the way…

  382. I think the problem is that we are all broken people. and we go to church hoping the church people will fix us but only God can fix us. The church is made of broken/messed-up people just like the one that the article is about. We go to church to commune with God and get support from the others there. Seeing other people that realize they also need God gives us courage and assures us that we are not alone. My #1 rule is to rely on God. Not the church. Not he government. Satin would want us to rely on anything but God.

  383. This is a compelling thing to read. However, it’s not convincing either. It reads as an excerpt of the Gospel Americana and this society has been so effective with presenting new and various ways of worship, church, prayer, traditions and evangelisism in its short history. I am altogether skeptical and think Americans have pumped more heresay into Christianty then 1500 years of the Catholic Church. Good luck.

  384. Grimm, I’m just scrolling through comments …..and you seem ready for a fight. If you are really speaking from s position of love…you should re-read your comments. You are condescending.

  385. pretty sure this whole argument on the totally unrelated topic is one of the reasons people are leaving. Also, tithing is based on the law which by the way Jesus fulfilled. No requirement to tithe and that is a legalistic action that brings us no closer to the Lord. HOWEVER, don’t forget God loves a cheerful giver. So keep arguing…forget about grace….keep running the unchurched further away by arguing about stupid “churchy” stuff.

  386. John – great article. I have to say, though, as one who recently walked away from the church, a big part of it is that the “disillusioned follower” may well be discovering that there is no reason to actually believe in God, or Jesus as deity, etc. That doesn’t mean we have to give up the whole love ideal – in fact, in some ways, not believing in a supernatural overseer has allowed me to be *more* loving in many ways than I otherwise might have been. It just means we get truly honest and daring with our disillusionment and, like Rob Bell, live a life without such belief and see what happens. Interestingly, the sky doesn’t fall. 🙂 Regardless, though, I love the sentiment in your writing, and believe the entire religious world would be better (and more effective) if they took heed to your words. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

  387. An 18-year ‘veteran.’ Gimme a break. You could be like 36 and have that much experience in ministry. Doesn’t make you any kind of a ‘veteran.’ Most of this is just stating the obvious, grouping ‘problems’ into nifty paragraphs. There may be a lot of truth in these observations, but that’s all they are. No meaningful spiritual solutions are offered. Just adding to the real problem. Too surfacy.

  388. The tithe is not as never was part of the Mosaic law, it’s a spiritual principle that predates the law. Abraham tithed to Melchisidek before the law. Jesus mentioned tithing as something that ‘should be done.’ People don’t tithe to their own spiritual detriment. Generally only the mature do it.

  389. Actually Grimm, we have accurate reports that He’s visiting Moslems. ✨

  390. Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe way before the Law.

  391. Don’t believe you.

  392. What you wrote is so much better than the article!! I agree wholeheartedly, and it makes me feel better. Duh, if one APPLIES what he hears on Sunday, he (or she) will live VERY differently the rest of the week! I think it’s called being a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. The author unfortunately appears to be just a whiner (not a ‘veteran’) with no solutions, just a repackaging of the problem. I wish him the best however. Regarding your last sentence, probably he won’t post a follow-up with greater wisdom because he doesn’t possess it. Yet. I hope I’m wrong about that.

  393. So true, Jake! Be blessed bro.

  394. People aren’t leaving the church because of lights, contemporary worship music, new buildings, or pastors
    with big visions to reach the lost and dying culture. If you study churches that are trying to be inviting to people who otherwise wouldn’t come to church, what harm is there in that? It is posts and cynical, narrow-minded bashings like this that is a “lousy battle” and a major part of why lost people don’t want anything to do with church. Geez. Support each other. And do some research. I go to a church like this and have gone deeper with God in the year I’ve been there than in my whole saved life. I’ve seen over 100 people get saved in one year, people delivered from extreme bondage, and no, it wasn’t the coffee or cushy couch; it was Jesus and He’s not too snooty to show up there because He cares and He does WHATEVER it takes to reach the lost. Go study Church of the Highlands which has Easter services where 4,000+ get saved and have grown to over 30,000 and then blog about this divisive nonsense.

  395. You sound really sincere and I empathize with your words. I am really sorry that the church ‘let you down.’ At the moment, I’m going to a church that I’ve gone to for almost a year and I really haven’t been pressured to ‘serve’, but I’ve done it a little ’cause I wanted to. Maybe you just got burned out? idk but I’ll say a prayer for you before bed tonight. Thanks for being honest and I with you the best. blessings

  396. good point, Shannon! The article isn’t well thought out at all. It’s just one guys whiny point of view. Some of the responses here are wiser and better written that the article. Sigh

  397. Your response is confusing. Go!!! you mean to church or away from it?? Who is the apostate? The ones in church or the ones falling away from it?? Amazing how radically differently people see things these days.

  398. Nailed it!

  399. You lost me at ‘I come to church to be served.’ I stopped reading there.

  400. I long to go deeper and to hear messages that are ‘meat.’ I go to a great church but I need avenues to go deeper into maturity and godly character. Too often it’s spiritual candy bars and no meat and green beans. So I hear you on that.

  401. I’m single too Michael. I wish you the best. I think you can find a godly wife, but I hope you could be happy in church without one. My present church doesn’t have a ‘singles group’, but every ‘singles group’ I went to in the past was very dysfunctional anyway, so I don’t miss it. I’m sorry for that conflicting message you got. I’m bold enough now to where I’d point that out to the leadership. I was more timid in the past. We all have different experiences, don’t we?

  402. Oh you mean the ‘church’ of polygamists that do the vicarious baptisms, deny hell, have an extra ‘Bible’, believe in Atlantis and teach that Jesus and satan were brothers? The ones where Father God had physical children, you can become a god yourself and populate your own planet? No thanks.

  403. You obviously haven’t been to Free Chapel. I was received with love, encouraged, and never saw or felt what you are talking about. The anointing of the Lord makes all the difference!

  404. Yes it does! funny how the presence and power of the Lord, the anointing, is never mentioned in these whiny complaining articles.

  405. I know that this is true for many places, and that truth varies from place to place as well. For the hurt and longing individual all I can is don’t judge God by the church and don’t judge all churches by one. In most cases there are numerous options for finding a church home. I encourage browsing, not just churches but denominations too. If your ultra conservative, you have options, if your uber liberal you also have options. Find what is comfortable and welcoming for you.

  406. Most of the ideas presented here are good and worthy of consideration. I would hesitate, though, to say that the church needs to speak in a tongue that outsiders can understand.

    This notion is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes total sense, because for most people technical and exclusive language probably won’t win anyone over. When Jesus wasn’t giving the Pharisee’s a headache, he spoke to other people in language that I would consider both plain and relatable. On the other hand, this mentality, that we have to make Christianity this super-relatable thing, is at least partly responsible for a lot of the other problems in this list. Why have we tried to make awesome Sunday productions? Because people can relate to that. Why have we dressed our churches up as coffee shops and shopping malls? Because people can relate to that. Why have we created a facile Christian “counter-culture”? Because we want people to think that we are just like they are. This striving for relateability has been extremely problematic in Evangelical culture for the past 40ish years.

    But beyond the tension above, I think Christians need to be somewhat realistic about the fact that though there is great simplicity in our faith (faith, hope, and love), there is also immense complexity; yet another paradox in a religion almost overwhelmed by them. If someone asks you seriously why Jesus’ death on the cross takes away his/her sins, then you are going to have to talk to them about complex ideas, covenantal systems, OT iconography, etc, etc. Obviously there are ways to make those heavy concepts approachable, but I don’t think we should pretend that these concepts are anything but exclusive to Christianity and neither do I think we should pretend that we don’t need complex words in order to express these complex ideas. Christianity wouldn’t be the only religious/philosophical system to employ technical terminologies in order to express very exclusive and intricate ideas. I’m not saying we need opaque language and inscrutable ideas about soteriology to come to Jesus, but at some point Christians, anyone who is serious about their belief, are going to have to come face to face with difficult, sometimes off-putting ideas. And if we want to present these ideas, both to believers and non-believers alike, we can gracefully explain the protoevangelium or the nature of progressive revelation in the Mosaic Law. And if you are a Christian, it’s not such a horrible thing to know what a concordance is.

  407. I don’t really see any ‘hate’ on this thread. Disagreement, yes. But we already knew that, right? If you want to see hate, go to almost ANY youtube video and read the comments. Sickening. I see a lot of sincere people here expressing their widely differing views. Maybe that’s a positive.

  408. The very title of this article is arrogant and all-knowing. I’m always skeptical of ‘here’s the real reason for this’ and ‘here’s the seven steps to that.’

  409. As someone who grew up with a Jehovah’s Witness father, this is a really interesting comment that I kinda agree with. Obviously Witnesses have some serious problems with intellectual honesty and theological discourse, but almost across the board they are pleasant and kind people.

  410. Judging is one thing and it is certainly prohibited scripturally. But I don’t know if we need to classify this article as judgement. It is perhaps a corrective. And if we read anything written by Paul, we should know that the church correcting itself, admonishing, encouraging and offering counsel is all normal and healthy for the Body of Christ. Not sure I’d see Pavlovitz as a prophet, but the job of a prophet is to speak the truth. Even if it hurts.

  411. Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),
    Gal 1:2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
    Gal 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
    Gal 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
    Gal 1:5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
    No Other Gospel

    Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
    Gal 1:7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
    Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
    Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! That is what the bible says no Book of Mormon needed, when Christ sets you free you are free indeed and will look and assist others with compassion since they received the love of God, and are forgiven on the basis of faith alone.

  412. are you a god?

  413. Any sin is Great before a HOLY God. Al sin is against Him and he will recompense. God the Son took this punishment for us. Not a jesus he created but God the Son took our penalty. Anyone who rejects this for another gospel of good works. How much more will Gods wrath be on him since he has rejected God only Son, Jesus lived the perfect life we could not. And the died on the cross for us. Isaiah 53. When we trust God be placing our complete faith in Christ alone God the Spirit comes live in our hearts Emmanuel God with us to help us live our lives as we surrender to Him We are forgiven. We don’t need to go to a temple. God the father God the son and God the Holy Spirit are all ONE.

  414. Do you even know what the Bible is? It is a compilation of different gospels/books/testimonies written by different people separated in some cases by thousands of years and in differing lands. It serves only the arrogance of surety that you would accept only the one compilation (The Bible) and no others. I smile widely in disbelief also knowing that the included gospels of the old and new testament were hand picked and groomed to the tastes of King James by the autocratic servants of the monarchy. Such ignorance to think that it is by any means the complete and only truth. What a total lack of understanding of the origins of the words you and I both hold so dearly. It is as unto an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, what it cannot see must not be real.

  415. If only you understood the irony of your question.

  416. I know. An angle presenting a different gospel from plates by mr smith with no archeological evidence found in the us saving a different gospel does no make it

  417. The thing is…. we are the church, everyone of us – ecclesia…the called out ones. Who are we pointing the finger at? If we are leaving the church…What does that mean? If you are part of the church which you become when you’re born again, then what?

  418. Just chuckling after reading this article, then reading the comments and arguments that followed.. A perfect example of how people’s religion and belief’s somehow make them “right” and give them some moral power to look down on someone who’s views and beliefs are different. Then the whole focus becomes “who’s more right?!” NONE of us comes even close to deserving what God has done for us. Doesn’t matter how you believe about tithing, The Book of Mormon, or anything else. The church is for sinners. We’ve all sinned and come short. Some Sins are easier to see than others.. But my job is to keep looking towards my God who loves me despite all my sins, and to show His love to all around me. If we focused on that instead of getting de-railed by the trivial things that suddenly turn into heated, sanctimonious arguments, we might be able to get out of God’s way and let Him do the work.

  419. This is a great article and as a pastor I recognise all these elements. However, I don’t see the people as is reflected in the pastor – congregation picture. I feel like the people. I am also sick, tired and frustrated by the status quo. There needs to be a dynamic where the christians, including the pastor recognise the problem and encourage each other with love and acceptance instead of pointing a finger (ether way). We are all in the same boat!

  420. No… the reason why people are leaving churchs is because they are catching on the the lies, the bible bull shit, and the hypocrisy.

  421. Is Theresa a Dutch version of Thialf article available?

  422. Is it possible to get a Dutch version of this article?

  423. I think you all spend to much time thinking about god, spirit, afterlife and infatuated and obsessed with sex and other peoples sex! That you have completely disassociated with humanity and all its complexities, complexities you are quick to judge and condemn, instead of understand and except…you all build monuments (churches) and think its where god is, you all use the word “love” but hate is the action that follows, you all refuse to evolve to modern life but secretly over indulge in hypocrisy and the trappings that modernity…Not one of you including your pastors, preachers, cardinals and popes have ever had direct and clear communication with the lord in 2,000 years not one!!! Yet you all seem the know exactly what god wants, doesn’t want, loves or condemns! None of your teachings incapsulates the whole of humanity and or respect individuals life and dignity, but out right condemning people on differences because of a book written by men that are so easily corrupted and selfishly promote their own ideals above all ells, especially in the absence of a uncommunicative and inactive god! You people are great illuminating beacons of rubbish, you allow someone ells to have power over your personal journey and spiritual development. Those people with there own agendas are corrupting your spirit and misleading you all to do and think and behave in a dehumanising fashion and all in gods name! No wonder god has not once communicated directly with his representatives on earth, my guess is because your all not worthy! True communication with god is a humbling experience, in your living room, backyard, beach, in nature anywhere where you feel a connection, sit yourselves down and meditate (learn to meditate people) allow the god energy to flow through you, connect with it, none of you are connected to your god through honesty and simplicity, you’ve all fallen into the trap of worshiping idols, paying money to pay of your sin’s, and all it does is make church richer! You don’t need scripture to teach you morality or right from wrong, you all know it, its inside yourselves and the answers to challenging issues are also within you and you don’t need some hate mongering preacher to tell you! You should be able to have a conversation with god and come to your own conclusion…I would also like to ad that having an opinion on other peoples choices is rude! What grown consenting people do is not for you to gossip, opinionated or judge, so just mind your own business and have faith that majority of people regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexuality are raised by good and moral people and that morality has been passed down and inherited by the person, the only time it comes into question is when you people label them demonstrable otherwise, up to that point they were good, kind people! Religious institutions with hierarchal pyramid structures are only designed for power and the elevation of people within those structures, god does not live there! God is everywhere but not there! Learn to look within yourselves, learn to see the good in people, learn to respect and honer people, learn equality and humbleness and learn to mind your own businesses.

  424. This is an interpretation. For me, I see this as Christ saying, I have other sheep who do not yet know me (not of this fold), but through you I will bring them into the body of Christ. As a calvinist, I see the later part, “they will listen to my voice” as evidence of God’s sovereignty over salvation. This one verse can have many interpretations, so it being the only scriptural evidence for Christ having “other” disciples in other parts of the world is a logically weak argument, not a determination of “closed” versus “open” mindedness.

  425. It’s also an old testament tradition, that you only see mentioned twice int he new testament, neither as an instruction. My view is this: Old Testament, you owe a tenth of your first fruits to God who has supplied; New Testament, you were bought with a price and every dime, resource, or minute in your possession belongs to God who supplies your needs in order to expand his kingdom and glorify him. Why limit it to a tenth? He’s owed all.

  426. I’ve said the same thing for years and a church I went to just closed it’s doors for good, but people don’t hear me at all, I guess I have to be a T.D Jakes type to be heard, keep preaching truth my brother!!!

  427. “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” 1 Cor. 9:14… Also see Romans 10:15…

  428. And what on earth gives you the moral right to sit there and judge the ideologies and way of live of millions of people around the world. If a similar article was written about any other religion there would have been outrage, yet it’s okay to attack Christians because they’re the old white guys blinded by privilege aren’t they? I’m Christian and I find this article very offensive.

  429. Your very first line has a chidlike grammatical error….difficult to take you seriously after that.

  430. Also, John Pavlovitz, please stop calling yourself a pastor it’s very hypocritical, and downright confusing. You’re taking advantage of a title you clearly don’t embody to enhance your ‘wildcard factor’

  431. Great post…. And then unfortunately I start scrolling through the comments and lose my mind all over again. Most not even related to the content and actually prove the validity of the content…. Most are sick of I’m right and you are wrong…. That’s why we are leaving! If you are struggling with organized religion, as I, even after having been a pastor for over 15 years, I reccomend “Leaving Church” and “Alters in This World” by Barbara Brown Taylor…. Again great blog post!

  432. Dear Mr. Palovitz,
    As a minister, a female, an African Amerian, a Democrate and a former sinner saved by Grace, I would like to respond on behalf of the Church that I know.
    Firstly, I suspect that the supposed decline in church participation is much like the manufactured crisis of education- an illusion created by those seeking to gain profit by weaving a tapestry of fear. In education, big businesses and politicians waiting with giddy anticipation,salivating at the mouth for an opportunity to break through the glass ceiling that once protected education and dig their paws of greed into the billions associated with education. This was done by pointing the figure of blame at the very people who were seeking to help. With church, what is at stake is the millions of souls longing for spiritual seeking solace in a world of sadness and the the robbers are those with an agenda of distruction hoping to draw sould into darkness. Misery loves company. But, if I understand the longitudinal data, this battle has been raging sins the appearance of the first temple and the result still has not changed- the gates of hell will not prevail.
    Now, lets get to your points. Much like the fudged assessment data associated with education, the fudge numbers associated with church decline leave out the millions of individuals who connect with church through video streaming and podcasts and blogtalks and yes, televangelist! Understand that the Universal Church is bigger than the four walls that you are seeking to contain it to. A decline in those counted as present in the building does not equate to a decline in the universal church of God.
    my antiquated language again. Let me make it plain. Open your ears and heart and you shall understand.
    Next, while there is truth in the need to reach further than the four walls of a building and truely seek the lost, We are silently but stedfastly taking permeating the walls of the world. Check out your facebook page, your instagram, your twitter accounty. We are there in vast number. It may take us a moment to make the shift, but we have until the end of time; we will get there! Oh and by the way, can we please acknowledge that a church is made of people and if those people which to build a grand temple in honor of the God that we server there is nothing biblical that speaks against this (much like you build a comfortable home to live in). Most of us, not all, understand that the greatest temple is the temples of our body that contain the Spirit of God and acts as a living testimony to the greatness of God. And, I must admit many of our counter parts have chosen to wage battle openly on the sinner instead of the sin. That is unfortunate. And, it is also true that we appear silent regarding the bigger issues. Yet, please realize that appearances can be deceiving. Many of us wage war through our prayer lives which have more power than 100000 protesters. Remember the Civil Rights protest were successful because they were supported by prayer.
    Lastly, please understand that we don’t hate you. We hate what sin is doing to you, to us. We love you. When you finally get tired of sin and hate it too, remember that you are loved. We may be bad at showing it but we do love you and will welcome you home. Finally, please do not join the ranks of those who are using the religion as a toool for political gain. Thankfully, most of us can decipher fact from fiction. Glad to know that you haven’t lost faith in God, you just want us to adjust to be more tolerant of sin. Unfortunately, based upon the Word of God, we cannot make that shift and still be called faithful. We can however work on our image, reign in our renagades and keep the porch light on for you when you are ready to come and join us in the the war against evil and help us use better weapons and devise better battle plans. We love you. Love You Always, A Representative From the Body

  433. Sorry about the misspellings in my earlier post. Here is a cleaner version of my response.

    Dear Mr.
    Palovitz,

    As a minister, a female, an African American, a Democrat and a former sinner
    saved by Grace, I would like to respond on behalf of the Church that I know.

    Firstly, I
    suspect that the supposed decline in church participation is much like the
    manufactured crisis of education- an illusion created by those seeking to gain
    profit by weaving a tapestry of fear. In education, it is big businesses and
    politicians waiting with giddy anticipation, salivating at the mouth for an
    opportunity to break through the glass ceiling that once protected education
    and dig their paws of greed into the billions associated with education. This
    was done by pointing the figure of blame at the very people who were seeking to
    help. With church, what is at stake is the millions of souls longing for
    spiritual solace in a world of sadness, and the robbers are those with an
    agenda of destruction hoping to draw souls into darkness. Misery loves company.
    But, if I understand the longitudinal data, this battle has been raging since
    the appearance of the first temple and the results still have not changed- the
    gates of hell will not prevail.

    Now, let’s
    get to your points. Much like the fudged assessment data associated with
    education, the fudge numbers associated with church decline leave out the
    millions of individuals who connect with church through video streaming and
    podcasts and blog talks and yes, televangelist! Understand that the Universal
    Church is bigger than the four walls that you are seeking to contain it to. A
    decline in those counted as present in the building does not equate to a
    decline in the universal church of God.

    Next,
    while there is truth in the need to reach further than the four walls of a
    building and truly seek the lost. We are silently but steadfastly permeating
    the walls of the world. Check out your Facebook page, your Instagram, your
    twitter account. We are there in vast numbers. It may take us a moment to make
    the shift, but we have until the end of time; we will get there! Oh and by the
    way, can we please acknowledge that a church is made of people and if those
    people wish to build a grand temple in honor of the God that they serve, there
    is nothing biblical that speaks against this (much like you build a comfortable
    home to live in). Most of us, not all, understand that the greatest temple is
    the temples of our body that contain the Spirit of God and acts as a living
    testimony to the greatness of God. And, I must admit many of our counter parts
    have chosen to wage battle openly on the sinner instead of the sin. That is
    unfortunate. And, it is also true that we appear silent regarding the bigger
    issues. Yet, please realize that appearances can be deceiving. Many of us wage
    war through our prayer lives which have more power than 100000 protesters.
    Remember the Civil Rights protest were successful because they were supported
    by prayer.

    Lastly,
    please understand that we don’t hate you. We hate what sin is doing to you, to
    us. We love you. When you finally get tired of sin and hate it too, remember
    that you are loved. We may be bad at showing it, but we do love you and will
    welcome you home. Finally, please do not join the ranks of those who are using religion
    as a tool for political gain. Thankfully, most of us can decipher fact from
    fiction. Glad to know that you haven’t lost faith in God; you just want us to
    adjust to be more tolerant of sin. Unfortunately, based upon the Word of God,
    we cannot make that shift and still be called faithful. We can ,however, work
    on our image, reign in our renegades and keep the porch light on for you when you
    are ready to come and join us in the war against evil and help us design better
    weapons and devise better battle plans. We love You, Always, A Representative from
    the Body

  434. Someone added this site on my Facebook page and I thought it was wonderful. Then I went to the comments and, low and behold, what did I find! The “church” in all its dogma glory. Not love, not compassion, not Grace, just the regular old church. If you want to know what the church should be, just read Christ’s teachings. I’m not a Catholic and never will be, but Pope Francis has it more right than anything I’ve read here.

  435. AMEN MARY!!!

  436. Based on everything that I have read above, all of you have convinced me to stay home from church. You all follow different branches of Christianity that were started from different mortal mens interpretation of the Bible,and then scream back and forth at each other about who is right. Maybe the lost sheep are the ones of other religions other than Christianity? Maybe this fighting is another reason why people have left the church? Maybe, all of a sudden, religion is starting to look a lot like different aisles in politics. This is sickening. the article was cool. The comments are pretty horrible.

  437. Sounds like you have been hurt..will keep you in our prayers. Jesus is always the answer and he builds his church.

  438. Here is my opinion……As a woman with 2 children and husband, I have always been faithful to God. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, even filed for divorce this year. But one thing I have learned is that no matter what church I attend, God always takes care of me and my family. For years I struggled thinking that the “church” owed me something until the day I lost my dad! Talk about a wake up call! We are not promised tomorrow. We are all human. Church isn’t about the people, the activities, or even the needs…….it’s about what we as humans can do to have a spiritual walk with Jesus. I was on the women’s committee, praise team, mission committee, but none of that seemed to be what I needed! So I decided to do what God called me to do as a young girl. I started an “OPEN CLOSET” that would help the people in my church and surrounding communities. We collected clothes, shoes, toys, household items, all of which was slightly used. It became something that was suppose to be small, but God had bigger plans for us! Now we help over 100 families….about 300 people! If churches have hurt you in some way, not done what you think it should for you, think about what you can do for GOD! I know that “people” in church often seems to hurt us, but we have to become better at helping ourselves than expecting the church to help us. God has his own timing. We may think we need something but do we actually “NEED” it or want it? We shouldn’t be so quick to judge the church when we aren’t doing anything but downing it. It’s a place to gather, worship, praise God for what he has blessed us with. For the past 5 months I have not been active in my church due to thinking people will judge me for my mistakes. Honestly, I have judged myself because I knew I wasn’t living right and I had to find my way back to Jesus. So today, if you are struggling with something or have a problem with your church, call your pastor or go see him! Many times what you are feeling, your pastor is feeling the same way! Just my thoughts on all this. Have a blessed day!

  439. I am appalled at the tithing arguments made here. Why argue and make statement about you “only having to give back x%”, so that is all you give. It is no surprise that most people with the gift of “gifts” and many with “service” give over and above that. It is amazing when you give off of your gross, that you learn to be more disciplined. Don’t let God be an afterthought “expense”, but make God a top-line priority.

    For those of you who are unemployed – you have the gift of TIME to donate. You are not working, so go be a good steward of your time. Parents using child care or nursery services – you can also give back by serving in those areas, since we all know finances are tight on most young families.Time is something we ALL have, that is by is very definition limited, but do not use to its fullest as a giveable resource.

    On the acceptance of all with love, as Jesus did. YES! However, that love comes with a price, and that price is CHANGE. Jesus didn’t tell the sinners to keep sinning. Jesus didn’t tell the prostitute to stay in prostitution. Jesus DEMANDED change. Jesus didn’t embrace sin. Jesus embraces the sinner and CONFRONTED the sin. I do not think people realize how in-your-face Jesus was in calling out and confronting the sin in people’s lives. No beating around the bush, straight to the point, change your ways.

  440. Amen. I once was a youth group leader, a children’s chapel leader and a lay person. Until the day the pastor advised me to stay with my abusive husband. That was just the icing on my cake, too many things to list. I am still very much in love with God I just don’t need a frocked human to tell me what is right. I do miss the kids and the occasional spiritual boost but I can do that myself.

  441. I was a single lady for a long time. I didn’t feel like there was a place for me in church. They all expected me to want to teach a Sunday School class. I didn’t. I wanted to fellowship and learn with adults. Also, I had few examples in the Bible of women who were never married with no kids. I couldn’t explain the loneliness I felt in church. I didn’t feel as left out going to a movie or eating in a restaurant alone.

  442. Virginia, The expectations that the church places on women is taken right out of the culture during the time of Moses and Jesus Christ. I am a student of the Bible – love it – have read it through using a different translation every year for 18 years. Have taught almost every book in it. One thing I have learned is that God works in the culture and allows the people to evolve. He is working in the hearts of people, not the culture. The people who Moses led would never be able to understand the culture that Christ came in to. They went through the hardship of 40 years wondering in the wilderness until all the old culture died. They went through kings, prophets and into captivity to become the people that Christ could come to and he brought a new covenant to the world that met the people where they were in spite of the culture.
    The more I study the Bible, the less I care for “The Church.” It makes me sad – my father was a minister. Through my study, I have outgrown “The Church.” The most vocal are no different than the Pharisees that Christ dealt with. Read Matthew 23:13-15; “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. (Some manuscripts read: You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, you will be severely punished.) “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites for you cross land an sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!”

    My suggestion to you is study the words of Christ and live by them as closely as you can. WWJD – What would Jesus do? The answer throughout the Bible is in many places but I quote Micah 6:8 “do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

    May God richly bless you in your path.
    Sherry Wilmoth

  443. Great job. An accurate summary of what i tell people every time they ask why i dont go to church.

  444. God never commanded anyone in His Word to tithe money to a Church or a Temple. Yet, so many In Churches around the world today are lied to every time the offering plate is passed. “God requires you to tithe your money” is spoken from the pulpit. “If you don’t tithe, you are a God-robber! You are cursed!” Is often shouted to put the laity in a state of guilt and condemnation. Relax Saints of God… Fear not. God never authorized that pastor to speak those deceitful and unkind words to your ears.

    Let’s examine the Scriptures and see what they say concerning God’s commanded tithe, shall we? But first, let us visit two sons of Aaron at the Tabernacle…

    Leviticus 10:1-2 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

    In the above text, two of Aaron’s sons were struck dead because they offered “strange fire” to God upon the altar of the Lord. What exactly was this “strange fire” that they offered that so displeased the Lord? We are not told. But we are given a special insight as to how precise God wants our offerings to Him be.

    Nadab and Abihu had offered something that God had not commanded. Now, one would think, “Hey, at least they were offering something to God. What wrong can be in that?” But God said they offered something that was not commanded.

    A lesson should be learned by all from the reading of the account of Nadab and Abihu. That lesson is, “Do It By The Book”.

    God has given us His Word as an instruction manual. This “manual” tells us what God expects of us as His dear children. If we are disobedient, God’s chastening hand will be upon us. It surely was upon Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire upon the altar.

    The manner in which we are to live is laid out for us in the New Testament section of the Holy Bible. Now, please don’t go off on a tangent, saying I don’t like the Old Testament. I do. I cherish both the Old and the New. I read them both and learn from the both.

    But the fact is, the New contains the pattern by which God wants us to live today. Hebrews 8 tells us that in AD 66 the Old Covenant was ready to pass away and that God was bringing us into a New Covenant. We cannot live in the Old Covenant promises, curses, edicts, laws, statutes, and ordinances. God doesn’t expect us to.

    In AD 51, the Apostles met in Jerusalem with the religious leaders of the day. Their order of meeting was to discuss Gentiles who had been recently converted to faith in Christ. The religious leaders of Jerusalem were insisting that the Gentiles had to keep the Law of Moses or they could not be saved.

    The Apostle Peter spoke before them all, rebuking them for placing a yoke upon the Gentile Brethren that neither the Jews of that day, nor their ancestors could keep themselves. Peter told them they were tempting God in their demands. The Apostle James said the Judsizers were overthrowing the souls of the Gentiles.

    At the close of the meeting, James wrote a letter to the Gentile Believers and sent it to them by the hands of Paul and Barnabas, telling the Gentiles that the Apostles had given no such command that they keep the Law. He also sent Judas and Silas with the same words, but not written… they were to speak to the Gentiles, telling them that they were not commanded to keep the Mosaic Law.

    The Mosaic Law was part of an Old Covenant that was soon to pass away. It was given to the Israelites living in the promised land.

    In many Churches around the world today, there is a doctrine being taught that could be called “strange fire”. That doctrine is the monetary tithe requirement doctrine. Pastors will stand in their pulpits and preach from the Old Covenant the command to tithe that was given to Israel. But, they replace the tithe God commanded, an agricultural tithe, with a tithe consisting of money. It no longer is the tithe that God required of Israel. It has become “strange fire.”

    No longer the agricultural tithe that was commanded by God for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai, (Leviticus 27:30-34) it is now a monetary tithe.
    No longer a tithe that was to be given to Levites, to widows, to orphans, to strangers in Israel, (Numbers 18:21,24,26,28; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Nehemiah 10:37-38) it is now given to pastors of Churches around the world.

    The “tithes” were good when God had control of them, but modern-day Nadab’s, modern-day Abihu’s have turned them into a “strange fire” which God never commanded. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Many pastors today are tempting God and putting a yoke upon their congregations that God never authorized them to do. Search the Scriptures. When you do, you will find that God’s holy tithe was never carried to the Church, never commanded of the Church, and never controlled by the Church.

    Pastors would do well to set aside this sin of preaching a strange fire and offering it to God in the Sunday prayers. Seek out what the New Covenant says concerning the saved and their giving. They are not to be coerced into giving, they are not to be made to fear a curse from God. Rather, they should be taught to give simply because “they love Jesus.” Teach them as the Apostle Paul taught the saints and brethren at the Church in Corinth… as they purpose in their hearts to give, give cheerfully and willingly God will be honored more by a loving offering than by “strange fire”

    Do it by the Book

    People, If you insist that God requires you to tithe, that you are being obedient to God and His Holy Word, at least have the decency and respect for God and His Holy Word to do it in accordance to what He has written in His Holy Word.

    When you tithe, don’t take it to a Church in a Gentile land. God never commanded such. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and take it to the Promised Land. ( Deut. 12:1,10-11 )

    When you tithe, don’t give it to a Gentile preacher. God never commanded that. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and take it to the Levite, the widow, the orphan and the stranger (which would include yourself) in the Promised Land. ( Deut 14:22-29 )

    When you tithe, don’t tithe money. God never commanded such a tithe. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and tithe agricultural products that are grown in the Promised Land. ( Leviticus 27:30-33)

    If you insist on tithing, don’t tithe that which comes from Gentile hands on Gentile soil. God never commanded it. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and move to the Promised land Israel so you can cultivate the land and have the tithe that God required in the Mosaic Law.

    But remember…

    .Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

    If you are not going to “Do It By The Book”, don’t try to convince me that you are being obedient to God in tithing. It is just the opposite… you are being rebellious to what He decreed concerning how His Holy tithe was to be observed and kept.

    Maybe it’s best you stop offending in that point of the Law and just submit to God’s will concerning your giving today.

    2 Corinthians 9:6 (KJV) 6 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

    2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV) 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

    God does not require tithe of your money. Instead, He wants you to give simply out of your love for Him. Not as others dictate, but as you choose in your heart. Give with a willing heart and He will be pleased.

  445. I loved this article. The Pastor really gets it! Then I started reading the comments and – low and behold – there was “The Church.” Consumed by petty differences. Just goes to show, people just don’t get Love, Compassion, Grace, WWJD (what would Jesus do). My suggestion is: Study what Jesus said and then practice that. If you do that, you will truly begin to understand what “The Church” should be.

  446. The “failings” of The Church as you call it is the “failings” of humankind. No matter which church you go to, you will find people with flaws and leaving one for another is pointless! All religions teach you to love God and do kindness to others. Wherever you go if you follow these principles, you are a “good” human being. Period! God knows your soul and your agony in whatever situation. Trust Him and do the best that you can wherever you are. You will find “fault” and “sin” everywhere for none of us are Godly: pastors, ministers, rabbis, etc. .. but all pretend to know the truth and be the best and only. Let God be your judge and theirs but try to do what is right and Your God will know You !

  447. Tithes were never from firstfruits. Not sure where you heard it was, but wherever you got it from was wrong.

  448. Thank you. That’s what I try to do, follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

  449. I believe most professed Christians don’t know how but “want to.” I worked with homeless and destitute people and I learned “how to.” I learned to put aside my own biases and prejudices and judgments that I had been taught since I was a baby and truly love people without judgment. Just remember – God is the judge. There is not one place in the Bible that says you are. God will judge the sin – you need to learn to love. When you do this – people will come to you because they see God in you through your love. “And they will know you are Christians by your love – by your love – and they’ll know you are Christians by your love!”

  450. Both you and Grimm are wrong. Grimm is wrong for teaching God requires tithes. You are wrong for teaching tithes are firstfruits. Nehemiah 10:37-38 reveals that tithes and firstfruits were not the same.

  451. Good points, but I left because of the lack of honesty among Christians. Nothing like being financially ruindd by good “Christians” to leave a long-lasting bad taste in your mouth. And, the reality is that as long as a crook goes to church and pays his tithes, the church is totally willing to look the other way.

  452. I encourage you to study all the Scriptures that deal with the commanded tithe. If you do, you will find that God never commanded anyone to tithe his or her money to the Temple. You will also find that in the New Testament, tithes were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the Church. God does not want tithe of money, and He never required people living on Gentile soil to tithe.

  453. The widow did not tithe her pennies. Pennies were not titheable.

  454. Sorry Pamela, but you are wrong.

    Amos 3:3 asks the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”.
    An interesting question indeed. A question today could be asked why so many who claim to be walking with God disagree with His Word? Are they truly walking with God?
    God said in Leviticus 27:30-33 that His holy tithe is agricultural. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God said in Numbers 18:21,24,26,28 that He gave His tithe to the Levitic tribe of the children of Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God said in Deuteronomy 14:22-27 that a second tithe was to be taken to a Jewish Feast and eaten by the tither before the LORD God. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God said in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 that a third tithe was to be given every three years to feed the widows, the orphans, the Levites and foreigners in Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God said in Nehemiah 10:37-38 that the firstfruits were to be taken to the Temple storehouse in Jerusalem, and the tithes were to be taken to the Levites. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God said in Psalm 147:19-20 that His statutes and judgments were given to Israel and Israel alone. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    God’s Word tells us in Acts 15:10 that it is tempting God to tell Gentile Believers that they are to keep the Mosaic Law. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    In the last chapter that tithing is mentioned in God’s Holy Word, we are told that the commanded tithe is the same agricultural tithe commanded in the Penteteuch more than 1500 years earlier. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
    Are you in agreement and walking with God? or have you rejected His decree and chosen to walk the path of mammon forged by a pastor who has handled the Word of God deceitfully?

  455. If all your church offers is a slick production then I would agree with point #1 but rsch church needs to find what God has called them to and then do it. For some like Hillsong that is bands, lights, productions and for some it is just the opposite. The way it is written makes it sounds a little like sour grapes.

  456. Mary I am in South Africa and if u don’t have the Lord you will have nothing,churches are also closing doors here because the people are taken a knock with finances and don’t pay tithes .Secondly if the pastor preaches a mess with the Holy Spirit it is very good , and thirdly I believe a church is there to use its gifts to reach out to the people and outside and lost and the church must train them to disciple

  457. Meh. Not a very good article.

  458. Disagree with this article completely. People ARE more interested in sex, drugs, greed, etc. The reason they aren’t going to church is because it makes them feel convicted and contradicts their lifestyle. Believe me. I was a devout Christian for 15 years, eventually lost my faith and became Atheist, and after 7 years have decided to reaffirm my faith and values. I participated in all of the degenerate behavior and came out feeling unfulfilled. There IS an active plot against not only the church, but against the white Christian family unit as well. It has been the most successful structure in human history. Western civilization was built from this unit. People have begun to give in. Evil and degeneracy is winning. Clever people have found ways to make people give in, with fears of being labeled as bigots, racists, intolerant, etc. Dont be afraid to stand up for what you believe. In the end you will be able to say you stood by your values and didn’t give into those who seek to destroy you.

  459. I kept waiting for the writer to say something I haven’t said a thousand times already. Never happened.

    And if I’m saying this, and he’s saying this, and other people are saying this …

    There’s another problem.

  460. Satan is love.

    If Satan can’t convince you to live for him, he’s okay with you being a Christian… he actually WANTS you to be a Christian.

    But not the kind of Christian Jesus calls you to be. No, the kind of Christian he’s ok with you being is the one that doesn’t really abstain from much of anything…the one that’s accepting of everyone and everything…the one that has bought into the lie that love is about leaving truth unspoken, about letting people live however they want (because telling them the truth is unkind, and love is kind).

    “Come just as you are” is a popular motto for churches nowadays, and I love it! Because I believe that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, my God is a God of open arms…a God who says everyone is welcome. But Satan’s plan is for churches to embrace a “LIVE just as you are” motto. He wants you to believe that you can live any way you please and still make it to Heaven, because God is love. (He wants you to believe this because he wants you to spend eternity in Hell with him.)

    Many preachers today are saying, “Look, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Following Jesus is the easiest thing in the world. He loves you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    And because I love you, I have to tell you the truth…they’re lying to you. Jesus taught that on the other side of a narrow gate, is a narrow way. That’s what it took for you to get saved, it’s even harder to stay saved. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…”

    If we could all do whatever we wanted (as long as we loved God and others), what would be the point of salvation? As followers of Christ we are called to give up everything, to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of ourselves. In 2014, it still takes living a holy and separated life to be saved.

    Acceptance cannot be confused with love. Yes, God loves us at all times, even when we aren’t deserving (which we never are)…but that doesn’t mean He accepts who we are at all times. Acceptance is defined as agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. How can we believe or agree with the sin of this world? 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them…” Once we start accepting sin, we start defending sin. We are called to be in the world but not of the world.

    God wants us to love people and to see people the way He sees them. He wants to use us to save this world from total darkness, and bring them into His light. We can only do so by being set apart. Matthew 5:13 says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing…”

    We must fight daily to retain our savor, our purity. We must press forward, clinging to our standards of holiness, remembering all the while that we are called to be the light of this world. If in these last days, we lose courage and choose to blend in with the world…if we tell others that living however they want is perfectly okay as long as they go to church and declare Jesus as their Savior, because none of us are perfect and Jesus accepts us for who we choose to be…how are we going to change their lives? We won’t. And they’ll never truly be transformed. And when we stand before God in judgment, their blood will be on our hands.

    Ok, back to this whole “love is kind” thing for a moment. To be kind means to be considerate, helpful, loving. So if I don’t tell people the truth because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, and I in turn cause them to be eternally damned…how have I helped them? HOW IS THAT KIND?? We are called to speak the truth in love, yes, but we MUST speak it. THAT is love… THAT is kind.

    Galatians 5:29-21: Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    You know what that is? Truth. And love. Real love, not Satan’s pseudo love. Satan’s aim is to land you in Hell. My aim is to see you dance on streets of gold.

    We’re humans, and sometimes we are lousy. We are imperfect beings striving for perfection. Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again…” Abraham fell. Noah fell. David fell. Many of our Biblical heroes fell into sin. But they got up and reversed course. They didn’t stay in sin. They didn’t LIVE in sin.

    Along the journey we will make mistakes. We may fall a time or two or a thousand times. Thankfully, His mercies are brand new daily and His grace is sufficient. But we cannot stay in sin. We cannot live a life of sin.

    Romans 12:1-2 (NLT): And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

    Romans 14:12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    God is love and loves you for who you are. The thing is, He loves you too much to leave you that way.

    There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. Walk uprightly, my friends.

    See full article at http://stormiekirby.virb.com/blog

  461. Actually, you are mistaken about WHEN Jesus made this statement — you’ll find it in John 10, NOT after his resurrection.

    The answer is rather obvious from the context of the gospels. Jesus is speaking to JEWS and telling them that his sheep will also include GENTILES who believe in him, and ‘Jew and Gentile (Christians)’ will be ONE. This is a central point emphasized repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Acts 10-15 shows us the transition, and Paul frequently explains this reality, e.g. in Ephesians 2-3).

  462. Please read this and tell me if I’m off base. I’ll share with you one mans reason why people are leaving the church.

    1. Faith is faith and can’t be argued with. I can have faith anything and you can’t argue it because I believe. I believe I can fly! I don’t need to prove my faith anymore than religions need to prove God. My belief is enough.
    2. What would your child have to do to you for you to want to torture them for one second let alone all of eternity, because they lost faith in you as a father?
    3. Considering #2 above, isn’t being a Christian like being in an abusive relationship? Love me or else.
    4. If you are doing something for reward or punishment, you don’t need religion, you need empathy.
    5. Beliefs don’t change facts. Facts should change beliefs. The mountains don’t care if you believe in them in order for them to be real.
    6. Everything is open for discussion. Including religion. Nobody owns a conversation.
    7. You think there is a God and I know there is no God. You’re belief is based on
    faith much like a child has faith in Santa. My knowing is based on empirical
    and provable evidence. Much like reality. I don’t care that your wrong. I only
    get upset when you spend my money on your mistake.
    8. Living my life the way Christians are supposed to instead of the way they do, is the
    best argument for Atheism that I can make.
    9. Taking #8 into consideration, some of the best, caring, loving, giving, philanthropic people I know, have no belief. Why? Because they have to carry their “sins” around on their shoulders every day of their life. They don’t get to “be sorry” for them. They don’t get to be forgiven. So they don’t “sin” like most Christians.
    10. Have you been raised to believe that “sin” is inevitable and part of our human condition? You know, the Adam and Eve story? Wrong.

    11. These are thoughts I’ve had for years. This from a former Christian who’s doing so much more for the world now than I ever did. What changed me? Going into the Army instead of the Seminary. Combat. The human condition. I’d love for someone to answer some of my points without quoting scripture. Scripture was written by iron age man on papyrus, 3rd person through a spirit and then approved by Catholics to be bound in a book.

  463. We are all sinners who need to be forgiven by God. We ask God to forgive us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross to be our punishment for all the bad things we do to offend God. Once we are forgiven of our sins, do we keep on sinning deliberately and believe God will bless us with this kind of rebellious attitude? Of course not. We get together with other believers to encourage each other not to sin and to help each other to stay in fellowship with God. Does this mean we don’t sin anymore? Of course not because we are still human but the difference is we are sorrowful (or should be) for doing those things that offend God. Sin is not condoned, it is encouraged to be forsaken and repented of. That is what church is all about (or should be). Should the church pretend that sin no longer offends God? Then we are no longer a church.

  464. Satan is love.

    If Satan can’t convince you to live for him, he’s okay with you being a Christian… he actually WANTS you to be a Christian.

    But not the kind of Christian Jesus calls you to be. No, the kind of Christian he’s ok with you being is the one that doesn’t really abstain from much of anything…the one that’s accepting of everyone and everything…the one that has bought into the lie that love is about leaving truth unspoken, about letting people live however they want (because telling them the truth is unkind, and love is kind).

    “Come just as you are” is a popular motto for churches nowadays, and I love it! Because I believe that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, my God is a God of open arms…a God who says everyone is welcome. But Satan’s plan is for churches to embrace a “LIVE just as you are” motto. He wants you to believe that you can live any way you please and still make it to Heaven, because God is love. (He wants you to believe this because he wants you to spend eternity in Hell with him.)

    Many preachers today are saying, “Look, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Following Jesus is the easiest thing in the world. He loves you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    And because I love you, I have to tell you the truth…they’re lying to you. Jesus taught that on the other side of a narrow gate, is a narrow way. That’s what it took for you to get saved, it’s even harder to stay saved. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…”

    If we could all do whatever we wanted (as long as we loved God and others), what would be the point of salvation? As followers of Christ we are called to give up everything, to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of ourselves. In 2014, it still takes living a holy and separated life to be saved.

    Acceptance cannot be confused with love. Yes, God loves us at all times, even when we aren’t deserving (which we never are)…but that doesn’t mean He accepts who we are at all times. Acceptance is defined as agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. How can we believe or agree with the sin of this world? 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them…” Once we start accepting sin, we start defending sin. We are called to be in the world but not of the world.

    God wants us to love people and to see people the way He sees them. He wants to use us to save this world from total darkness, and bring them into His light. We can only do so by being set apart. Matthew 5:13 says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing…”

    We must fight daily to retain our savor, our purity. We must press forward, clinging to our standards of holiness, remembering all the while that we are called to be the light of this world. If in these last days, we lose courage and choose to blend in with the world…if we tell others that living however they want is perfectly okay as long as they go to church and declare Jesus as their Savior, because none of us are perfect and Jesus accepts us for who we choose to be…how are we going to change their lives? We won’t. And they’ll never truly be transformed. And when we stand before God in judgment, their blood will be on our hands.

    Ok, back to this whole “love is kind” thing for a moment. To be kind means to be considerate, helpful, loving. So if I don’t tell people the truth because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, and I in turn cause them to be eternally damned…how have I helped them? HOW IS THAT KIND?? We are called to speak the truth in love, yes, but we MUST speak it. THAT is love… THAT is kind.

    Galatians 5:29-21: Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    You know what that is? Truth. And love. Real love, not Satan’s pseudo love. Satan’s aim is to land you in Hell. My aim is to see you dance on streets of gold.

    We’re humans, and sometimes we are lousy. We are imperfect beings striving for perfection. Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again…” Abraham fell. Noah fell. David fell. Many of our Biblical heroes fell into sin. But they got up and reversed course. They didn’t stay in sin. They didn’t LIVE in sin.

    Along the journey we will make mistakes. We may fall a time or two or a thousand times. Thankfully, His mercies are brand new daily and His grace is sufficient. But we cannot stay in sin. We cannot live a life of sin.

    Romans 12:1-2 (NLT): And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

    Romans 14:12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    God is love and loves you for who you are. The thing is, He loves you too much to leave you that way.

    There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. Walk uprightly, my friends.

    Full article at http://stormiekirby.virb.com/blog

  465. I don’t know that Satan is Love. But at least you don’t have to believe in him in order for him to torture you for eternity. God on the other hand will torture you for eternity if you don’t believe. Kind of like a Dad that says you’re all good as long as you do what your told but’s willing to give you up that nasty uncle down the street that lives in the trailer and will do all kinds of untold horrified things to you if you don’t behave. Nice guy, your God. Sounds like a dysfunctional relationship to me with a bunch of victim psychology wrapped up in it. It must suck to be scared. What would your child have to do to you for you to want to torture them?

  466. People are leaving because they are being called out.. this church is not what it appears it follows other names and follows pagan traditions. Yahuah the father and Yahu sha the savior who is the son and is now Yahuah the king is the truth according to the scripture that they claim to follow. Yahuahs name has been removed 7023 times… call on Yahuah

  467. The other reason is many of us simply don’t believe in ghosts and demons anymore. We need to drop the stone-aged nonsense.

  468. Too, true. If anyone could have been a Mormon, I could have been one. Fortunately, the Lord took me away from their influence and put me into a bibe believing church. They are a seemingly nice group of people but greatly deceived by Joseph Smith. Unedited history declares what kind of man he was…a deceitful, Scripture twisting, megalomaniac. I am greatly saddened by the deception of so many in the “church” of the LDS.

  469. Christians are almost as Atheist as I am. Of the thousands of Gods, I believe in one less than they do.

  470. Ok. Water theology down to the point where nothing is agreed on other than “love others”. Got it. That makes lots of people feel good but does it save souls?

  471. You’re going on the premise that “souls can be or are” saved. Why does a soul need to be saved? Saved from what? Hell? Think, brother.

  472. The Christian bible says that the “church” is everyone. To hell with the buildings and their congregations. Find your fellowship among like-minded individuals. They will be your family, if no one else will.

  473. I just read through nearly all of the comments… I’d love to know, does ANYONE realize that these arguments are EXACTLY what is driving away real people, humans here on earth standing imperfectly in front of you willing to bear it all if we can get some understanding, compassion and love from other real people who are equally imperfect? We’re looking for community, love and grace from the hands and feet of God. Not a lecture. Not an argument about tithing. Not more heated discussions over rules and the right and wrong of how it must look to be the correct Christian.

    Be Love. Let’s start there. That’s what this world needs.

  474. One answer- love. God IS love – not a characteristic, HE IS ALL LOVE. and what about JESUS – let’s see – New commandment – Love one another , LOVE YOUR ENEMY. Dear reader you cannot love anyone until you love yourself. JESUS Is IN YOU.
    LOVE HIM with all your heart and be patient, tolerant and caring with ALL others. This is the job of the church to share the love.

  475. Thanks Robert. Yes, the possibility is burnout, but that is partly due to the system that http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/april-online-only/seven-things-i-hate-about-spiritual-formation.html?start=2 requires it to “belong.” There seems to be a lack of soul care either provided by the church or encouraged by the church. When Paul wanted to visit a church it was for “mutual encouragement.” I dont seem to be finding that in a “name-over-the-door church.” Maybe I just don’t choose wisely. Almost all the membership agreements should have given me pause. They ask that I believe and do certain things to maintain the unity but the only thing the organization promises is to make sure I’m confronted in love when I get it wrong. I’m not sure those kind of promises said at a wedding between a groom and a bride would make people very confident in their relationship moving forward. I’m not sure why that is acceptable in a church. It is very possible that I have the wrong attitude, but it is also possible that God wants better for me, for all of us.

  476. I could never understand how anyone with a slave driven past, to females, to alternate lifestyles, aka, homosexuals, to anyone who can see through the hokey, vigin birth to resurrection, immoral, murderous, genocidal, misogynistic, infanticide, teachings, could follow the bible. Ancient barbaric ideologies need to be left to the past. We are better people than that.

  477. Thanks Robert. Yes, the possibility is burnout, but that is partly due to the system that requires it to “belong.” There seems to be a lack of soul care either provided by the church or encouraged by the church. When Paul wanted to visit a church it was for “mutual encouragement.” I dont seem to be finding that in a “name-over-the-door church.” Maybe I just don’t choose wisely. Almost all the membership agreements should have given me pause. They ask that I believe and do certain things to maintain the unity but the only thing the organization promises is to make sure I’m confronted in love when I get it wrong. I’m not sure those kind of promises said at a wedding between a groom and a bride would make people very confident in their relationship moving forward. I’m not sure why that is acceptable in a church. It is very possible that I have the wrong attitude, but it is also possible that God wants better for me, for all of us.

  478. I believe that tithing can take many forms (e.g. donations to orgs like Red Cross), volunteering (e.g. habitat for humanity, babysitting for a neighbor w/o resources), etc.) I’ve never heard it stated as you’ve done here, but it gives me great comfort. God gave us common sense. No one should tithe (financially) if they don’t have the means to do so. When I was a student (as an adult), I gave in the way that I could (time). It certainly has a monetary value and it is doing the work of the lord (which the church preaches). Thank you for your comment.

  479. Wow, this article. I must say is simply amazing. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you! Wow, I’m just speechless.

  480. “Your love doesn’t look like love.” Good blog!

  481. Virginia, come to an Episcopal Church, you’ll be glad you did.
    Everyone is accepted, I mean everyone.

  482. You know little of what you are commenting about. The evidence is strewn about the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. One only needs to look. The plates were commanded to be carried for many months and buried where they were in upper state NY. It says this in the book itself, which is a compilation of many authors testimony of what happened. It is becoming more and more clear that these were the pre-mayan peoples.

  483. It is a good thing I was taught not to speak ill of other’s religions. Such is the nature of hate, which we all know the root of. It is a shame so many churches feel it necessary to lash out at other faiths in such an un-christ like manner. I remember when the Baptists showed up at one of our pageants to hold signs and protest against us. We treated them with love and rspect and even gave them food and drink. Then it started to rain and some of our elders set up an awning for them so they wouldn’t get wet. It is amazing how many of them turned their signs around and stared at the words of hatefulness they were preaching. In the face of such kindness and love they were dumbfounded and many of them left that day. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears. Megalomaniac I think not. there have been many lies told and tales twisted, but Jesus commanded forgiveness and love to all, even thine enemies.

  484. And what of the baptisms for the dead, which are actually commented on in the new testament. To think as many churches do, that the billions who have lived never even having had a chance to receive the teachings of the Lord, would be damned? How silly would this be? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And also the requirement that any church of Christ would have the required callings of a prophet, apostles, seventies, bishops, elders, priests, teachers and deacons? Will you sweep this aside as well?

  485. Well said Pastor John 🙂

  486. Great article. Shame the comments section went and proved the point with a completely pointless argument about tithing. That really showed a depth of compassion and love. Not. Your petty disagreements aren’t soothing any hurts.

  487. It is terribly disheartening to see some of the arguments that have been taking place throughout the “comments” section of this article. It’s like some people are missing the main point and going right into the judgmental and critical attitudes that this article says are pushing people away. Can we not just all agree that perfect Bible trivia is not the main goal of Christianity? We are commanded to LOVE one another. That does not mean you have to agree with the sins of others. Have people forgotten the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner?” I hoped that reading these comments would bring me hope, as someone who has been a Christian my whole life, but is feeling overwhelmed by the way “Christians” as a whole are treating the people of the world. Instead, I, once again, am ashamed at some of the attitudes being displayed by certain individuals. Do we not realize that the petty attitudes of certain individuals of the Church are attributed to “Christianity” as a whole by those who see them? Arrogance, preference, and hypocrisy are what the world is seeing in Christianity, because that is what we are showing them. I wouldn’t want to join a group like that either, if I did not know any better. We have to stop.

  488. I am an older, divorced woman. I left my home church when the ‘caring’ pastor told me I just needed more marriage counseling to keep my marriage together. The fact that, for all practical purposes, my now-ex husband had completely disengaged from any home or family life (we had 2 older teengage sons) was apparently irrelevant. My sons left because nobody (including the high school pastor) would sit down with them and TALK. They were both told to come home and pray with me. I tried a couple of churches in the neighborhood, but it’s all flashy graphics on a screen, large-band-loud praise music, and (for me) superficial ‘lessons’. I still have my faith, I pray every day – many times – and read my Bible and devotionals. You know what I would REALLY like? A woman’s Bible study at NIGHT. Not a couples study, not a parents study. A Beth Moore study at NIGHT. I work full time, and a Wednesday morning or Thursday morning just is NOT going to work. Both churches I’ve talked to told me that they just aren’t set up for that. So, because I work, I’m no longer married and my boys are grown up and on their own, I’m obviously not worth making time for, for a Bible study. And THAT’S what I hear from the ‘Church’.

  489. Don’t want the church to care about me! Would love the church to fight real injustice- racism, school to prison pipeline, persecution of the poor, the LGBT community, and women. IF, and that’s a big IF, the church EVER began to give a damn about the people they know ignore at best and hate at worst, THEN I might care about the church again. She’s a greedy whore, that one, who left her first love a long long time ago. I don’t expect to ever be back, after thirty years of pouring my life and my money into that dead end “relationship”. It’s all one way. The church takes, and takes, and hates, and hates. Don’t expect any her to change for me, since she wouldn’t do what’s right for Jesus.

  490. You?

  491. Oops. .. and I can’t delete

  492. Thanks John. At last some rare sense in the crazy church. Here is a revolutionary idea for church leaders to try: fully die to pride, be kind to others, and love others enough to not keep the saving gospel a secret from them.

  493. Thank you for such a thoughtful and well written article!

  494. While raking the Church over the coals seems to be a hip thing to do lately, there are some inherent dangers. To name just two… the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church is the dearly beloved of God. Be careful when being free with criticism that it is pleasing to God, not needlessly hurting His beloved. Is there error within the Church – of course, because every church is made up of people born after the Fall. And that’s my second point. Every (EVERY!) Christ follower is part of the Church – the Body of Christ on earth – de facto. Therefore, to truly leave, one has to turn his/her back on Christ.

    Where does that leave us then? Unable to exclude ourselves from a living Body that has issues, the onus is on every single one of us to humble ourselves and follow Christ. In doing so, we must love one another. How that is worked out in each group will be determined by the people working out their salvation together. In closing – when we criticize the Church, we indict ourselves. The only option – get busy loving one another. I will most likely not make a difference in the lives of anyone outside the circle of my friends who I know well. So rather than lobbing a bomb into cyberspace with accusations that probably won’t change anyone’s heart or mind, I choose to live the change that needs to happen around me. I don’t see any other way.

  495. Thank you, comment section, for providing a very apt example of the reason people flee the church. This squabbling has no good purpose here.

  496. Thank God I have found Orthodoxy. I agree with much of the above article and it articulates many of the reasons I am stepping out of evangelicalism. If you are wondering if there is more out there, come and see!

  497. To the author, I am not sure if this is you pouring out you heart or it’s kind of hypothetical in order to get us, the church, thinking.

    If it is the former, I’m really sorry that you were hurt by someone or a group of someones. I want to apologize for people who made you feel not good enough, or snapped at you when they should of just listened to you, hugged you, asked how they could help, and showed you Jesus.

    I heard on the radio the other day that although people are always saying how judgmental Christians are, really it’s just humans in general who are super judgmental. I agree with that statement, but know that we, the church, should put in an extra effort to be loving and supportive to people who are different from us. Even Jesus did that and constantly!

    I think sometimes we’re scared. Maybe we haven’t grown up around drugs or alcohol, so we don’t know what we should do when we are approached by an addict. We don’t what to do when we are approached by a lesbian or an ex-convict, etc. I think we don’t know what we should say, and that scares us. But I think you made an excellent point: you just wanted someone to listen to you. I think that’s the first step to loving people, whoever they are.

    So thank you for sharing your heart with us and please be patient with us. Here’s a secret: we’re definitely not perfect, we’re learning too. 😉

  498. I noticed all the Scripture I posted that reveals that pastors are lying when they say God requires you to tithe your money have been removed.

    Proving one reason many are leaving the Institutionalized Church. Pastors don’t want a congregation of godly people… they want a congregation of gullible puppets. They do not want people to know the truth about tithing and true Christian Stewardship. They do not want Bible scholars, they want blind followers.

    And the blind, gullible, uneducated masses love their false teachings. smh

  499. Tithing and firstfruits aren’t the same thing. I can understand why you’d think that though, as that is what is taught over most pulpits. There are 4 main types of “giving”: firstfruits, tithes, alms, and offerings. Search it out, it’s an awesome study 🙂

  500. In my opinion I think people leave church because we have forgotten about the word of God which is our daily bread but instead we choose scriptures that would feed the wrong we are doing in church. The only time that we would be able to please God is positioning ourselves to His perfect Will. We can only do that by migrating from self to God pleasing. In most churches the most important message is surrounded in giving and offerings. Our big buildings have really clouded us, maybe going back to the synagogues would be positioning ourselves in that Perfect Will of God.

  501. While I don’t want to put this article down in its entirety, as I largely agree with it, I would like to propose an antithesis.
    While on the surface people are leaving because of a lack of love, it is not the correction and exhortation that evidence this lack. It is just the lack of love in it.
    Jesus himself commanded those lowlifes and prostitutes to “go your way, and sin no more”. The difference is when it is done with an attitude of self – righteousness, rather than humility and love. The church needs to stop speaking so much truth, without love.
    If I try to accept a person and all their sin, I’m not being like Jesus. “You were anointed with the oil of joy above your brethren, because you loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Heb 1:9
    We are commanded over and over to reprove sin. It is like disciplining your kids. If done in love for their benefit, they love you for it.

    In short, I agree that people leave because of the lack of love, evidenced by cliques and disdaining remarks. If the love of God is really present people will be accepted and discipled, not accepted and told to change.
    I really mean good by this, and I hope that any who read this can see my heart. Glory to God

  502. Which makes the entire racket suspect in every way. There’s nothing about any of these organizations that couldn’t have been mistranslated or otherwise willfully altered so why waste time participating in any of it at all?

  503. The main reason I am disillusioned with the church is because of the corruption. Nigerian “pastors” peddling the love of Christ, disgraced American tele-evangelist sucking the money out of middle class folks, Catholic and Anglican priests abusing children. I could go on and on

  504. It’s difficult to not sound abrasive in this so I’m just going to put it out there with the disclaimer that I don’t mean to offend the individuals involved: I’m just not a fan of the whole idea.

    As a young(er) person that is just starting a family I have precisely zero intention of allowing my children to attend any form of church or religious “get-togethers” until they are older and I have taught them what religion is historically. I do not *need* to participate. I do not have a desire nor a hole that needs to be filled in order to see beauty in this existence and feel awe when I look around me. My children are incredible and full of life and wonder – I will not be taking that away from them in favor of teaching them that this life is expendable because it’s not the only one they have. Religion has been wielded like a hatchet in an operating room with the inertia of the masses that tout the good and conveniently exclude the bad for millennia and I am unwilling to add to that mass.

    I have never been a fan of any religion because they inevitably teach that there is something better to look forward to after you die, just as long as you act precisely the way they want you to until then. Thanks but no thanks. If this is the one chance we have to exist it should be spent fearlessly and without the weight of “original sin” hanging around ones neck. If there is an omnipotent god that allows us to be born as wretched heathens that are drawn to all of the wrong impulses who then commands that we be well “or else” then I’m not particularly fond of the methodology being employed.

    This article is refreshing in so many ways, but to me they are the illumination of how this vast corporation has finally abused it’s most devout to the point of abandonment. When mankind is taught that it can find solace for its many misdeeds and wicked thoughts in an undeniable-yet-unverifiable being it tends to abuse that invisible absolution. When you are taught that you are expected to do evil – that it is inevitable – and that it’s ok so long as you request forgiveness from something that cannot deny it to you, then you will permit yourself to commit wickedness. So far it is religions that make these vast and incredible claims which is what has pushed me farther and farther from participating in any religion ever again.

    On a side note: the bickering in the comments here is an incredible testament to why religion should recede to the privacy of everyone’s homes never to be brought into public light again. You can’t even agree on the definition of individual words yet there are vast swaths of you that want religion to erode the foundation of the U.S. In favor of making christianity involuntary…

  505. A helpful introduction to a necessary dialogue that is required- but, please edit out all the assumptions you start off with. You really don’t know what church leaders are thinking,, and you really don’t see what they are seeing John- you assume these aspects- maybe a reflection of your own church history. Many leaders are proactively asking these questions without the fears you cite. Of course, these questions began to be asked many years ago hence the emergence of different types of church expression. So, perhaps the most meaningful question to ask is “God what is it you want to be for me and through me right now that you couldn’t be at any other time?

  506. I honestly think he should try going to a Quaker meeting. From my own experience with Quakers, everything that he is telling church that he needs that they’re not giving is something that my Quaker meeting has given me.

  507. I was voted out of Church in a secret meeting.

    I say “secret” because, though I was a member of the Church for many years, I was not told about the meeting until after it had already convened. I had begun teaching Scriptural truth outside the Church building, not representing the Church name in any way.

    The news of my teaching in my community got to the pastor and a meeting was called. I should have been informed, so I could have defended myself with Scripture. But was not given that opportunity.

  508. I spent the last hour reading all these posts and I have to say the people posting for the most part are the reason people are leaving the church. The stuff I love is “If you don’t give 10% you are stealing from God.” Really wow. Also everyone thinks they are a theologian and knows exactly what the bible means. The reason so many people are leaving the church is because of being judged none stop. There is only one Judge you have to answer to. I love going to church each Sunday and other holy days. I toss in bucket whatever I choose to. Let me tell you it is no where near 10%. I was raised to love God with your heart and soul (by the church). The never said heart and soul and checkbook. I also enjoy going to random churches and looking and listening. Whenever I go into the mega churches and listen to the power preachers I totally enjoy myself. The ones that have their own tv broadcast to allow the whole world see them and send a check are the most fun. I have to say I truly miss the revivals of the 80’s. Just remember love god and he will love you. He is your only judge and jury. To the pastors that want to be the judged just sit back enjoy the show and keep your money in your pocket. If you want to give money/time give it with your heart not because of guilt “God is free of Guilt”. So if you feel guilty it is not coming from God. Love you all.

  509. Dear John,
    Couple of things I’ll mention in regards to your writing. You said that “love doesn’t look like love. ” I hear this over and over by some who have left the church. Many times is sounds something like “My God doesn’t love like that,” or something similar. The truth is that we all get frustrated because we want God to fit into our description of Him. We want Him to accept all the things we do and “meet us where we are,” is just a way of saying that we’re too stubborn to change and are feeling a little guilty about it. Love does not mean acceptance of sin. Love means, ” I forgive you, now go and sin no more.” For you to turn over your life to Christ means a transformation has taken place. It means your heart has changed. It means, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in an auditorium with 1000 people with flashing lights or in a hut in Papua New Guinea. God is there with you. The rest is just the wrapping paper. The goal is for us to change our lives to fit in with God. Not the other way around. At the end of the day, there are good churches and bad churches. As long as they are made up of people, this will be the case. However, I have found that if we focus on our relationship with Christ and growing it, you will find the right church. Churches do amazing things, to say that they aren’t in the trenches tells me you don’t know much. Churches are on the forefront of stopping human trafficking, saving young girls that work in strip clubs and changing the culture to value human life. You say you don’t want to be “preached to,” but that’s exactly what a church is supposed to do. It’s supposed to CONVICT your heart every Sunday, to splash some cold water on our face and help us understand with much urgency that this isn’t about YOU. It’s about God. As long as we keep the focus on our feelings, our needs and our wants we will continue to get frustrated and feel forever thirsty. The problem is not the church, the problem is our expectations of what the church is. It will not fix us, only God can do that. It’s like blaming the teacher because a child refuses to learn. At some point, we realize that free will means reaching out to the hand the reaches for us and doing our part, regardless of the surroundings.

  510. Spot. On.

  511. There is much talk about ‘spiritual but not religious.’ My children would tell you they are in a different category: ‘spiritual and religious….but not republican.’

  512. How does a “church” start in the U.S.? The “officers” register the “church” with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 organization. So from the get go, it is registered with the government and agrees to a certain muzzling of free speech in exchange for a government perk – tax-free status. And, it adopts a “corporate” structure with corporate language, no matter how small or large the organization. That’s just for starters.

  513. “We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us”???!!! How about: “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Or, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There are more, but you get the picture.

  514. I am sorry you feel you can never return to church because your needs weren’t being met. I don’t believe the church as a whole should keep you from church, maybe you need to find a church that will meet your needs. Not all churches are the same. Best wishes to you.

  515. Not all churches are the same. Find one that will meet your needs.

  516. To give to the churh is not just monetary. Share your money, time, talents, and resources. It is like any community, you should give as you receive. It shouldn’t be a take, take,take. It is about being in relationship.

  517. Interesting read, but I cringed when I came to the part that read: “We see a Jesus in the Bible who hung out with lowlifes and prostitutes and outcasts, and love them right there…”
    This statement is so often-used and with good intentions – but it’s false.
    Jesus DID NOT hang out with hookers, thieves and unrepentant sinners. Make no mistake – Jesus did not shun those in sin – we are all sinners. But when we “hang out” with someone – that infers we choose to spend our time in their company. The people we hang out with are the people we enjoy, whom we choose to spend our free time with and who we share life and interests with.
    So who did Jesus actually hang out with? Jesus was very intentional and deliberate about who he hung out with. In fact, he chose a group of 12 men to hang out with. Now it’s true that these 12 men were also sinners, but they were repentant sinners who had made a decision to “deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus.”
    Yes, Jesus still encountered hardened sinners. But they came to him – he didn’t go and frequent their hangouts. I’ve never read in the Bible where Jesus walked into a tavern or a brothel. He did however embrace the adulteress, dine with the tax collectors and had open arms to meet any sinner who came to Him or sought Him out.
    We must never forget that Jesus is God. God is Holy. Holiness cannot tolerate sin. Holiness repels sin – it’s not drawn to it. I cannot recall reading where Jesus made a habit of surrounding himself with active sinners or frequent places where sinning was celebrated.
    The “Jesus hung out with sinners” theme is used, in my opinion, often as a means to justify a Christian’s flirtation with the world. Christians feel at ease going to the bar or nightclub or casino and tell themselves that Jesus did it. I’m not sure Jesus did do that.
    “To win the world, we have to be in the world,” some will say. Certainly, we are called to engage the world, but we must never embrace it.
    This is not about practicing some arrogant form of self-righteousness. It’s about being obedient and trying to live a holy life. We’re not perfect and we’re going to fail – many times. But let us never justify our failure by pointing to Jesus and saying “We’ll Jesus did it.”
    Again – Jesus didn’t ‘hang out’ with hardened sinners. He chose 12 men who were seeking God to be his inner circle.
    I didn’t write this to be argumentative – but this is a theme I see often on facebook and in magazine articles and books. The premise has some truth – Jesus loves and welcomes all sinners . But left unchecked, it’s a dangerous message that robs Jesus of His Holiness.

  518. The discussions below really denigrated into an argument about tithing and other non-related issues. There are churches — even mainline denominations — that don’t have massive Family Life Centers and big screens for hymns and other attention getters and who try so very hard to live the crux of the gospel and Jesus’ teachings — love God and love your neighbor. It really is amazing what some small congregations do working together through love to reach out to those who need help. These churches are generally not evangelical and are waiting for those dissatisfied with the type of churches that John used as examples. Try out your local Episcopal church. It may not be what you want liturgically since it is usually very traditional, but it is a center for love and caring, compassion, and inclusion.

  519. oops== meant in the first line — degenerated… I need to work on my vocabulary recall.

  520. Perhaps it isn’t your intention to come across as argumentative, but it does. Your arguing about the accuracy of a detail in his message and missing the larger point he’s trying to make, which is that churches are more concerned with being ‘right’ than they are with reaching people where they ACTUALLY are. Being told you’re wrong about everything does not endear people who are already on the fence about it all.

  521. I find this blog offensive and an insult to some of our more senior church members who love tradition but are still out there welcoming people open their homes to people and doing a better job of showing Gods love to everyone than you have here. how can you talk about loving people and showing God s love and then dismiss all those who don’t have the same thoughts as you by saying they have to change to suit you

  522. I am listening. I even know much of what you’re saying, but can I ask some questions?

  523. He’s talking about churches who are concerned with lack of attendance and addressing that issue specifically. If the goal is to attract more people to church on Sunday morning, then he’s suggesting that churches evaluate the message they send out to the populace. People who are on the fence about organized religion won’t see the point of coming someplace on Sunday morning where someone who claims to know more than them tells them they’re wrong and sinful. We all deal with enough negativity and stress during the week at work as it is. Church should be a peaceful place of refuge, but for many people, it isn’t. Statistics say it all…..

  524. And that is why the lord commanded his disciples to record the history and testimonies of his dealings with them. If we have many testimonies from many source gospels or books within the bible (and other sources) then we can see the big overall picture. It’s kind of like the first 4 gospels of the new testament, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. It is 4 different peoples story or view of the life of Jesus. It is 4 different people who saw the same thing but who have different stories that mesh together, sometimes imperfectly. But when taken together you can see the big picture. Jesus knew we were imperfect and that his word might be recorded imperfectly, which is why having his words from different sources helps to clarify things, sometimes greatly. This is also what separates the bible and other compilations of scripture (the book of Mormon has 15 separate books within) from the Koran (Quran) which is the word of a single individual with no other testimony or corroboration whatsoever.

  525. Yes. will you please season them with grace? 🙂

  526. but the Holy bible says that, I’ll quote let the bible speak for itself. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel [d]contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be [e]accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel [f]contrary to what you received, he is to be [g]accursed! That was written before Mormon plates and it is different gospel altogether based on a false christ whom Mormons say is created and not the Real Christ who cheated the universe man who left his Heaven to become man and died for our sin. Col 1:15-23. To trust in a different christ (one that was created), is no christ at all . And in the end, whoever trusts in the christ instead of the Living Chirst will still be in their sins. Which is why the correct Christ(Deity) not the plate man made one (christ who as created) Is pivotal to where you will spend eternity in heaven with God forever forgiven by Christ(Deity) who paid the price for our sins or hell paying you your sins yourself, without God, forever. Because the created mormon christ can not forgive sin. The mormon may spell the same but eternally different. Christ(Deity said that there is a Hell The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:14-31). as well as a Heaven (
    Luke 23:39-43)

  527. Most of the comments devolved into semantic arguments about tithing and the validity of various denominational methods. I agree with you, Virgina. I won’t be returning to the church either and I think these comments speak for themselves about why that is, wouldn’t you agree?

  528. This is an awesome article. I’ve been to all kinds of churches especially the kind you are really talking about. My last church although it is come as you are, I couldn’t because who I am isn’t a perfect Christian. I sin, I have a mouth like a sailor, I’ve done bad things that only Jesus and God can forgive me for, I drink, I judge. I’m a Christian who is going through her own personal hell and has my church been there for me? NO!!!!!

  529. If the church is God’s idea, how can we reject her and still claim to love Christ? If the church is a hospital for sinners and not a retreat for the saved, why do we expect people in it to be right all the time, aren’t they sick? Christ is love, we must learn to love, and that takes time. What would it take for someone outside the church to try again? How do we give an invitation without it sounding like a sales pitch, when that is what ears are expecting to hear? Many good, truly loving, really nice people are in church every week, why are they being judged by those who don’t look like Jesus? If the church has already been rejected, can we earn another chance?

  530. Still sounds like you are taking it wrong. You still seem to know little of what you are talking about because what you are spewing is really confusing. You must have gotten this stuff from some hateful evangelists. I’m not understanding your whole “created Christ” thing. What are you talking about? The teachings of Christ in the book of mormon are almost a perfect mirror of those in the new testament. What makes you think that we don’t believe Jesus Christ is the son of God AND the creator of the universe? We use the Holy Bible AND the book of mormon-another testament of Jesus Christ. Who told you these lies? It really sounds like you don’t even know what the book of mormon says. If you would like to ask some basic questions about our beliefs, then I will answer them for you. But please don’t go by rumor and innuendo, these are the precursors of hate.

  531. Yes, I agree.

  532. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOg-1JjAdGk

    Here’s a song that perfectly describes the longing of my heart to share with you, to love you when I don’t know how and feel incapable, unprepared, or clueless. I get misty-eyed every time I hear this song because I want so badly to do this, but it is so hard, and I am so flawed and messed up. I am just as much in need of the hope, joy, and healing that only Jesus provides as you are. I know He saved me, and my position as His child is secure, but while I’m here, because I am living in a world full of lust and temptation that I, being human, am still drawn to, I will never be perfect and this whole thing is a process. Sometimes I can only experience victory in Him as I take things day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment. I know I don’t always know how to comfort you, but God does. Please look at Him, not me.

  533. Let the church say Amen! Right on point.. Right on time. It’s time to do something different. We need a new approach and He has appointed us all to participate. Can we come together and make a difference. Let’s do somethsomething big in 2015.

  534. We must remember that, though we may call the building we assemble in a Church, the reality is it is nothing more than a building. The saved comprise the Body of Christ, the Church. The Church is a people who are known by the Lord as His sheep. A people who hear His voice and follow Him.

    Many assemblies, while having a facade of religiosity, are nothing more than social clubs and entertainment centers. They do not have shepherds teaching and preaching truth in their pulpits and classrooms. Instead, they have appointed for themselves hirelings who will water down the Gospel and tickle the ears.

    Too many pastors will not preach against sin, for fear of losing financial backing from high-dollar members of their congregation. Many don’t want to preach the truth about tithes for fear that the doors will have to close if the people stop giving 10% of their money.

    Pastors are supposed to preach the Word, not opinions that contradict the Word. So many want to see numbers, thinking greater numbers are what God is after. God could care less about numbers if His Truth is not preached. The inside of the cup needs to be cleaned of the contamination therein, else anything put in the cup becomes contaminated.

  535. All I can say as a 30+ Christian, church media marketing leader kinda guy. Holy crap, you hit the bullseye with this. 😉

  536. AND? AND? Not confusing at all I know a lot of Mormon there lives look better cleaner than mine they are knowledgable and a lot of good works. they tithe, they go to temple, family oriented, mission oriented, save for disaster planners, they have good works. and the more they have is there ticket too heaven a eventually become a god. The thing is that has nothing to do with sin how good you are. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, God is HOLY and no sin will ever enter his presence. Which is why Christ(DEITY and Man) left heaven to live a perfect life that we Man couldn’t not Christ 100% God and 100% man. His birth He was born of a woman and by Gods Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27, 34) which make Jesus able to give salvation to those who call on his name by Faith alone and not works. Works will never save anyone because works can not erase sin. Faith in Jesus(Deity and Man) Alone + nothing. = Salvation.

  537. Reaching people is indeed important, but it’s more important than we reach them with the truth. Reaching people with compassion, empathy and understanding from a human level is meaningless compared to sharing with them the absolute truth contained in the Gospel. Truth matters. When we diminish the holiness of Jesus by suggesting that He was comfortable (or even relished) in its presence, we present an inaccurate picture of Jesus. I’m not suggesting we bash people with a Bible and open our conversations with them with condemnation. We must indeed accept people where they are – but we must never compromise God’s standards. If a man comes to church who has a drinking problem – we love him. We support him in efforts to stay away from that which causes him to stumble. We don’t greet him with shouts of how he’s going to Hell. We open our doors and our arms and we offer extraordinary support as he repents and God begins to bring change to his life. We are there if he stumbles. We’re there to pick him up. We don’t give him a ride down to the bar or take him to a ballgame and offer to buy him a beer.
    There was a man in the New Testament who was very much an in-your-face, blunt preacher who preached repentance. He was not a very politically correct man. He stood, preached and told people to turn. In today’s modern church – he probably wouldn’t be welcomed. He’d be considered judgmental, old-fashioned, bigoted, out-of-touch and ineffective. His name was John the Baptist. This Jesus that many say hung out with sinners, would certainly not have liked him or his methods.
    However, the Jesus of the Bible, the one who loved sinners but DIDN”T hang out with them, called John the Baptist – the “greatest man ever born of a woman.”

  538. If the church would go back to their Hebrew roots and do God’s things in God’s way there would be a lot less people leaving. We have been set free on Christ and we have freedom in God’s instructions which we hose to follow out of love.

  539. “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A.W. Tozer

  540. Wow! Not much can be said to add to it – other than true. Sad, but true. Thank you for your willingness to share.

  541. Why ask the Church to do the work we as individuals are responsible for. We are not children who need entertainment, what we need is to know our faith and only after will we find understanding in what takes place. People walk away because of convenience then blame the Church. We need to follow the Church’s teaching not the other way around, that simple.

  542. When the Church is not teaching truth, we need to leave it.

  543. Please tell me how full-time Pastors are supposed to support themselves, even into their 70’s, long after a retirement age??

  544. Dear John,
    Couple of things I’ll mention in regards to your writing. You said that “love doesn’t look like love. ” I hear this over and over by some who have left the church. Many times is sounds something like “My God doesn’t love like that,” or something similar. The truth is that we all get frustrated because we want God to fit into our description of Him. We want Him to accept all the things we do and “meet us where we are,” is just a way of saying that we’re too stubborn to change and are feeling a little guilty about it. Love does not mean acceptance of sin. Love means, ” I forgive you, now go and sin no more.” For you to turn over your life to Christ means a transformation has taken place. It means your heart has changed. It means, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in an auditorium with 1000 people with flashing lights or in a hut in Papua New Guinea. God is there with you. The rest is just the wrapping paper. The goal is for us to change our lives to fit in with God. Not the other way around. At the end of the day, there are good churches and bad churches. As long as they are made up of people, this will be the case. However, I have found that if we focus on our relationship with Christ and growing it, you will find the right church. Churches do amazing things, to say that they aren’t in the trenches tells me you don’t know much. Churches are on the forefront of stopping human trafficking, saving young girls that work in strip clubs and changing the culture to value human life. You say you don’t want to be “preached to,” but that’s exactly what a church is supposed to do. It’s supposed to CONVICT your heart every Sunday, to splash some cold water on our face and help us understand with much urgency that this isn’t about YOU. It’s about God. As long as we keep the focus on our feelings, our needs and our wants we will continue to get frustrated and feel forever thirsty. The problem is not the church, the problem is our expectations of what the church is. It will not fix us, only God can do that. It’s like blaming the teacher because a child refuses to learn. At some point, we realize that free will means reaching out to the hand the reaches for us and doing our part, regardless of the surroundings.

  545. Wow! Scathing! No doubt this article was intended to be an eyebrow raiser. You certainly succeeded at that. I’d like to invite Mr Pavlovitz to get out of the house more often, or out of his own neighborhood. Not sure if this is intended to slam the existing established church in benefit of another church plant, as in the name “ChurchPlants. No doubt there are many churches who are merely doing church. But on behalf of “church”, I’d like to challenge this author to consider the struggling church which is doing its best to love and serve the community, pursue those who are leaving church and honoring the Lord with their ministries. To be honest, I am sickened at the shallowness of such an article, and the anger of such an attitude. I guess as a pastor, I take it a bit personally, when people stereotype every church, with the image the the church that has hurt or offended them, somewhere down the line. I think Mr Pavlovitz needs some healing, then come back and write about the church that might be a bit less caustic and a bit more helpful.

  546. I kind of feel like the back in forth in the comments alone are why people decide to leave the church. Seems like there are a lot of things we don’t understand, but we’re quick to throw stones at others explanation of things.

    As Christians I think sometimes we’re just making things too hard on ourselves by trying to provide answers to things we were never intended to provide answers to.

    Instead, maybe we should just focus on ourselves. Focus on being like Christ and focus on showing love. I’m afraid that’s a task within itself for me.

  547. Sounds like church in here to me.

  548. This article completely
    misses the many beautiful things many churches are doing. The focus is entirely
    negative and accusatory. It is not helping, sir. The battles you call small may
    not be small in God’s eyes. We must fight the good fight on different fronts
    always trusting in and living out the love and kindness of God. Some battles profoundly
    impact our lives and our futures and some don’t. Let each Christian and each
    church follow God’s call and lead in showing moral courage in the world, come what may. Countless
    churches ARE fighting poverty, racism, violence, bigotry, hunger; AND the slaughter
    of inborn babies and the dehumanizing assault on marriage and family. But it is
    just too popular these days to bash and blame the church. Please stop, sir.

  549. This is a very good article that would benefit a number of pastors and church leaders if they took the time to read it. Though the discussions on this post are also a good example of why I left the church. Though you may believe God’s word is perfect, the Bible has been interpreted and rewritten a number of times by human beings. Beyond that, there are numerous interpretations that can be gleaned based on the culture and time period of people reading it. Instead of criticizing and belittling someone for their interpretation, we should all listen from a place of love and good will and recognize that though their interpretation may be slightly different than ours, they are approaching their walk with Christ with the same love and good will in their own way. Whether you believe this or not, to argue, judge and belittle one another about whether tithing must be done before expenses or after expenses (or any other interpretive argument) is pointless. I believe that a person will be judged by a higher power based on their motives and what is in their heart.

  550. Good article. I have been struggling with the church lately as I am losing patience with the obsession with right-wing political causes. America is NOT God’s chosen nation. Too many Christians in America today have this idea that the promises and warnings God gave in the Old Testament for the theocracy that was ancient Israel also apply to America, but there is absolutely no scriptural basis for that. Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus command his followers to get involved in the Roman political system nor did he say anything about Christian government period. Imagine if the church was as committed and enthusiastic about making a real positive difference in the world and helping the poor and needy as it is organizing anti-gay rallies, idealizing the 1950s, and making sure everyone follows their values voter guide. Jesus engaged the culture of his time to reach people. He made the Gospel relevant to them in their lives as they were and lives were transformed. As long as the evangelical church continues to fight the culture rather than engage it, the culture will continue to push back and the church will continue to lose members.

  551. Reason 6: Many attendees are false converts. Jesus told the parable of the four soils to illustrate their characteristics (the fourth type of soil enumerates the characteristics of a true convert). False converts are the product of the unbiblical modern message: “God has a wonderful plan for your life”. http://www.freewonderfulbook.com/

  552. Thank you sir, for putting into words exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past 10 years.

  553. It was voluntarily offered. Tithing wasn’t codified until the Law.

  554. That’s because it has everything to do with politics. The evangelical church in America has become an arm of the Republican Party. If that’s not the case, why is the “Christian” position on issues always the Republican position, even when it contradicts the teachings of Christ?

  555. Of course. And from his spoils. And one time.

  556. Hmm, I wonder how we do it. Maybe the same way the that Jesus commanded his Apostles to. They all did other jobs to support themselves and took no monetary gain from preaching the gospel, except receiving a bed for the night or food in their bellies for an evening meal. But never in recompense for the words of the Lord. Those are free. We seem to have no troubles with it in our church.

  557. OK, I can’t seem to make sense of your incoherent arguing. I’m not sure exactly what point it is you are trying to argue? And I do not disagree with your words or quotation so please tell me exactly what it is you think you are saying about mormons? Of course everyone sins. Who told you we believe otherwise? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make please be more clear about exactly what point you are saying is wrong? And don’t forget “faith without works is dead”. You need both.

  558. Christ
    and others have detailed links from heterochronic parabosis to
    regenerative medicine via the exchange of blood. See: The Pharmacology
    of Regenerative Medicine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3698935/

    See also: Vascular and Neurogenic Rejuvenation of the Aging Mouse Brain by Young Systemic Factors http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6184/630.abstract

    These
    works and many others show that some people are leaving the church
    because they have been taught to believe that mutations lead to the
    evolution of biodiversity. No big words, just two simple-minded ones: 1)
    mutation 2) evolution, (easy to teach; it’s science for dummies).

    The
    devil is in the details and the truth is that nutrient-dependent amino
    acid substitutions link cell type differentiation in all cells of all
    individuals of all species via the bio-physically constrained chemistry
    of protein folding. Intelligent serious scientists have repeatedly
    reported findings during 2014 that support that fact.

    Evolutionary
    theorists ignore physics, chemistry, and conserved molecular mechanisms
    across species and they claim things like this:

    “…genomic
    conservation and constraint-breaking mutation is the ultimate source of
    all biological innovations and the enormous amount of biodiversity in
    this world.” http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0199661731

    If
    we continue to let tax-funded schools teach students the
    pseudoscientific nonsense of evolutionary theory instead of what is
    known about nutritional epigenetics, epigenetic pharmacology, and
    regenerative medicine, we contribute our money to the efforts of those
    who want people to leave the church.

    Alternatively,
    I think it would be interesting if Christ spoke with this pastor from
    Wake Forrest, NC about linking his works to what Jesus Christ said about
    the exchange of blood and life. Since Christ is currently working in
    Winston-Salem, NC, it may be easy to arrange a meeting. See Christ’s
    webpage at http://www.wakehealth.edu/Research/WFIRM/Christ-George-J.htm

  559. Seems like a person gets their head biten off if they dare say that the church wasn’t meeting their needs, but it should go both ways, right? I feel like you do anyway. I volunteered for Sunday school but kinda felt like I was more or less a plug in or another face with a church shirt. Hadn’t been there after a while and didn’t hear from anyone as to my absence (mostly work). Just sad I guess… I thought I was somebody there.

  560. It seems to me after reading everyone’s valid and insightful comments that the entire point of the well stated and totally fair article has sadly been missed. It has been reduced to a single debate surrounding the whys and why nots of tithing. As a ordained preacher and one being led by God to start a church, my take away is we need to get listen to the exiting members, the un-churched and get back to the very basic needs that Jesus cam e to supply to all who will receive it, love, forgiveness, acceptance and expereinicing a real relationship with God that compels a person to want to learn more about Him and how they can contribute to the kingdom mission! I beleive when you really introduce a person to Christ, preach Christ and the reason for the cross, people will want to learn more about Him naturally, because His love draws you if He is presented correctly. I am encouraged by the article to focus on the basics and leave the extra stuff for another time. People are dying and going to hell, and we are doing nothing about it. Jesus said if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me”! My job, our job is to lift Jesus and let Him do the drawing. Multitudes followed him and he rarely had a roof to preach under, but they followed Him because He taught them where they were, and met their needs, and showed them a better way. That is my goal as a preacher and future pastor!

  561. I don’t understand the article’s association of these characteristics with large churches. I attend a church that was part of the start of the megachurch movement, and I have never seen any of these characteristics there. We have been one of the leading churches on the gender equality front, and our founding and senior pastor is an outspoken Democrat. Tattoos and piercings abound, including among the worship artists. When we are criticized, it is usually by small, fundamentalist churches that think we should be more conservative. The only characteristics from this article I could possibly recognize in my church are the bright lights and loud music. Are these musings just made up from what somebody *thinks* mega churches are like, or is there actually such a church that you can name that exhibits all of these characteristics?

  562. true. faith. no works no faith, as far savalation goes it in Christ Alone. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by me. If any man is in Christ he is a New creation Titus 3:5. God gives us the desire to do good works to please Him and gratitude for what he has done for us. We will want to do good works God puts His Holy Spirit into our heart to know him. I pray that He will you insight into this. a a lot of folks have it the other way around. if I do this or if I do that for God then I will I be pleasing to him and have another plus on my side. Salvation is found in no one else their is no other name by which we must be saved. This site explains it better. http://www.needgod.com

  563. 2 things: I don’t think the majority of us think people are leaving for the reasons he says we think. We know they are leaving bc of the 5 reasons he gave. Also, I think this generation wants to hear more than love and peace. They want to be challenged with the truths in the bible. They want to know what it really says. And we all know that Jesus was a radical man that challenged culture.

  564. The LDS church, in conjunction with BYU, produced a series recently for the 400th anniversary of the KJV. It is called the Fires of Faith and is freely available. It very clearly disputes your ideas that the books were handpicked and groomed to the tastes of King James. If you are LDS then you should know that your opinions on this differ from what your church officially states…

  565. The problem with this idea is that Joseph Smith himself claimed that upstate New York was the site of the climatic battle. I understand that since then, as no archaeological evidence is present, the church has revised the location to the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. The problem this presents though is that Joseph Smith made these claims based on divine revelation and was a prophet (i.e. infallible in these matters). However, the need for revision shows that he clearly was fallible, therefore his claim to be a prophet is shown to be false. The Bible is very clear on this for how we are supposed to test a prophet.

    Additionally, that is not the only instance in which Joseph Smith was wrong when claiming to speak in his role as the prophet. i.e. consider his claim to have found the altar that Adam used to sacrifice on and that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. Or any number of other issues, claims, doctrines that the church has since had to revise.

  566. The problem with the teachings of Christ from the BOM mirroring the teachings of Christ from the Bible, is that they actually mirror the wording in the KJV. Consider that the BOM was claimed to have been written many centuries prior to the KJV version, and your previous comments alluding to how little you think of the KJV version, why then is it that the BOM word for word quotes the KJV version? And no, the claim that they both draw from the same source material is not an answer. The BOM for example includes word for word italicized text from the KJV bible. This is text that was added by the KJV translators to clarify passages that did not easily translate into English. In other words, they are additions that had to be added during the act of translation, they were not present in the original text.

  567. Incorrect. Faith is all that is needed for salvation. Jesus died not just for original sin, but for ALL of our sin.

    The LDS concept that after all you can do, Jesus’ sacrifice will pay for the rest is not Biblical. There is NOTHING we as finite beings can do for an infinite God. We can only accept his offer of salvation. All of our works are but as dirty rags so that no man may boast that his salvation comes in any way from his own effort.

    Additionally, the LDS belief that Baptism is required for salvation is not Biblical. If it were, how then did the thief on the cross go to Heaven? For Jesus told him that before this day was done he would be in his father’s presence with him. Either Jesus was wrong (not possible) or the belief that baptism would be required for the thief (or anyone) to go to Heaven is wrong.

    But back to your point, Jesus said you will know a tree by the fruit it bears. A dead tree bears no fruit. A dead faith bears no fruit. But the act of bearing fruit (doing works) is not what makes the kind of tree (works is not what makes a Christian), it is how they are identified. In addition to this, many people also make the mistake of thinking that all works have to be outward. This very egregiously overlooks the most important works, those of growth and change in the believer. Many of these works will not be observable at a casual glance, but only through detailed retrospection and an examination of your past vs your present self.

  568. Do you forget the opening statement in the BOM? The part that says all of the Christian denominations / beliefs that existed prior to Joseph Smith are an abomination before the eyes of God?

    Please be very clear that when Christians defend our faith against that of the LDS church, we are not attacking you. We are DEFENDING Christianity, the Bible, and God against the aspersions that started with Joseph Smith himself. The LDS church claims that Christians do not have the full gospel and that what they do have in the Bible was corrupted as soon as it was set down in writing. The LDS church claims that Christian beliefs are wrong and that they are the result of a great apostasy.

    It is very dishonest of you to claim that you would never attack another persons religion or beliefs.

  569. Would you care to clarify how tithing in the LDS scriptures differs from tithing in the Bible (KJV)?

    For example, Alma 13:15 seems to pretty clearly indicate that tithing is from all that you posses, same as the KJV.

    I’m also still confused about why you deviate so strongly from the LDS official stance on the KJV by continuing to denounce it. It is curious that you say the concept of tithing in the KJV “isn’t clear because of the inaccurate translations done by many monks” when many of the passages regarding tithing in the BOM are word for word IDENTICAL to passages from the KJV. i.e. Nephi 24:8 (compare to Malachi 3:8). If the KJV is as wrong as you claim it to be then we are left with no option but to conclude that the BOM is equally wrong, despite Joseph Smith’s claims…

  570. Are you seriously attempting to compare the practice of paying taxes to a government with the practice of tithing?

    The Bible and the BOM (along with other LDS scriptures) very clearly state that tithes should be based on all that you posses.

    If you feel that your god is not worthy of a portion of all that you posses, that is fine. However, as a Christian I know that ALL things already belong to God and come as a gift from Him. Because of this I am not going to be the least bit stingy or resentful of cheerfully giving to His works from my entire gross income. I would also point out that arguing reasons for why you would not tithe on any portion of your income seems to indicate a bit of resentment and ownership over that portion of your income. As a Christian we know that we are to give with a cheerful heart, are there different standards for LDS giving?

    Other than the fact that tithing is mandatory in order to be an LDS member in good standing that is…

  571. Unfortunately, neither do you. I will pray earnestly that you come to see this. Remember, you should not be afraid to seek out ideas that challenge your beliefs. If your beliefs are true then they will withstand any test or lies.

    That is why so many Christians do actually investigate the claims of the LDS church and examine them against Christian beliefs and scripture. It is a shame that more LDS members do not agree with this. I would urge you, in the privacy of your own home if you like, seek out sites that claim to debunk the LDS faith. If they are wrong, as you think they are, then you should come away from them that much stronger in your own faith and with a better understanding of what misconceptions others have of your faith. You might also learn how to better defend your faith by examining how others are attempting to defeat it.

  572. Did not your founder make the claim that that supposed follower of Christ was an abomination before the eyes of God? Do you not make the claim that that supposed follower of Christ has a wrong understanding? An incomplete gospel? That his Bible is inaccurate? That the KJV specifically (based on your previous comments) is blasphemous and hogwash and cherry picked and …

    But you are the one always telling others to remove the beam from their eyes?

  573. Your tithe is what you want to give to God. Whatever you do decide to give to him should be given cheerfully and without resentment.

    And remember, it is optional, but this is the only thing that Jesus ever said to test him on. Pray about it, search scripture, and then give what you are led to give. I hope that in turn you will see those storehouses opened up and poured out upon you for faithfully rising up.

  574. Now you are actively redefining your definitions. In your example, going from 10 sheep to 5 sheep, there is an increase or an income of 5 sheep. That increase IS your entire income (from sheep anyways).

    Saying elsewhere that you only tithe on net and then claiming that to be increase shows a lack of understanding. Do you think anyone is claiming that what you already have and have already tithed on it income for a second time? If you get paid $5 this week and $5 the next week, do you count your 1st week pay again?

    Please examine the heart with which you are approaching these conversations. You appear to be very willingly seeking confrontation, but at the expense of being dishonest. Even in the LDS faith is this how you believe you should act? Does this fall under milk before meat (lying to non-believers in order to convert them)? Do you believe your spirit in these conversations is choosing the right? That you have done all that you could do?

    For if you are seeking contention, then have you not sinned? And if you have, have you done all that you could do and made all of the right choices? Per the LDS faith, your approach is very likely affecting your faiths idea of salvation.

  575. That is a very true indictment of many churches today. We are commanded to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, to look after the widows and orphans. But too often our churches fall short of that.

    However, if “they don’t even know they are battling” then there is a lack of communication on the part of the needy. Is it because of pride? Fear of resentment? Fear of rejection? Needs have to be made known and resources (food banks within the church, counseling withing the church, mentoring within the church – i.e. all examples of connecting within the church) have to be taken advantage of.

  576. All the costs in maintaining the herd and household are base costs. Sorry, no time to go into it. Have fun.

  577. The problem is that “hate the sin, love the sinner” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Plus, many people equate not supporting sin with condemning the sinner.

    We need to realize that we are all sinners, and that all sin is equally abhorrent to God. It is only man who attempts to put levels upon sin, i.e. my sin of lying is not as bad as his sin of stealing which is not as bad as her sin of ….

    ALL sin separates us from God. We are all sinners. We are all loved by God and needing a savior. We want the sinners to be in the church, those who realize they need a savior. But we need to tell them the truth (in love) about what is separating them from God and them help them.

  578. Are you claiming that no one in the organizational structure of the LDS church is paid?

  579. I’m curious how you can claim that we can see the big picture when we look at the first 4 gospels together? According to LDS beliefs, isn’t the Bible corrupt from its earliest origins? Do you not disparage it in many of your other comments elsewhere?

    Why then would the Bible allow you, as a member of the LDS faith, to see anything clearly? If it is as bad as you claim in your other comments, why would you even care?

  580. By combining them. Sorry it confuses you. We us the bible. We just understand it isn’t perfect because of the work of men.

  581. One small clarification: People are leaving the “name-over-the-door church.” Many are building communities of faith within their sphere of influence, meeting together, serving together,etc. Many have found this to be a more organic way of doing life together as a body. Many have not abandoned the bride; they are just lifting the veil and looking into her eyes without the hindrance of an organization and a paid staff.

  582. “I smile widely in disbelief also knowing that the included gospels of
    the old and new testament were hand picked and groomed to the tastes of
    King James by the autocratic servants of the monarchy.”

    The Bible as we know it was actually determined in 325 CE with Constatine and the leaders of the various factions of the Church. King James was the one who got the Bible translated into the KJV as it was before all the other various translations of the Bible came to be.

  583. Oh, man, did I need to hear someone — other than me — say this!!!

  584. “The LDS church claims that Christians do not have the full gospel and
    that what they do have in the Bible was corrupted as soon as it was set
    down in writing. The LDS church claims that Christian beliefs are wrong
    and that they are the result of a great apostasy.”

    I have long removed myself from going to church because of a couple of different reasons. I do not support the church of the LDS nor fully support the Christian church. If we look at history, Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire in 300CE under Emperor Constatine. In 325, he got the leaders of various factions of some of the branches of Christianity and together, they decided what would put into the Bible and what would be removed.

    Knowing this, the Bible isn’t complete as it doesn’t have all gospels that were written, only those books that the leaders wanted their followers to hear and learn from. Now, I do understand that the early church wanted consistency and that some of these gospels and books did not fall in line with their dogma, the whole story is not being told. Like many history books, the “victor” gets to write them while only certain information from the other side (the “losing” side) is often removed all together.

  585. Well, some points to take. But Church cannot use the worldly system keep people in it. It cannot compromise the religious details to satisfy a grown disillusioned modern audience. Your attendance to a rock concert is a service to the band. Your attendance to Church is a great service to yourself. Mistakes will be made in Churches but overall look at the bright side of your life. The Church is a place of spiritual rehabilitation and not all its medication or programmes will be will be suitable.

    Reading the Bible and conforming to the demands of the same will perhaps get one closer to understanding how to correct Church problems with Bible soultions and not some sharp critique.You can’t fix an iphone problem with Nokia repair manual.

    We are in it for a reason. Rock Band, Pop stars and all the celebrities will always bow to the demands of its fans and give the fans what they crave, but at what cost to their spiritual being?
    The glastonbury festival in UK attracts thousands of people for days in a rain socked muddy field amidst their sleeping bags and binge culturr and yet, despite the sanitation issues. Many 1000s flock there every year with passion and spend millions of pounds. The Church offers life in Christ and no one said that was easy. It is a suffer now and gain later just as a pension scheme.

    Please bear the 2hours a week of Church displeasure to save your soul. However bad it is, it is not as bad as having a bad job where, you are required everyday for 8hours and you hate you manager. If you can hold yourself for 6years or 30years in that job enduring the 8hours a day stomach churning life, 2 hours a week should be a relief; your soul’s future investment.
    Amen.

    PS: ignore errors please

  586. The church is the body of Christ… Christians make up the body. We all need to stop complaining and start focusing more on Jesus. Let’s pick up our bibles and see what God is telling us. Instead of complaining, let’s pray! We live in an imperfect world, so good luck finding a “church” with no flaws.

  587. Well Ruben, women want to be treated as equals because we are equal to you and all men. This would be a great place to start, don’t you think?

  588. God is everywhere. You truly don’t need a structured religion and church building to live in a way that shows glory and honor to Him.

  589. Your article is an eye opener but the right people probably won’t get it. I certainly don’t feel accepted in my church. Too much cronyism…Too many chiefs/dogooders. I just can’t follow the click.

  590. The “church” is taught to follow the latest fad or teaching from the heiarchy and as lay people we are to obey. Do this program, follow that program until you wear yourselves out “doing” things for God. But did HE ask you to do those activities? People should be taught to follow Jesus who is the true head of the church. “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” That’s what I want, because following Him brings life and freedom as He “reveals” (revelation) Himself to me. What I have learned from Jesus is when he reveals something to me or about me does more in a spilt second than all the church activities I’ve been involved in the last 20 years. As a Christian for over 32 years I’ve been praying and asking God, “where is your church” only to finally discover that it’s not in a building. “The Kingdom of God is within you.” That can come across as new agey, but I didn’t say that….Jesus did! And as we learn to die to self and allow Him to increase while we decrease, the Holy Spirit living within every born again believer can lead and guide and teach you all Truth. That’s what the churches should be teaching. Instead people are being taught to follow celebrity preachers instead of Jesus and The Lord will not share his glory with any man. Thus, the churches are desolate and should be declared as “Icabod”….The Glory of the Lord has Departed.

  591. Yes. Thank you, Jennifer!

  592. Geez, after reading the headline, and a little of the article, I had hoped that this might really address the problem. But it’s just another preacher trying to put a bandage on a dead-man.

    The problem is that the stuff that they are preaching IS NOT TRUE. And people are realizing it and hitting the door. Until you address THAT problem, you can continue to take exit polls and ignore the information that your own people tell you. There is NO supernatural, no souls, and no afterlife. THAT’s why people are leaving. Get it?

  593. I guess I just can’t help but cringe when The Body is accused. We’re imperfect. Not a news flash. Yet Jesus launched the whole thing, knowing that most people wouldn’t do it right. Why are we shocked? Our job is to know God and make Him known. He’s God and shall be worshiped. If the suit-wearers don’t do it, and the latte drinkers don’t do it, and the tattoo tribe doesn’t do it, the rocks will. I wanna’ be there when they do. I hope everyone will be there.

  594. Actually… the proper diagnosis is that the dead man doesn’t need a bandage because he got up from death and lived again.

    No supernatural? No souls? No Afterlife? Isn’t that what we paid for your public school education to do?

  595. Finally. Thank you for saying what we all are feeling.Bravo!

  596. John Pavlovits’ plea rings True. The answer, however, is never to be found “in the church”. The answer is within. Christ within you. The mystery hidden for ages. You know, THE Kingdom of Heaven. Everyone on the planet is looking for – wants nothing more – than happiness. The Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit – which IS the Kingdom of Heaven – does not, cannot exist inside some community, inside a fellowship, inside the walls or meeting houses of something labeled ‘Church’ – or even the Non-church. The only place one can find, and know, that which we think is lost (and humans have blindly been searching for inside some new fellowship, a body, a different church, a deeper movement, etc. ad nauseam), is WITHIN every individual. The surprise is… IT never left, was never lost, has always been and always will be… within. Quietly waiting. Unassuming. Never forcing itself, never preaching, teaching, lecturing, admonishing. Never comparing. Never correcting countless doctrines. Never dogmatic. Just waiting. Just Loving. Lifetimes are spent – time and money totally wasted – trying to find what was never lost. Hoping beyond hope that what we’ve done is ‘Right’ and that we’ll be rewarded in the end. That’s the diversion known as church. It bound me for nearly 60 years.
    Give up searching outwardly. Pay attention to the still, small voice you knew as a little child. And learn to pay ZERO attention to the dogma tapes running in endless-loop mode inside your mind. Seek inwardly and know Truth as it has always been. It’s there. Take a few quiet minutes to hear it and see it. Then rest in complete Peace. You will NOT be disappointed. And don’t be surprised when you realize that you’ve always known it.

  597. Tithing has nothing to do with money.

  598. I experienced more loveless people and judgement from people in the church that’s why I am leaving and why others are leaving

  599. What they preach is not true. Agreed. But science and physics point to realities beyond our five senses that we’re just beginning to understand. Everything is energy, regardless of its state… and regardless of the label we give it.

  600. It’s sounds like Cynicism to me. I’m part of a church that is nothing like what you described, and I know countless church’s who break the mold you write about. This blog would have been better suited 10-15 years ago. Not to mention your article is more devisive than unifying. I know there are many ineffective churches out there but let’s not lump “The Church” into that category. If your desire is to help, then earn the right to speak into people’s lives rather then Writing about it with the hope that those who need it will read it. I feel this blog merely contributes to a growing group of Christ Followers more interested in the idea of changing the world rather then actually doing it!

  601. As much fun as it would be to twist this into a “try to reach the LDS member with mere facts”, can we keep this thread to the point of the post?

  602. I am sorry for the church and how they have made you feel Virginia. As I see the discussion turn to the rules of tithing and the rest of it, it is just sad. The discussion started because of your hurt. Again, I apologize. I would like to know what needs you are referring to so I can learn how to meet those needs in my church. I am a married man and at times I get stuck in that mindset and don’t understand things from another perspective of life.

  603. I could not agree less with this post. Precisely how many churches have you visited to paint with this broom? How many sincere struggling church planters have you interviewed who put their lives on the line for the sake of the gospel? I sense a certain smarmy, sarcastic satisfaction in this post, and it is revolting. I’d like to know all the keys to victory you have discovered at your church. I wish I had your wisdom.
    BTW: the church of Jesus Christ is not in panic. It is moving forward as never before.

  604. Our own Pastors’ wives are employed outside the home! We get it. Women need to work, to help support the family – in this day and age it is nigh unto impossible for them NOT to be employed in some capacity whether it is outside the home or whether they work from home. They should not be judged for that – they should be supported and encouraged and have someone alongside them to help them deal with the pressures of job and family – that is another function of the church. The church needs to take a serious look at itself and remember that for which it was begun – are we at all like the Acts church? We must remember we are to be salt and light – our salt has lost its savor, and our lamps have grown dim, and are hidden behind the glitter and the glitz.

  605. Great and much needed article. We [Church] can no longer naively rely on diametrically opposed religiosity to justify abandoning the very people we were called to.

  606. Tithing was actually a religous tax paid for the nation of Israel to function as a theocracy. Today beleivers do not live under such a government and are already burdened in ‘rendering unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s’. The fact is many churches claim we live under the ‘new covenant’ of grace by faith yet conveniently dive into the old covenant to guilt their congregants (sheep) into giving to support buldings, programs and what ever bright new shiny thing that is in vogue by the church at large.

    Rather than tithing believers are under only told to give as they believe (the Apostle Paul). So-called ‘tithing’ is only one reason why I and many others have left the church. They cannot have it both ways: either we are saved by grace through faith alone or we must keep every law perfectly. Unfortunately the church cannot make up their collective mind on that matter.

  607. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it til I die. It’s inconceivable to me that the so-called bible belt overwhelmingly approves of George Bush’s brand of Christianity over Jimmy Carter’s.

  608. So…the imperfect application of God’s Perfect Love is gonna make you leave? Where is your love to help the people you are criticizing? Are you not responsible as much as anybody? Do you have any idea just how hypocritical this article is? Don’t we all live in this world that belongs to the enemy? Aren’t we all subject to the worldly distortion of the message we get? When The Apostle Paul wrote letters to churches that were lost or confused, He didn’t advocate leaving them. He advocated fixing them, and usually starting with ourselves. When you point out the shortcomings of the people who tell you what you are doing wrong, YOU BECOME THE PEOPLE YOU ARE ACCUSING!!!!!

  609. Actually these aren’t the reasons either.

  610. Yes, everything is energy,and matter cannot be destroyed, etc. But there is no Dogma attached to physics. There is no “should” attached to the wonders and laws of Nature. And even if it turns out that their was a mind behind the creation of the Universe, how could you possibly draw a line of evidence from “a mind”, to the god of the Bible and His laws. and not some other of the 10,000 gods that men have come up with since the dawn of civilization?

  611. “No supernatural? No souls? No Afterlife? Isn’t that what we paid for your public school education to do?”
    — Sorry, don’t follow your inference..

    “the proper diagnosis is that the dead man doesn’t need a bandage because he got up from death and lived again.”
    — I don’t believe that men, 3-days dead, DO get up and live again. Not convinced that it ever happened. Where is your evidence? (Note: The Bible is not evidence, IT’s the claim” You’re just restating it.)

  612. this incorporates everything I’ve been saying all year and then some and it’s a message that needs to beat in the ear and heart of every professing Christian out there, I’m sharing, it’s that important!!!

  613. Christianity is a Revolutionary Religion

    Christianity’s essence can be summarized as The Holy
    Trinity of love, as taught by Jesus at Matthew chapters 5, and 22:
    First; love Jehovah God with your whole heart, mind and soul, second;
    love your neighbor as yourself, and third; Love your enemy, even
    praying for and feeding those who persecute you. This makes
    Christianity revolutionary among the religions of the world which
    practice the love of their gods, sometimes the love of their
    neighbors, but never the love of their enemies.

    Another aspect of this religion
    which makes it revolutionary is its requirement for humility, not
    only toward God, but also toward their fellow man. (Philippians 2:3)
    Again; many religions practice the first aspect of humility, but not
    the second.

    Christianity teaches that happiness
    comes from giving, not from getting, and by giving freely to others
    YOU will prosper, and find happiness.(Acts 20:35 and Luke 6:38) And
    that the principle way the Christian gives to others is through his
    Christian ministry.(Matthew 28:19,20) The main religion opposing
    Christianity today is the religion of getting, or materialism; –
    Marxist, Secular Humanism.(Romans 1:25,30 and 1 John 2: 22,23) This
    religion teaches that the only universe is the material universe and
    the only prosperity, material prosperity. And that the world of
    mankind will only be happy after spiritual religion is destroyed, and
    the world’s material wealth is shared equally among the people of
    the world. (Karl Marx)

    Christians are commanded to make
    their ministry the number one concern in their lives, even to the
    extent of dying for it, – but NEVER to hurt others or kill for
    it.(Romans 12:9-21) This is why Christians can have nothing to do
    with politics, which is divisive and the cause of the most
    devastating wars in history. The other religions of the
    world, especially Islam, and Marxist, Secular Humanism believe in
    spreading their religion through violent revolution and the
    sword.

    Christians are ordered, as part of
    their faith, to hate as well as love; Hate the bad, and love the
    good; Hate the sin, but love the sinner.(Matthew 9:13), which
    includes giving everybody the benefit of the doubt when it comes to
    sharing their faith with them. Christian humility prevents them from
    prejudging the hearts of others as they acknowledge that only God can
    see the heart, and this goes back to the principle of “Love your
    Enemy”. Most religions of the world, even many claiming to be
    Christian, do not live up to this lofty, noble description of Bible,
    Christianity.

    Don’t be fooled by the phonies, as Matthew
    7:16 says; by their fruitage you will recognize them. The fruitage of
    Christianity is LOVE – not hate, HUMILITY- not pride,
    ALTRUISM – not materialism, SELF SACRIFICE and PEACE –
    not violence and war, DISCIPLINE and VIRTUE – not
    licentiousness and immorality. And in this world, that is
    revolutionary.

  614. Great article which is good for thinking food. But I have to ask…where is the letter addressing the need of people to repent and turn from their sin? Like Jesus expected from the woman caught in adultery, or like the prodigal son did when he came home to dad? Where is the letter addressing the responsibility all of us have to repent, to turn 180 degrees and to leave the things of the world behind? Sure love and compassion are needed, but the need for repentance is also needed. How many people even know what to repent from if they are not told? Love is great and having the ability to love the adulteress with compassion and no condemnation while simultaneously telling her to “Go and sin NO MORE” is a balancing act that I dare say no one is mastering at the moment. Jesus Christ’s words to the adulteress which were “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” are also words for each and every one of us to think long and hard on.

  615. I have made up my mind.

    I will stay at home and fellowship with like-minded Believer’s online as much as posible.

    Why have I made up my mind? Because there is no Church in my neighborhood to go to that will not ultimately accuse me of being a “God-robber” because of my unwavering stance against tithing being as it is being taught in our Churches today.

    In May of 2012, I began posting the truth about what God’s Word says concerning His holy tithes on my Facebook page and elsewhere on the world wide web. God had given me the green light to begin telling people that in the Bible, His holy tithes were never commanded for the New Testament Church, never carried to the New Testament Church, never collected in the New Testament Church, and never controlled by the New Testament Church.

    Yet pastors of every Church I ever was a member of from my youth always used Malachi 3:8-10 to prove that God demands tithes of the Church Body. They also used that passage as a platform to berate and accuse those who were not tithing their money to that local fellowship. They also would use that pasage to instill fear of a curse on anyone who was not obeying the command to tithe found in Malachi 3:8-10.

    They were handling the Word of God deceitfully. Either out of ignorance, or out of greed, or a combination of both. But they were preaching a false doctrine.

    And in September of 2012, the Church I was a member of voted me out of their congregation because, and I quote, “of your consistent teaching of the Scriptural tithe”. (At this point in my article, I must let the reader know that I never taught a single tithe sermon within the walls of that Church, nor on that Church’s property) Funny thing is, I was teaching the “Scriptural tithe”. It was the leadership of that congregation who were not teaching the “Scriptural tithe”. Thy were teaching a doctrine that had been invented by man, totally foreign to the Word of God.

    My journey down the path of truth did not begin in 2012. No, it began many years before that. It began in 1988, in the Church where I was ordained to preach the Gospel.

    I had been saved for nine years, and had been a member of the pastor’s household, living in the den on the bottom floor. I was faithful in my studies, and faithful in Church attendance. And yes, I was even faithful in obeying the tithe doctrine that the pastor (and previous pastors of my youth before I was saved ) had taught me

    The year I was ordained, I began a home Bible study, just a few Believers and myself. But within a short period of time, the group grew and I could see God was taking it somewhere. I was encouraged to branch off of the fellowship I was ordained at and begin a new Church. (my group by this time had grown to the point that even if I wanted to take them to the Church I was a member of, there would have been no room for them at that small country Church. Thus, the need to begin a Church where these members could be nourished with the Word of God, equipping them with the Word to minister to others in their everyday life.

    And so, MorningStar Fellowship was started.

    In the first few weeks of our Church’s existence, I was impresed by the Holy Spirit to do a series of lessons on “Stewardship and the Christian”, teaching proper responsibility in the handling of finances through wise spending and charity. I believed that one of the areas that was important was obedience to God in tithing our money as I was taught from my youth in the Assemblies of God denomination I grew up in.

    Proper teaching on any subject requires proper study. And so, I spent many hours pouring over the Word of God, searching the Scriptures for every mention of money in the pages of that precious Book of Truth. I researched tithes in the Bible as well, as that would be a lesson of the utmost importance for our new Body.

    Little did I know at that time that the teaching of tithes was of more importance that what I had imagined. I entered the research with the mindset that God required tithes of the New Testament Church, and with the intentions of preaching that same thought.

    But the more I researched, the more I studied, the more I realized that I could not preach to the congregation that I had under my supervision, the command to tithe their hard-earned money.

    I saw in the Bible that God gave the command to tithe to the children of Israel. (Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 12:1-11; Deuteronomy 14:22-29) But for the life of me, I could not find one single verse in the New Testament that was a command for the New Testament Church to tithe. Further, the verses that commanded tithing in the Bible all pointed to an agricultural tithe, not a monetary one. I came to the realization that God never commanded those who live on Gentile soil to tithe our money to the New Testament Church.

    And so, that is what I taught the congregation that was entrusted to my care. Instead of teaching a mandatory tithe, I taught the congregation to give because they saw a need and because they loved the Lord and wanted to see His work done in the Earth. These principles can clearly be seen in Acts 2:42ff & Acts 4:32ff. The New Testament Believer is encouraged by the Apostle Paul to give, not under compulsion, but rather as he chooses in his own heart to give. Paul tells the reader that their attitude in giving will affect the blessing they receive as a result of that giving. (2 Corinthians 9:7) He also tells us that our giving should not be such that we cause others to be eased while we leave ourselves in want. (2 Corinthians 8:12-13)

    Down through the years, God has given me more insight into the truth concerning His holy tithes, and I share those truths with all, hoping to free them from the chains of financial bondage that many pastors keep them under.

    As I stated previously, the Church that voted me out was teaching a doctrine totally fabricated by man, never found in the pages of God’s Holy Word… and telling their flock that “God requires it, or you are robbing Him!”

    In Matthew 15:9, Jesus said that the Pharisees were worshiping in vain because they were teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. I fear today, many pastors are guilty of the same thing… teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.

  616. I have only read about 10 – 15 of the latest comments and in “part” see a reflection of why so many are turned off from Church today. One person comments about “tithing” and the next thing that happens is you have several different personal OPINIONS on the subject. Most of the “opinions” are derived from the same people reading the same BOOK. Most read with their eye’s of flesh and reason with their heads rather than their Heart.

    In other words being lead by a BOOK that YOU paid for rather than a Spirit that was paid for you. MANY ill waiting for the promise to come thinking it was to wait until the BOOK came from heaven rather than the promise of the SPIRIT to come. Some grabbed the Koran, while others when forth with the Bible and yet another the Book of Joseph Smith to only name a few. Even those with the SAME book are divided within their own households. So those with book in hand are Lead by a man dressed in fine cloths with seminary certificates provided by man made schools having been given the stamp & approval of man to go forth and make disciples under the same system that man has created.
    The world… the people….. created in the image of the creator are indeed hungry and thirsty for what is called “REAL”. In the hearts of all is known that their is much more…much more than can be imagined or contrived with the mind of man. Yet in all man has created is only found an empty vase and all that is seen is less. Sure, there is more organized structure that has the appearance of good intensions.

    I once witnessed a man stand during the service proclaiming “For these are the words of God and not of man. The words of question asking who has brought these people out to this wilderness land? A land wherein there is NO food to eat nor water to drink. Who is the MAN who has done such a thing for it is GOD asking in this hour. Who is it that feeds only themselves and not the children of the most high? Show your face for even the angels standing in the corridors of Heaven ask in dismay who has done such a thing. ”

    At the end of this word (in the 90’s) there was only a fierce rebuke by of course the proclaimed Elders , Pastor , Teacher of the “CHURCH”. Those that rule within the man made structure are the same whom sit at the head of the table in these same houses. They are those who in that house sit in the most choice seat. They don’t call themselves brother, mother , son or daughter but TEACHER or FATHER. These individuals require the respect of all that enter the threshold of their doors as if it is “them” whom will safeguard all those whom the Father has given unto them and see…..they have lost none that have been given unto them.

    They have no shame of their houses they have built on every street corner enticing each one that passes by to enter in. When the children leave that are hungry and thirsty they quickly run to their BOOK once again to gain their answer saying “Yes, God showed me….right here ……wherein the BOOK SAYS that in the last days their will be a great departure of the faith and therefor is the reason why they are leaving the MAN MADE system of the church.”

  617. I agree with several of the points made, however, your shot at picking lousy battles needs a response. So, are you saying that we as a church should just stand by and allow every attack on our fundamental bible based beliefs? It just seems so easy for the more liberal accept everything as ok group to say “pick larger battles” If we let every attack go by, there willl be no church or belief system left. Is there no line iin the sannd that we must defend or is everything ok based on each persons personal beliefs?

  618. Wow John, I think you have forgotten who the enemy truly is. The Church will not be perfect, but it’s the best thing going. As a 35-year veteran of local church ministry, please don’t shoot the wounded, especially publically.

  619. Go live with the heroin addicts, crack addicts, prostitutes, etc. The homeless on the streets. Go to them and don’t expect them to come to you. Trust me, it is spiritually rewarding. You begin to see similarities living on the streets. Example, Christians judge heroin addicts when some are addicted to pain pills which are a mock of heroin. Oh, my fave is a Christian who drinks many cups of coffee or sodas a day (caffeine is a drug), but they don’t see that a drug is a drug. They tend to justify and not truly look into themselves. Many of you are too worried with theology and what scholars say and do and completely are blinded. Many of you in the church don’t know what love really is. The modern day church is a joke. Nothing like the 11 apostles taught or did. My Father will take your buildings away and will rise up an apostolic generation. Many in the church are quick to kick the homosexual out, but not a back-stabbing, drama causing, churchgoer. Do what Jesus did Bible scholars and quit messing around with assignments in a Bible college!!! Your work is being done in vain. Why worry about crap like that when there is a person shooting up heroin with no one to love or have patience with that person 🙂

  620. justify themselves* Blind guides.

  621. Wow! Reading the comments confirmed to me the problem with the Church. People want to meet a little of Christ when they go to a Christian church. Unfortunately, church people are no different than others, they want to make sure you belong in their “group”, which has become very important to them. Christ was not like that, speaking to any without regard to monetary or political status, and teaching the most effective and fulfilling ways of living (and dying) to all who would hear. Christ taught the disciples the same lessons, over and over, being patient each time. Church should do that – teach people, at whatever level they start, to be the hands and feet of Christ to this Earth, and let them learn and re-learn these lessons, without judging them as they grow. The best of Emmaus, the best of AA/NA does this, because they can build a community out of the ashes of broken people. Christ taught us many ways to serve the world; the operative word is “serve”.

  622. I left church after 40 some odd years because all I ever heard was what God had done and what God is gonna do, but wasn’t seeing God do anything. In my opinion, people will be drawn to where the Spirit of the Lord is and to where our Almighty, All powerful God is manifesting. As of now, I don’t see a manifestation anywhere. God help me!

  623. “Church” is in the heart of people and it takes people to make an organized church. Church is no more than a group of people (2 or more) gathering to worship God. Whatever the “church” does or doesn’t do is up to the individuals that are involved. So if the “church” is not meeting your expectations of what you think Jesus would want, then get involved and try to change it or just make your own church and reach out as Jesus would. My point is, church is in your own heart whether we are in an organized church or we reach out as individuals to make change and/or reach out with the love of Jesus. People tend to blame “church” for their lack of intimacy with God but, in reality, each individual is responsible for their own relationship with God and obedience to Him. Going to church does not make that happen but it is a place you can share your love of God with others and be involved to help make changes if you have ideas of how to reach out to all people.

  624. thanks, Sean. I shared this on FB

  625. There are other problems also, Deacons who do not meet the standards of the Bible, people living together who are not married and the church not addressing the problem, and on and on. Church hoppers however are another problem, it is not the church but the person who has reaced a level of learning and blames the church.

  626. Here’s an example: my husband had many affairs and when I went to the pastor, all he said was that God had forgiven him. Those affairs destroyed my marriage and broke my heart and that’s what I got. I needed acknowledgement of my pain. That flippant 20 second answer didn’t do a thing for me.

  627. It absolutely sucks that the church that those moms attended to never helped them to focus on their themselves first before even thinking of getting remarried. However, I am proud to say that the church that I attend to does not only help them emotionally, spiritually, but also economically to all of those single mothers that need it. Plus, giving a tithe is not for anyone else, but to honor God of what it belongs to Him. And that is between the man or woman and God. I encourage that we all pray for the churches because as far as I am concern, the church is the people. If people only knows how to complain, then there won’t be no growth and there will be more churches like this good article just described. God bless you and trust in God because people will always failed, but God never fails!

  628. Laura I find it so funny that folks who obviously haven’t read their Bible like to quote it in ignorance. Grim engineer and Dot, are probably quoting what they’ve heard from other people. I’m a tither, and so many women make up the Church. Men need to step up in it more.

  629. Biblical brother, it there !!!

  630. Oh my gosh! I wish I could erase the words. So sorry Virginia. As a pastor I can tell you that I have said many things I have regretted. Maybe he regrets his words. All I can say is that not all churches or pastors believe like that. I would tell you (I will take flack for this) to kick his butt out (your husband). If you could get past all the emotional wreckage and find forgiveness for him enough to reconcile, great, if not, I totally understand. For my critics I would ask if we should trust our children to a apologetic pedophile? I don’t think so. Things like this need to be handled with extreme empathy and understanding for the person who has been devastated by the actions of another. Hang in there Virginia.

  631. Actually Brother, it is not there. Notice the following two verses…

    Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
    Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

    Notice the firstfruites were taken by the children of Israel to the House of God and into the chambers of the storehouse. But the tithes, they took to the Levites. The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God into the chambers of the storehouse.

    Tithes and firstfruits were not the same… they were taken to two different places. Also, the Old Testament says tithes were given at the end of the harvest, while the firstfruits were from the beginning of the harvest.

    Please study this out.

  632. Sorry Albert, but it is not Biblical at all.

    Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
    Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

    The children of Israel took the firstfruits to the House of God, into the chambers. But the tithes, they took to the Levites. The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God, into the chambers.

    It is quite clear that the two, firstfruits and tithes could not have been the same thing. One went one place, the other went to another place.

    Also, firstfruits were nothing more than a basket or handful of fruit from the beginning of the harvest. Tithes were always paid at the end of the harvest.

  633. Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
    Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

    These two verses alone prove that tithes and firstfruits were not the same. They reveal that the children of Israel took firstfruits to the House of God, while the tithes they took elsewhere.

    One might feebly attempt to say that the Levites were at the Hosue of God to receive the tithes from the children of Israel, but the text proves they could not have been. How could they “bring the tithe of the tithe to the House of God” if they were already at the House of God? LoL The argument fails in light of the clear text of the Bible.

  634. WOW! The author was right on the money, wasn’t he? This entire string of replies and arguments about first fruits, increases, and harvest tithes are EXACTLY the point Pavlovitz was making. You’re arguing the minutia! Do you honestly think that god gives a running rabbit’s rear axle when or what you give as long as you’re doing your best? If you are supporting your family and living a good and honest life, and giving what you can to support the church, then I doubt it matters. Perhaps you all are the problem… ya think?

  635. Hi alethea, I know God doesn’t care what amount we give. He is a God of multiplication. He took a lunch for one small lad and fed 5,000 with it.

    The fact is, if people would just read their Bibles, they might discover that God’s commanded tithes were never of one’s money. And they were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the New Testament Church. The commanded tithes were for the children of Israel only, and then only once they crossed the Jordan and entered into the promised land. Leviticus 27:30133; Deuteronomy 12:1-11; Hebrews 7:5-8

  636. Who cares? It was stated that a woman’s perspective was different and that her needs weren’t being met. That the church expects so much more from a woman (I have my own story to tell about that). This is the BIG stuff that others are ignoring and so are losing many in their congregations. Pavlovitz’s point was proven by those who posted here.

  637. With me, it is not that I do not like to give. It is that I will not financially support any pastor who tells straight-out lies from the pulpit. Many pastors are guilty of lying to the congregation, telling them God requires them to tithe their money, when there is no such command in God’s Holy Word.

    Pastors that teach for doctrine the commands of men do not need financial support… they need to repent of their false doctrine or step down from the pastoral position. Their lying against God and His Word disqualifies them from the sacred office.

  638. If they are not qualified for the office and should it ever come about that they are required to step down, there would be at least 50% fewer ‘reverends’ than there are currently.

  639. Oh, I agree. The Church is not listening. Many are leaving for the very reasons Pastor Pavlovitz has written. Sometimes, it is because of a spirit of rebellion, hating all that has to do with God. Other times, it is because the leadership, those who should have a heart of compassion, do not show the heart of compassion to those who need it.

    And so, those who need to feel loved and cared for, often return to the world where they at least had seeming friends.

  640. I was the organist, pianist and soloist at my church by the age of 12. I taught Sunday School when I was 15 and was VERY active in church activities, etc. I expressed to our pastor that I wanted to go to seminary after high school and was promptly told that god didn’t want women to spread the word – that’s was the man’s job. I was told that god had a special place for women in this world and I was doing a great job of it and to stay where I belonged. Within 2 years, I left the church and never went back to it or any other ‘house of worship’. Ain’t agonna happen now, either.

  641. While I am not much on seminaries these days (for either man or woman) because the majority that I’ve researched have became very liberal in their doctrines, that pastor was wrong. There is nothing wrong with a woman getting a religious education.

  642. Well this was WAY back. Here are the passages to which I was referred.
    I Corinthians 14:34
    I Timothy 2:9
    I Timothy 2:11
    I had already read those verses many times, and I saw no connection to the church until the pastor brought it up. After studying it more, I asked him, “If god, who could have chosen to give his son to the world by ANY means, chose to have a woman carry Jesus in her womb for 9 months and raise him with her instruction and guidance, why would god think a woman was unworthy to spread the word from the pulpit?” He had no answer. I saw it for what is was… and still is. As the sharks say… “I’m out.”

  643. Yeah, i know the passages well.

    Pastors take them out of context to teach wrong doctrine.

    Ome only need flip to the 1 Corinthians 11 to prove the pastors wrong. Says a woman can prophesy if her head is covered. To prophecy means to bring forth the Word. A woman can indeed bring the Word. I have heard many a woman butcher the Word, but I have also heard many shuck out the corn when preaching as well.

    And, in the book of Acts, we have the four virgin daughters of Phillip prophesying.

    Women who are educated in the proper way to minister can be just as effective at preaching the Word as any man… if they are Spirit led.

  644. At the beginning of this mess, someone suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities. And it did. This is why, since I began to think for myself, I have never felt closer to my Creator than when I was in the midst of a forest or a vast desert, deep in meditation, and usually alone.

  645. Someone earlier in this thread suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities, and it did!
    I have never felt so close to my creator as when I was in the midst of a desert or forest, deep in meditation, and usually alone. That’s why I am not an attendee at formal services, too many hypocrites.

  646. I belong to a church that does not judge others, use church speak, does not have a fancy praise band. It is welcoming and loving. Women are equal to men as we have a lady pastor whose husband recently asked for a divorce…they have 5 kids. We were very supportive and loving. Of our 5 Elders 3 are women. If a gay person comes through our doors they are welcomed as Jesus would welcome them. It is a church that stands by you when you are sick or in need. We are like a family who includes everyone.

    We are small which is a concern. I think the reason people don’t come to church these days is they have too many other things they would rather do than give up their free time from work, school, electronic gadgets, sports, etc Our culture is flooded with toys that give pleasure and take our free time. Church is a commitment. Few people have time they want to giveup. I even see people during worship checking their IPhones.

    I don’t know what would be the answer to draw young people back to church. Maybe a disaster would jar them out of their own world back to God. Sometimes I will be asked to pray for someone who has a loved one who is sick because this person has no church home. People know the faithful among them and draw from them in a crisis. That is all I know…be the reflection of God outside the church walls ready to minister to those who need God but don’t know it. Organized religion seems to turn a lot of people off. It has a lot of bad press and has deserved much of it. People will recognize a believer…be that wherever you go. You are a church without walls or words ready to serve and love when the time comes. You may not even know you touched someone in this way, but God will use you if you let Him.

  647. Maybe the premise on which the church rests is what is flawed, as in “not true” in the first place and it’s just taken two thousand years to play out in the field of reality.

  648. I understand your point, but nevertheless, four corroborated stories are incredibly easy to mistranslate *on purpose*. The council of Nicea, for instance, changed a vast amount of scripture along with introducing an insane amount of dogma all for the purpose of making christians and pagans coexist in some sort of peace. Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice, Easter, etc… The vast differences between the Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic versions of the bible – not to mention the many, many other less-known versions of Christianity – all have a core set of stories intermingled with many additional ones that are/are not canon according to any of the others. To then toss in the Book of Mormon simply contradicts the whole thing even more as it was written long after the rest of the situation was capped off with, “This story is complete and if you add or remove anything to/from it you’re going to hell.”

    I appreciate “peer review” in this case but calling any part of it “mistranslation” and then demanding that not all of it is/could be mistranslated is disingenuous. Either it is perfectly the word of a god, or it is a text that has been susceptible to manipulation by the hand of man since its authoring. There can be no in-between in this and since not a single piece of the original work is still in existence that can be translated without busting out a Dead Language dictionary, there will never be even a piece of the original text to reference for the purposes of translation verification.

  649. Tithe is not a tax! It is a free will offering. Those who over the years have learnt to give joyfully don’t see tithe as a burden but account of stewardship. They also know that no one can out give God. If I cannot try God with a tenth of my income I will be deceiving myself to say I can give God 100%.

  650. Alethea I’m sorry that happened to you. Pastors do have a lot of influence for good and sadly some times not so good. Please you may wish to reconsider your stand now that you understand that the reason you went to the Church was not because of the pastor but for God and because you were willing to obey God’s instructions that you should be in fellowship with other believers. It’s possible that the pastor you have in mind has changed his position from what it was and it’s possible that he may not even remember your case. Endurance is a test of our allegiance and commitment to God not to men

  651. All pretty good/true until the end, when this Christian blogger, taking the voice of the non-Christian hits multiple judgmental and “churchy” phrases without seemingly realizing it. The reason people like me are leaving your churches is because even when they’re close to getting it correct, people like this author/pastor still miss the point:

    “In the face of every complaint and every grievance, you’ve made it clear that the real issue is that I’m either sinful, heretical, immoral, foolish, unenlightened, selfish, consumerist or ignorant.

    Heck, many days I’m not even sure I disagree with you.

    Maybe you’re right, Church.

    Maybe I am the problem. …

    We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us …
    … even if we are the problem. …

    So yes, Church, even if you’re right, even if we’re totally wrong—even if we’re all petty, and self-centered, and hypocritical, and critical, and (I’ll say it), “sinful”—we’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong; a place where it feels like God lives, and you’re the ones who can show it to us.

    Even if the problem is me, it’s me who you’re supposed to be reaching, Church.”

    How arrogant.

    Even while stating throughout that the church has the issue, the final word, the conclusion is that (really) (ultimately) the church just needs to reach out to those of us who are “petty” or “the [real] problem”?

    I have a genuine faith issue with regards to the divine. I also have a HUUUUUUGE problem with the culture of Christianity. This author/pastor thinks he’s reaching out to someone like me, but he is as much the problem as the churches he describes in numbers one through five. He is the problem. And the fact that he wrote this without realizing it is the ultimate irony.

    My search and journey won’t include going to any church because of this. In describing the problem, he, unfortunately highlighted and becomes the problem. The detachment is the issue. It is unfortunate that he didn’t include himself as a number six.

  652. Ronald, you are absolutely correct!

  653. “To the angel of the Messianic Community in Ephesus, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorahs: 2 “I know what you have been doing, how hard you have worked, how you have persevered, and how you can’t stand wicked people; so you tested those who call themselves emissaries but aren’t — and you found them to be liars. 3 You are persevering, and you have suffered for my sake without growing weary. 4 But I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. REV 2:1-4

    Now consider that the love at first, or first love, is the love of GOD. Much, if not all, of what you describe lacking in churches today might be rooted in focusing on the second greatest commandment first instead of the first greatest commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. If the church reached first in loving God, then we would love our neighbors well. Seems paradoxical, but 2 Peter chapter 1 promises that knowing God first will lead to a genuine love for all.

    So indeed church, for the love of GOD, love GOD first!

  654. Sorry about that Art Dickinson. You see, those ‘irrelevant technicalities’ are the main issues for some people who left the church. It is sad that the church may not be what we hope it should be but with its many problems there are no alternatives to the Church. We should stay back to put the wrong right. Staying in the desert occasionally to enjoy a deep meditation is perfectly okay because Jesus did the same thing but He went back to the temple to challenge orthodoxy. The leaders engineered His death for his effort. We should stay put to right wrong. It could take time. With genuine interest, intention, love, understanding and patient we can get there

  655. o, that is an example of new age churchianity. This man advocates for the church changing for the community instead of the the other way around. We are not hear to cater to every whim. Always be wary when someone writes an article, claims it’s biblical, and then fails to cite the Bible. “Pastors” like this are why this nation and our church body are in trouble. Trying to be popular speaks to the wicked heart of man. This man is advocating for compromise with the world, something that Jesus Christ NEVER did. Jesus said ” I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5) …. I could go on and on, even though he does legitimately criticize some of the flashy trappings, he is wrong on so many levels it’s absurd.

  656. Wow, really? cause you know the church is there to cater to your every feeling huh? Try reading your bible. If you have “guilt and shame” then the reason is your sin so you can stop trying to blame any one else. You must repent and be born again (John 3) a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  657. Take it from somebody in “the world,” we don’t want anything to do with this mess of a response either (or you, based on your tone, just to be fair). Cheers.

  658. You’re a terrible person, and an even worse advocate of Christ. She said nothing about “guilt and shame.”

  659. John,

    What a powerful and beautiful essay. I’m not a Christian but I’ll be sharing this with my sister and brother-in-law who are active members of small church. Again, well said!

    Michael

  660. I’m torn on this. How can the church accept people as they are AND teach them how to live a Godly life? How do we reconcile these two goals when they appear to be in opposition to one another? How we can we tell the adulterer, “We accept you as you are,” when he is living in opposition to God’s commands? Are we not to tell him to change his ways? Wouldn’t that be hypocrisy? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be about serving God rather than making us all feel god about ourselves?

    But then I know what the author means. I grew up in a very evangelical church and I was very involved in it. We did community outreaches. I walked with my brothers and sisters in Christ, handing out food to the poor door to door. Every time those doors were open at the church, I was there, and I was cleaning and selling snacks and holding cameras. I did everything I was asked to do, and none of the things I was asked not to do. And somehow I still wasn’t good enough. I don’t know why. I went to that church for years, from the time I was twelve until I was in my early twenties, and I lived according to the gospel as they taught it and served diligently, yet for some reason I was always treated like another lost soul, still an infant in the ways of the LORD. People my own age who hadn’t been in the church half as long as I had would talk down to me from their positions of “leadership” that they’d been placed in and for which I’d been passed over time and again. Most people only spoke to me to “correct” me in something trivial, and everyone else who tried to actually form a friendship with me did so only out of a some religious obligation to “influence” me. I felt like a project, like I needed to be fixed.

    My older sister was another story. She rose to prominence in the youth ministry rather quickly. I felt very left out. Then she started a relationship with a boy in the church and everything changed. At the time she was 17 and he was 15. His mother was very paranoid and overprotective. They were never allowed to be alone, and when they were together at our parents house, his mother would arrive suddenly to pick him up, much earlier than she was supposed to. My sister was understandably frustrated. She was a good girl and she didn’t understand why she wasn’t trusted. She vented about it on livejournal (a very early form of social media that predated facebook and even myspace). She said that she just wanted to be alone with her boyfriend but she couldn’t because his parents were “evil.” She meant it tongue in cheek and not literally. That was her sense of humor. It was supposed to be a relatively private post, only viewable by a few people, but somehow his mother saw it. She had apparently been looking over her son’s shoulder while he was on the computer. It was a foolish thing for my sister to do, yes, but she was only 17 and social media was very new and etiquette hadn’t been established yet. The incident was blown way out of proportion. Rather than being gently chided, made to apologize, and advised on appropriate behavior in private, as she should have been, she was severely and very publicly reprimanded. She was suspended from the worship team (band) and all of her leadership roles in the youth ministry indefinitely. Rumors flew. Her boyfriend dumped her, claiming she wasn’t “going for God enough.” My sister was devastated. I stood up for her. I wrote him a nasty letter, basically saying he had no business making judgments on my sister’s relationship with God. I was right about that, but I regret writing the letter all the same, because I realize now that he was as much a victim in all of it she was, and that he was very young and impressionable and was being influenced by very corrupt and persuasive people.

    You see, years later, we learned what was going on behind the scenes. My sister’s boyfriend’s mother was a close friend to the pastor’s wife. What no one knew, though, was that the pastor’s wife was having an affair with the mother’s brother. She filled the woman’s head with paranoia and lies about my sister, in order to distract her from what she was doing with her brother. Then when the livejournal incident happened, she influenced other leaders in the church to make an example of my sister, distracting not only her “friends” but the entire congregation from her sinful behavior. We also learned that the pastor had been embezzling money from the church for years.

    So now I’m a young woman of 26. I’ve been married and divorced. I cohabit with my fiancé, and for two years before while he was just my boyfriend. I haven’t been to church regularly in years. I’ll make an appearance now and then at the church down the road from the apartment that my fiancé and I share, but no more than maybe once a month. I’ve put in applications to serve and signed up for bible studies, but I’ve never followed through. I miss feeling close to God. I miss being a part of a community and something greater than myself, but then again I never really was a part of my old church community, was I? Even when I was right smack dab in the middle of it, I was always an outsider. How can I trust a church again? After everything I’ve been through in and out of the church, I don’t know if I can handle that sort of rejection again–to open up to people only to find out I’m not good enough, and never will be, no matter what I do or don’t do. How can I even call myself a Christian when I don’t follow God’s word–when I drink to get drunk regularly and enjoy a carnal relationship with a man to whom I’m not married? And My sister has it even worse. She can’t even set foot inside a church without having to try to smother a panic attack. How can I open myself up to something that has hurt someone I love so badly?

    I hope some day I can get over this. I know, logically, that just because one church is bad, that doesn’t mean that they’re all bad. I had a bad experience at restaurant once. I didn’t write off all restaurants forever–just that one. But matters of the heart are harder to recover from than matters of the belly. How do I know that a church is bad before I get in too deep? I can’t, can I? I need to be hurt before I’ll know if the church is bad, and that’s what frightens me.

  661. I’ve read this and am Blessed to say that I didn’t find a Church home to wash my sins away…but God lead me to one that took me in as a very broken..damaged..dirty..soul and all the members opened their arms and welcomed me as I was…and on that very day 8 yrs ago in Nov. I had just gotten out of jail…I was homeless..hadn’t showered and didnt have anything to lose..I went very ashamed..quilt ridden and all alone… i was greeted with open arms, as people i didnt know welcomed me and i felt the love and compassion like ive never felt before…to me this place was different …of course i coudnt pin point it at the time but i had been to another church as a youngster…and seen how my parents were ostracized when their marriage failed…all I thought church was in my eyes was a place alot of hypocrites gathered and judged one another….so I was so skeptical. ..so as I sat in a pew and listed to the praise and worship and then the sermon of our not so perfect Pastor …I was touched …not by the people nor the Pastor but by an all Forgiving God …and I came back over and over again…and without this place..not just a Sunday Church but a place where I went when I could..the people that I now call family love me just how iam now and then…their love for me didn’t change like God’s love dosent change..I’m a new person wonderfully and beautifullymade In the Image of God…I’m beyond Blessed to have been lead to a Family that knows the difference between Religion and Relationship…Thank you Jesus and Thank you Higher Praise Church in Salina Kansas….I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love youve shown me…

  662. You see, the reason he wrote the article, is because the population of churchy people is declining, which inevitably will lead to the ultimate downfall of the church. If noone is around to care about what’s in the bible, does the christian god join the list of thousands of other gods that have disappeared with time? Yes. The answer is yes.

  663. Maybe that’s the crucial question. What is the church there for? Lee, I seriously don’t need the advice you just gave me. In fact, it’s that kind of knee jerk response that drove me away. Where is the love? All I see is judgment and since you are no better a person than I am, where do you get off?

  664. It’s essentially because you adhere to your tradition (creed). The ancient Christian churches do that too.

  665. Matthew 7:7
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    “Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened untyo you.”
    Luke 11:9
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    “And I say to you, Ask and it shall be given you: Seek and you shall find: Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” If you look for fault in the Church, you will surely find it. If you look you love, hope, and understanding in the Church, you will find it. Try these….

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-declares-evolution-and-big-bang-theory-are-right-and-god-isnt-a-magician-with-a-magic-wand-9822514.html

    You could also ask Father Will at Saint Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, Arizona for a copy of his Christmas Mass Homily from the 4:15pm outside tent service. It was the one about the Magic Eye Kiosk cart from the Chandler Mall with 3D auto stereo grams (from th 1990s) and relating it to the deeper view of the Catholic Church and it view or vision of the world and our place in it.

    (Please excusee any typos of cornering errors, I am on an old tablet.)

  666. Mr. Pavlovitz,
    “Christianese” is a language unto itself. I agree. We should Just talk and say what we mean without adding all of the language that people outside the church don’t understand.
    This is my take on it.
    Just love people without regard for their particular brand of ‘sin’. Stop being offended by those that are different from ourselves. Jesus was offended by no one. He went straight to the “bottom dwellers” and made a difference in their lives just by being Jesus. That is what made those (us) dang sinners want to change. Not words of condemnation, but actions of encouragement, uplifting and hopefulness. Shining that kind of light in a person’s life makes them want to know more and be more… and to change … to become that new person… to be like Christ.
    I don’t know that people are leaving because they are offended by the church, but that the church is offended by them. We keep looking at the external… God keeps looking at the heart.

    Jesus spoke about particular sins and let the guilt fall where it may. He angered some people. He even said that His Word would split families… that it would be hard to follow Him and that people would be upset about it. But He never turned anyone away if they would just come to Him, repent and believe.

    We have to take into account that what He said is true: No man gets to God unless they go through Jesus.
    If a truly inspired man of God is going to preach salvation, someone is going to be offended.
    And yes, there are those horrible stinking politically incorrect words saying ” Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor fneffeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
    That’s a pretty extensive list of activities and I don’t think it left ANY of us out. We are all unrighteous in some manner. Let it offend you or change you.
    “But you were washed, sanctified, justified” Made clean through Christ. Thank goodness!

    Matthew 10:34-39: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
    And then it is all summed up in the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be nice to people if you want people to be nice to you. Love people if you want them to love you. Sharing the Word of God, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is something that I am so glad someone ‘did unto me’. It is what I want to do unto others.

  667. Nope. I’m out. Studied and studied and read and read and I can find no sense of the ‘instructions’ in that black book, or how people have decided to interpret them. A church and religion (not faith) are the biggest money making schemes ever foisted on a believing people.

    Oh, he changed his mind all right. That pastor is dead. And, absolutely NONE of the other pastors/priests with whom I have spoken are any better. I think people have decided to model god after themselves rather than the other way around as is stated in Genesis.

    You can save your breath, John.

  668. “Christianese” is a language unto itself. I agree. We should Just talk and say what we mean without adding all of the language that people outside the church don’t understand.

    This is my take on it.

    Just love people without regard for their particular brand of ‘sin’. Stop being offended by those that are different from ourselves. Jesus was offended by no one. He went straight to the “bottom dwellers” and made a difference in their lives just by being Jesus. That is what made those (us) dang sinners want to change. Not words of condemnation, but actions of encouragement, uplifting and hopefulness. Shining that kind of light in a person’s life makes them want to know more and be more… and to change … to become that new person… to be like Christ.

    I don’t know that people are leaving because they are offended by the church, but that the church is offended by them. We keep looking at the external… God keeps looking at the heart.

    Jesus spoke about particular sins and let the guilt fall where it may. He angered some people. He even said that His Word would split families… that it would be hard to follow Him and that people would be upset about it. But He never turned anyone away if they would just come to Him, repent and believe.

    We have to take into account that what He said is true: No man gets to God unless they go through Jesus.

    If a truly inspired man of God is going to preach salvation, someone is going to be offended.

    And yes, there are those horrible stinking politically incorrect words saying ” Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    That’s a pretty extensive list of activities and I don’t think it left ANY of us out. We are all unrighteous in some manner. Let it offend you or change you.

    “But you were washed, sanctified, justified” Made clean through Christ. Thank goodness!

    Matthew 10:34-39: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

    Admit it. It’s just hard. He said it would be. But He also said He will be right here with us.

    Maybe people leave because it’s just hard? Hard to live a changed life, to admit the need to change, to take up a cross of all things.

    Who wouldn’t want to leave? But in the words of Peter “to whom shall we go?”

    And then it is all summed up in the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be nice to people if you want people to be nice to you. Love people if you want them to love you. Sharing the Word of God, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is something that I am so glad someone ‘did unto me’. It is what I want to do unto others.