A bunch of people keep asking my why I do not go to church any more, so I thought I would try to type it out here on the blog.
After 10 years of attending the first church I visited when we moved down from the Chicagoland area, there was something chomping at my foundation. It was bugging the piss out of me.. it was like when you get a popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth and you just cannot get it out even though you keep trying and trying. Well, as I perused the church halls during the last year I was there, and it was like that popcorn kernel, it was going nowhere.
No matter how hard I tried to be involved within the church, there was something that kept eating at me inside, and afterwhile I could not ignore anymore. I (and my family) did everything within the walls “church” had to offer … we consumed small groups, Adult Bible Fellowship classes (where I almost ended up leading a class of 50 couples), bible studies, precept classes, growing kids God’s way, discipleship classes.. ect.
After my first 2 years taking the discipleship program, my insides started to hurt. Then it was after I co-taught another 2 years of discipleship class with a group of 12 guys is when I started to really wonder … what in the world am I doing? My wife, who had to listen to me for weeks and months as I tried to explain why I have the need to leave the church, finally saw what was in my heart. As we shared thoughts together we came to a question that needed an answer. Isn’t there something more?
After many months of thoughts and prayers, I came to the decision to leave the institutional church. No, I never left Christ and The Body (which really is the Church), and it has been the best decision I have made so far in my life.
The church I attended provided us plenty of “activities” to keep us busy all the time. But, over the years the longing was for more than programs, meetings, and being recognized. The sorry thing is the system that runs the church is built up to push people into that type of environment (a bunch of converts, but no disciples). I just was not receiving what I was reading in my bible studies, which is Christ (you know, the Body that is to love one another more than ourselves).
I craved the life believers shared with one another in the Book of Acts and throughout the 1st century church. The so-called “Christian” life needed to be much more than what I was experiencing. Jesus died for so much more than repetitious, organized, non-participating meetings, and relationships that seemed superficial and even forced.
Please do not get me wrong on this. We love the people we were “going” to church with. I am sure they meant well, and we even had some fellowship when we attended (but mostly surface stuff.. no heart issues). I became aware that the structure we were in did not lend to any sort of depth of relationship I read about in the New Testament.
There is a bunch more to the story, and I did not leave because the “church” hurt me. I left because the more I dove in to be more like the Church (Christ), I felt convinced to walk away from the human made “church” structure.
Interesting though. I was not hurt prior to leaving, but I tell you what, the church sure did a good job once I left to make me feel like a piece of shit and that I did not matter. After 10 years, no one from the congregation called us after we left to check up on us to see if everything was ok (and there is over 18,000 members.. you think someone would at least call). When we called a week or so later to cancel our so-called “membership”, we never got a person.. we had to leave a message, then poof.. we received nothing more in the mail. Just erased from the list… see ya!
Even after 4 years of in-depth study with two groups of guys, I do not think many of them even remember my name anymore. It is sad how the church is built to consume knowledge, but is not even close to building relationships with one another.
This is why a lot of what goes on within the walls is a bunch of BS. I found out I was allergic to bullshit and had to get out quick and stop taking all the medicine the church offers that hides the symptoms.
I hope and pray others find relationships with others regardless of where you are. I just tell people who go to church to really ask themselves … What in the world am I doing? You could be surprised on how it gets answered.
(Note: the second main reason I left was because the “what we believe” as a church had a statement in it that I could not be a part of … I love those doctrinal “rules” to be a member that separates the Body … what a joke.)