What to do when you hate your church

http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cynthiab

1. Realize you probably don’t hate your church.
Someone may have offended or hurt you personally but it is highly unlikely that you do in fact hate your church. You’re probably unhappy with an individual or the overall direction (or lack there of) of your church, but you probably don’t hate your church.

2. Find a different word than hate
I think hate is a strong word because we associate it with racism, ethnic cleansing and other inexcusable actions. Hate is lack of tolerance for a position or person. For instance, I hate abortion. Some people may disagree with me but it’s something I hate. I also hate the New England Patriots. Do you see how silly the word hate is now? We use it to describe major issues and minor ones.

Our vocabulary is insufficient so we think we hate our church. Tweet this

Take the time to figure out what really upsets you and figure out a different way to phrase it.

Instead of “I hate our worship music.” you could say “I think we should simplify our worship so there are less moving parts and that might improve its quality.” You don’t hate your worship because that music is sung to praise the same God you love. What you don’t like is the style or the lack of enthusiasm or the song choices. Find a more mature way to explain your feelings than to use the word “hate” every time you don’t like something.

3. Talk to people at your church; members and paid staff
First, email is not talking. Get face to face with someone. This idea is dangerous because people who don’t like their church are often already talking to people in their church. They’re gossiping. They’re not being constructive in their conversations.

If you’re not talking to the person who can change the situation you’re gossiping. Tweet this

Seek out people to get their opinion on the issues that bother you and ask them how you can help. Seek to be part of the overall conversation that helps improve the situation, not pollutes it. Offer your encouragement, suggestions and most of all your help. Be part of the solution instead of feeding the problem with unhealthy words.

We should treat family differently
I’ve felt this way about my current church and others that I’ve attended. It’s natural and it’s also unhealthy if you and I don’t handle it appropriately. Some would just tell you to go pray about it but frankly I think it’s unlikely our hearts and minds will be turned to a better place by simply praying for the topic. I think we should pray for direction, have healthy conversations and take action based on those conversations. We’re too picky with our church experience.

To hate your church is to hate yourself so don’t hate either. Tweet This

Church needs to be viewed more as a family than a concert. You stick with a family through good and bad. If the concert is lame you complain about it on Facebook. If you’re not satisfied with your experience then change it but don’t spend precious time and energy blaming others. It’s your family so fix your family, starting with your own attitude.

[note]Have you ever taken healthy steps to fix something at your church? Ever done it completely wrong?[/note]
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Comments

  1. says

    Andy, our church has been doing something for the last ten years or so where we get together on a Friday night and Saturday morning and have a “Re-Focus”. It’s a time to get together and discuss the direction of the church and to air any issues. What we’ve seen are powerful discussion surrounding our mission but we’ve also seen the little “nitpicky” things addressed before they become bigger church changing issues. We do this every few years and I believe it has been a great way for us to stay focused on our mission to bring more people to Christ.

  2. says

    Great post Andy! I heard a sermon a couple of years ago where the pastor sincerely told the congregation that if there was something going on at church that they did not like, “don’t leave, fix it.” My wife and I recently took that approach and actually talked to someone that could make the changes that we believe needed to happen within our church. An amazing thing happened, they were receptive and said it was an answer to prayer to have us come to them with our concerns, observations AND potential solutions. I like Chris’s comment, I also will be bringing that up next time I meet with our church staff.

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