There is a growing segment of the American Christian community who possess only cynicism toward being part of a congregation. And it is mostly due to failure of churches, abusive leaders or broken trust. But of course a lot of it is also due to a lack of follow through and character on the part of a Christian.
The following are reasons I believe Christians get hurt or abused by churches:
- They don’t know how to do analytical thinking. Our schools unlike Australian and German schools teach toward test scores rather than developing skills of analysis and assessment. We follow the rules thinking we will be safe. But we blindly expect to follow. It is the believers responsibility to be sharpened by the Word of God and test everything they hear.
- We don’t question enough. This one will get me in trouble with my fraternity of leaders. But I say question everything. Don’t be cynical or slanderous or skeptical. But question. Every January I question everything about the previous year. I question my call. I question my doctrine. I question my holiness. I question my use of money. And I question my leaders and organizations. It is a good thing. Leaders who can’t be assessed aren’t leaders they are something else. Everyone should go on Amazon and by my book “Criticism: Friend or Foe.” You can probably get it for .01 plus 200 dollars shipping.
- They are lazy. It’s easier to just go a long than seek understanding.
- They follow icons instead of servants. And when the idols fail that’s all there is in their foundation. i have come to believe a better model for church leadership is a symphony director rather than a super star celebrity.
- They want something for nothing.
- They believe the goal is perfection and no pain. Church is painful at times. Families are always painful at times. And if things get painful Americans bolt. If you want to good stuff sometimes you have to survive the bad stuff. Disappointment is something that kills Americans. All Christians and leaders will fail, sin, and make mistakes. Its unfortunate but true. If you go into church with the expectation that everyone at some point will be disappointing you will have more fun.
- They don’t follow their gut. As they say, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a dog it is probably a duck.
- They approach church like a consumer rather than a disciple.
- They confuse forgiveness with approval, overlooking or trusting again.
- They get talked into something they didn’t feel good about to begin with and later feel burned. Only do what you want to do. Memorize II Cor. 8 – it will give you the approach of a healthy giver and believer.
- They have the church take the place of their family. Church is a poor substitute and will never satisfy on this level.
- They think they need to like everyone to be part of a church. I think we should get honest and realize that I can not like someone but still love them. I don’t like a number of people I work with regularly. And that is good. I would do anything for them out of love but I really don’t want to have coffee with them and that’s ok.
- Are susceptible to shame, guilt and personal attacks and confuse that will spiritual growth. We need to learn the power of grace, mercy and peace. Broken homes, to much mobility, addicted past, abuse of all kinds lead to emotional vulnerability that attracts abuse.
- Americans study the Bible but don’t go the next step to apply the word.