If You Don’t Like Church, Look Beyond The Immediate

Jesus' Resurrection
Jesus’ Resurrection

Don’t Like Church: Ronald Reagan once said, “The problem with government IS government.” He was referring to the size and cumbersome inefficiency of the federal government. A part of his platform was to work to correct that.

With Reagan’s statement in mind I offer this– the problem with churches is churches. First and foremost, the church, meaning all Christian churches, were instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of spreading the Gospel to the world. It began with his disciples.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus wants the church to thrive

Jesus did not establish the church to fail. He had His 12 students to carry on the work, but they are taught to teach the truth, not to embellish, or change anything.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth .” (Acts 1:8)

The early churches had issues

The problems arose quickly. Churches were established and given the sound doctrine, but people decided that wasn’t enough. The Apostles thought people had to become Jews first, then Christians. The Apostle Paul challenged Peter on that very topic and won the debate. But if the leaders are bickering, what are you and I supposed to do?

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1)

Of course this is nothing new. Solomon knew this full well.

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out” (Proverbs. 17:14)

Don’t Like Church: Hypocrites and Fakers

A common excuse for people not attending church, or moving from church to church, is their disappointment over unmet expectations. That can take several forms, such as “they’re all a bunch of hypocrites,” to “the music is too loud.”

If you want to find fault with the church, any church, you don’t have to look far and wide. There is no perfect church. Some churches will claim they are the only ones who tell the truth. Others may say their doctrine is the only pure doctrine. Some may even suggest that all people who do not belong to their organization are destined for hell. Others rail away against other churches and all that is wrong, which showcases nothing but ignorance. No, churches are not perfect.

Jesus established the church

Jesus established the church. It is His. He alone is the final authority, not the Pope or a bishop. Anything you need to know about what the church should be is clearly explained in the Bible.

But you also need to understand that the church is run by men and women. In most cases these men and women want to follow Biblical teaching, but because the church is a human organization, humans get in the way.

You will never find the perfect church, but you will find some very, very good ones. First question you need to ask is simply “does the church teach from the Bible?” There will be differences in opinion on the meaning of Scripture, but if the church is firmly established in the basic doctrinal teachings of the Bible, chances are you have found a good one.

Peter chosen by Jesus

Jesus picked one man to be the foundation of the church— Simon Peter. It was not because of his theological brilliance, or his educational accomplishments, which were none. Take a look and see for yourself why Jesus picked him among the 12 disciples.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:15-19)

Churches can become focused on status and power

Sadly, churches and ministries within churches, become fiefdoms for themselves. It’s the music leader who doesn’t want to cooperate with the pastor on music for the sermon. Or the Sunday school teacher who thinks their participation is essential for the program to exist.

It’s the elder who has decided he and he alone should tell the pastor what to preach about. It’s the wealthy member who lets the church know that their money is holding the building up. You get it.

From the seats we have the “holier than thou” person who is the model Christian. Then there’s the gossip. Churches can be a mess. Jesus is not. He is the true model of perfection. He is humble and came as a servant.

Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith

The Lord Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, came as a servant.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve , and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

The Apostle Paul gave us a great warning, which is all too often ignored.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3)

Churches are run by people

Because churches are social organizations, run by people, they just act like people. Ego, pride self-contentedness are the culprits. A running joke among clergy is that they should never preach about sin. People just don’t want to hear that. There was the lady to came to the preacher to express her anger. “I’m no sinner and you have no right to talk to me like that!”

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1).

Solomon wrote, “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).

Try to make it better through your service

Humans are terribly flawed. We have all sinned against God and are all guilty. We are undeserving, even the best of us. We are saved by the grace of God through faith. Look at the church through God’s lens. Better yet, after making a self examination, get involved and serve. You can make a difference. You aren’t going to fix it, but you can help to make it better.