SO YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE – PART 12
I’m just going to warn you that this post will be political but I’ll try to be polite.
If you wanted a new president then you’re probably feeling down, disappointed, and discourage, as well as feeling the ever increasing disdain for the other party and lame-stream media….or even church leaders who fear the I-R-S more than G-O-D!
We (the Church) look at our unsaved family and friends and feel equally the same that they reject the Gospel, as well as our ever increasing disdain for Satan and his minions. Sin is exceedingly sinful.
Let us remember who is on the Throne. If you’re on His side then who can be against us. Our war is not flesh and blood. There is a greater enemy and he doesn’t care what party you belong to.
I also want to tie this into the 12th chapter of So You Don’t Want To Go To Church.
The protestant Church at large can be like a political system where members divide over issues while those who just want a pure and authentic relationship with Jesus are turned off by the politics.
Jake is a bona fide survivor of church politics and his faith is stronger than ever. He is invited to speak at a large church about his “growing relationship of trust in the Father” and helps out the senior pastor (Bryce) whose in a spiritual rut.
Bryce comments to Jake that “there is no correlation between the success of my ministry and the fruitfulness of my own relationship with him.”
Bryce’s ministry was growing but he was spiritually dying and quickly on his way to the road of anger and depression.
Guess who makes a special appearance while Jake and Laurie head out to the parking lot? Tito John at your service! =)
Laurie (Jake’s wife) asks John a good question about the role of church as an institution.
“But then what good are these institutions?”
“Maybe it keeps all of those caught up in religion so busy they don’t have the energy to infect the rest of the world with it,” I offered with a smirk.
“That wouldn’t be a bad use of it.” John smiled with me, and then quickly turned serious. “But I’m afraid it’s a bit more mixed than that. As you say, good teaching can help plant seeds and it can make connections between fellow travelers that God can use for years to come. But that isn’t without a price. Over time institutions can even become abusive when the demand for conformity takes over. I always encourage people to run when that happens. But that doesn’t discount the fact that some can be relatively healthy. Family dynamics of love and compassion will weave themselves amongst the institutional elements and some community will actually happen. Remember your early days at City Centre?”
“I do!” Laurie brightened. “So it wasn’t all bad?”
“No, not at all. In fact in the first days of a new group forming the focus is usually on God, not the needs of the institution. But that usually fades over time as financial pressures and the desire for routine and order subvert the simplicity of following Jesus. Relationships grow stale in routine and when the machinery siphons off so much energy just to keep it running, it will grow increasingly irrelevant.”
If you are part of a church fellowship that sounds like this, please run away like someone chasing you with a poop on a stick and don’t look back.
Bryce joins them after being curious if that was the infamous John. They have a good chat and Bryce discloses his struggles to maintain balance at church and home. You’ll notice similarities to Jake’s past.
These are the quotes that impacted me from their conversation:
- Structures are about power, and getting your own way. Those who are growing to know him don’t need them.”
- “Part of the journey involves doing what he makes clear to you. If you’ve submitted it to him, then let him sort it out. If he were asking you to leave today, I think you’d know that, even in the face of your fears. If he hasn’t made it clear to you then wait. Just keep loving him and following him every day. I’m learning the joy of resting in him, doing what I know to do and not doing what I don’t know to do. It’s been one of the hardest lessons to learn, but also the most freeing.”
- “You see, Bryce, truth has its time. If you tell someone the truth before they’re ready to hear it, you can push them further away no matter how well intentioned you might be.”
- “How could obligation ever produce real relationship, Bryce? Obligations are only necessary when the experience is ineffective or lifeless. When people are living in the life of Jesus, they will treasure every opportunity to connect with other brothers and sisters who are also on this journey. It will not be something they have to do, but something they wouldn’t ever want to live without.”
There is is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to process from this chapter and is perfectly summed up by John:
“But the goal remains the same. It’s him! It’s always him—not a style of meeting or a pre-planned program, not a safe salary, or a predictable future.”
PLUMB – Need You Now (How Many Times) Lyric Video
Kutless – “Even If” (Official Lyric Video)
Chris Tomlin – Whom Shall I Fear