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The Church Isn’t Meeting My Needs

Through the years, I’ve watched many people enter into the church excited simply to be MIA within a few short years. It’s one of the saddest parts of being a pastor.   Nothing breaks the heart more than seeing people slip away from the body associated with Christ and drift back into a lifestyle of spiritual complacency and apathy. Plus it breaks my heart more when they believe the chapel wasn’ t meeting their own needs.

It has been often stated the fact that number one reason people leave the church is due to a sense that the church wasn’ to meeting their needs. In other words, there was some expectation they had for the cathedral that was not met.

In conducting dozens of improvised “exit interviews” over the last 20 years, I have found that many of these feeling of not meeting their requirements came as a result of misplaced expectations.   Basically, they will expected something from the chapel that the church never promised.

I can think of 5 unrealistic expectations people have from the church off the top associated with my head. Here’s my unscientific list.

What the Chapel Can and Cannot Supply in conference needs

1) A CHURCH IS A PLACE TO GATHER WEEKLY FOR PRAISE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME WHETHER I WILL EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD. (JOHN four: 24)

Preferences surrounding music is a frequent way to obtain discontent for unhappy associates. One of the biggest misconceptions people have is to mistake music for praise.

Music is not worship.   Organs, pianos, keyboards, drums, choirs, guitars, orchestras, lighting, smoke, speakers, hymnals, displays, projectors, and soundboards are not instruments of worship. They may be accessories for music.

Praise is not singing. It is giving up.   If you attend a large group gathering of Christians committed to honoring Jesus and walk away without having worshiped, the fault is yours, not really theirs.

Don’t blame the music, blame the mirror.

2) A CHURCH IS A FAMILY I CAN BELONG TO, YET IT’S UP TO ME TO BUILD UP FRIENDSHIPS. (PROVERBS 18: 24)

So many people join our churches yet never invest in relationships. They  simply  attend services.   Church becomes like a fast-food restaurant – get my food and get out  quickly  and with as little interaction as you possibly can.   But sooner or later lifestyle happens, and when their world starts coming apart they have got no relational safety net. They  suddenly  expect “the pastor” to “be there on their behalf, ” like he’s a spiritual Genie.   Just  rub the lamp plus *poof*, there he is! But that’s not even the biblical calling of pastors.

Based on Ephesians 4: 12, pastors  are called  to equip the members to be the hands and feet of Jesus.   God designed the particular church to be a community of connected Christians, not a number of customers waiting to  become served. We tell our own people, “If you sign up for this church, but in no way develop any friendships here, we promise we will allow you to down. It’s  just  a few time. ”

Disconnected people  eventually  disconnect.

Lord designed the church to be a community of connected Christian believers, not a collection of customers waiting around to be served. CLICK TO TWEET

3) A CHAPEL IS A PLACE WHERE TALENTED TEACHERS WILL EXPLAIN THE PARTICULAR BIBLE AND HOW I CAN APPLY IT TO MY LIFE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ALIGN MY LIFE WITH GOD’S REALITY. (JAMES 1: 22)

“I’m not  being fed, ” will be the oft-repeated mantra of the self-centered saint.

How many times possess I heard this phrase brought up by disgruntled church members?   Once, when someone told me they were causing the church because they required deeper Bible teaching, I believed about the last several collection I had done and so I inquired the person, “I  just  completed up a relationship series. Tell me, is your marriage striking on all six cylinders? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being ideal, how would your spouse rate you? How about your raising a child skills? Any room to get growth there? ”

They didn’t  really  react.

I continued, “Let me see, the collection before that was on Cash. Let me ask, are you residing on a detailed budget? Are you currently giving 10% of your income back to God? Do you save 10% or more? Do you have an emergency fund or 3-6 months in savings? Is your retirement on track? Have you been debt-free? ”

They began to break a sweat.

I thought about the collection before that one. “I taught for 8 weeks on personal evangelism. So  just  out of curiosity, how many people have you  personally  shared your faith with in the last 3 months? 6 months? Year?

I realize seeing is tough, which is why all of us designed a church using the unchurched in mind. So , tell me how many unchurched people have a person invited to church recently?   Can you name one or more person, who is far from The almighty, that has come to church due to your invitation within the last calendar year? ”

Silence.

“So let me get this directly.   You say you’re not  being fed  and that you need some deeper preaching, but you don’t even do the stuff that my ‘shallow preaching’ addresses.

Hmm, I’m unsure it’s my preaching that needs changing. ”

4) A CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE I CAN USE MY GIFTS, PASSION, SKILLS, PERSONALITY, AND LIFE EXPERIENCES TO SERVE, BUT IT’S AS MUCH AS ME TO BECOME A SERVANT. (MATTHEW 20: 28)

It’s been my experience that some of the most singing critics in the church are usually the least engaged. They have plenty of suggestions, but no pores and skin in the game.

It’s a lot easier in order to criticize from the bleachers than it is from the ball field.   People who aren’t helping in the church are often one particular change away from becoming disgruntled.

There are two kinds of church members. Those that are usually serving and those that think they are deserving. CLICK TO TWEET

I believe  that the metric for maturity is ministry.   It never impresses me that someone merely has Bible knowledge, but I am always impressed by unselfish service.   Serving inside a ministry that delivers wish and healing to hearts and homes immunizes us from apathy and keeps us trapped into the mission.

There are two kinds of church members. Those that are usually serving and those that believe they are deserving.

Just one of those will make you like Jesus.

5) A CATHEDRAL IS A PLACE WHERE YOU WILL FIND THE CHANCE TO CHANGE THE WORLD SIMPLY BY FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ACTUALLY BECOME A PERSON OF INFLUENCE. (ROMANS 10: 14)

Finally,   perhaps  the greatest misconception of most is when  we think  that the church’s primary mission is to meet my needs.

Churches exist  primarily  for their non-members. They exist to bring wish and healing to a broken and hurting world.

There is no perfect church because there are no perfect individuals. CLICK TO TWEET

They do not exist to serve the particular whims of whiners.

There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people.

You can find only imperfect churches filled up with imperfect people striving to generate an impact on this broken globe.

Whenever we forget the critical character of that mission and begin to focus on pettiness and preferences, we all grieve the heart of Lord and we fail the objective of the Master.

As a pastor, I’ve heard plenty of anyone who has let me know how the church provides let them down, but I have rarely heard from anyone who has realized how they’ve let the church down.

The needs of a lost world are too crucial for us to waste time.

Let us get busy being the hands and feet associated with Jesus.

Leading the church can be one of the loneliest callings on earth but top a church through alter is enough to send most pastors over the edge.

( Originally written and released on October 21, 2014 )

This is a brutally honest guest post by my friend Brian Moss. We are pleased to speak about church revitalization at Brian’ s upcoming DREAM conference. Learn from frontrunners who have navigated the water of church leadership and lived to tell about it!

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