Pain in the Pews

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39 Responses

  1. Janet Ames says:

    Kathy you are amazing and I love reading your page! This is so so true and was thinking along these lines yesterday….He never ceases to amaze me, and here you put it into words. Love you girl and thanks for being who you are!!!

  2. Shirley Downey says:

    Very well written Kathy.

  3. Jim Henning says:

    Thanks for your opinions, Kathy, which have considerable validity. However, I can’t help but wonder if there is any room in your thinking for analyzing the doctrinal veracity, delivery, and sincerity of the pastor and his sermons…in short, whether or not the pastor is a good preacher. Is there any room for a spiritual person’s sense of the manifest presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the services? Is there any room for personal taste in music and evaluation as to the lyrics’ Scriptural accuracy? And, just as love is not license for any individual Christian to do whatever he or she wants, neither is it a license to “do church” just any ol’ way anyone wants. Loving people means to sincerely desire and kindly promote the best for them, which sometimes opposes current practice.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate the time you took to read my blog and respond. Yes, there is absolutely room in my thinking for all of the great points you mentioned. I choose to worship at a local body that fits my doctrinal beliefs. I like the music, my pastor, etc. But I’ve also not liked every decision made or every song sung. I’ve also been hurt and offended. All of that stuff takes my eyes off of Jesus, if I let it. After years of watching people walk away from my local church and the church as a whole, and after years of entertaining the idea of leaving I have decided to just follow Jesus. People dissapoint, I know this. Jesus never does. Now I’m careful to “take every thought captive” (or at least I try). So while I may think it, I eventually must sift that thought or way of thinking through God’s Word. Thanks again for commenting !

  4. Natalee says:

    Thank you for this piece! I was just yesterday talking with a church elder about how people never process/deal with hurts and offenses in the church. People come on Sunday and maybe one or two other times a week for other ministries, therefore we’re not in day to day life with each other. When an offense occurs most people simply leave, and the consumer mentality offen stops any real follow through or reconciliation.

    We do need to focus on loving God and as an out pouring of that love, loving others. I would add that when we truly learn to understand how to love God and love others, we also will learn how to relate rightly with others, which means not ignoring hurts, but addressing them and doing the hard work of reconciliation. There are definitely some offenses that are truly only in our hearts and need to be taken to God and left there- that he needs to deal with us on because they are based in our own perceptions and understandings (and I think those are mostly what you’re addressing in your well written post). There are also ones that stem from actions or words of others that do need to be addressed. That’s the other part of loving God and loving others that gets missed; the hard work of reconciliation.

    Thank you again for this well written, thought provoking piece!

    • Kathy says:

      Wonderfully said! Thank you for your comment!

    • There are those who are followers of Jesus and then there are those who follow the pastor over and over they get upset when he/she leaves and they won’t come back…Loving Jesus means loving your Pastor even when you might not like him too much..I agree we need to keep our eyes upon Jesus and be good followers and stewards of our tithes and time in God’s church! Thanks for the article!

  5. ️Nancy Henderson says:

    A Big Amen Sister , Cita you are so right well said , I go to Church to. Worship my Lord? to love him everyday where you can make it to church or not able too God knows my ❤️and that is enough for me !!! ??❤️????

  6. THEL HAMILTON says:

    Very Good. As I was reading I thought of the song “PEOPLE NEED THE LORD” . ONE OF THE BEST I’VE READ TODAY>

  7. Mary Lou says:

    I have an AWESOME GOD…..He knows NO boundries……..He loves EVERYONE…….. I need my church family..

  8. Good article, but I feel that a lot of people are leaving the church because they love the darkness more than they do the light and will make or take any excuse to not come back. As we enter further into the last days, the love of people will just wax worse and grow more cold. Those that love Jesus must continue to work while it is still day

  9. Suze K says:

    So, what do you do when it is the elders doing the hurting and forcing a good pastor to leave without knowledge of the congregation? I can’t trust elders that do things in a non-scriptural manner, particularly when one of the said elders is intent on estabishing himself as pastor. A church handled in that manner cannot be blessed by God, can it?

    • Kathy says:

      That’s a good question Suze. It’s tough when we see things done in leadership that are not biblical. I would suggest praying for God’s will in where you should attend church. And if He wants you to stay put then pray like crazy for your elders. God can and will work in whatever situation he chooses to work. He is sovereign and can fix this in your church. I am so sorry that you and your church family are going through this. I will keep you in my prayers.

    • Nita R says:

      There are sometimes valid reasons for leaving a church. We are in the latter days and things are getting worse and churches are compromising values. If your church preaches a watered down word and leaders are self-serving, ask yourself “Do I have the strength or the authority to make a difference?” If no is the answer, seek God and act quickly.
      But never, never, ever quit worshiping God with fellow Christians. We need an extra charge to face the things of the world.

  10. Rachel says:

    Nicely written and so true.

  11. HvnOnEarth says:

    So what of those hungry for more than rituals, routines and methodologies of men? Perhaps the empty rhetoric and lack of the moving of the Spirit are to blame, not just “hurts” and wrongs. The Church is not, never has been nor ever will be solely about meetings and buildings. It is to be a living demonstration of the Spirit of the living God Himself. When the Spirit is replaced by methods of men, people are left empty and in want. Perhaps THIS is why the churches today are emptying.

  12. Deborah Britt says:

    I love Jesus with all my heart and it broke my heart to leave the church family where I raised my kids for 26 years – I spent a year in anguish over what to do and felt God leading me ,, I have spent the last year visiting churches in my area (and loved the fantastic opportunity to see how all these churches working together could change the world – so many great born again believers with hearts for God) . I have been praying God would lead me to join another church and one in particular is where I go most often. I am so grateful for international Bible Study Fellowship and our regional Baptist Associstion for keeping me grounded in Christ. I love my church family and miss them (even though it has surprised me that I almost never hear from them now – makes me wonder if we really were family). I know God has me where I am supposed to be – and that I was not growing spiritually by staying. It also surprised me often that no one ever asked people why they left our church – I felt if we knew, perhaps there were things we could do to be more welcoming. I appreciate your thoughts.

  13. While I agree with the philosophy of your blog and that we should be attending church to worship God, it is very hard to attend a church where the Pastor seems to be on a power trip and condemns those that disagree with him or his beliefs. My husband and I left a church in which we had been very active members because we just could not condone the actions of the pastor. We tried to address our concerns with him, but he didn’t want to hear it… was his way or the highway and we chose the highway.

  14. Trisha says:

    I have been with the same church since I was born and don’t plan on leaving

  15. ray kish says:

    If you leave because you dont like the color of the new carpet you werent thete for the right reason. Focus on God and those little things wont bother us. Thank you Kathy

  16. Peggy Perry says:

    I’d been going to the same church for a couple of decades,had a busy and satisfying time there and never considered leaving. But with the hindsight of another two decades at a different church, I can now see that God needed me to go and go fast to the new church. My parting was rough, quick, traumatic, and bewildering, but necessary. Sometimes God moves you where you need to go with a gentle nudge, but if you need to be somewhere else doing His work immediately, He will move in truly mysterious ways. There were several times I thought it was time to move on from this church, that my job here was done, but each time I heard that still, small voice saying not yet. I’ve learned to let God let me know whether to leave an unpleasant situation or stay and be used to fix it. A very elderly and experienced pastor told me once that in his very first church, 12 deacons refused to let him do anything he thought God was telling him to do. He prayed hard for guidance and he too was told to wait. In the next 12 months, he had to perform 12 funerals – each one of the deacons. Yeah, pray for guidance and be sure to follow instructions. If you’re not getting answers, start spending more time with God.

  17. Nita R says:

    I have believed for a long time it is dangerous to harm one of God’s true servants. And that is frightening to me.
    Vengeance is mine, i will repay says the Lord.

  18. Janelle says:

    Great article, but what if the minsterial staff knows of a person that has hurt a child and does not share with the other parents, and then years later you find that that person hurt your child. When you go to the staff they said, “Oh we knew but didn’t want to scare the members.” How do you get past that kind of hurt? I try to keep my eyes on God, and forgive, but that bitterness is hard to handle, it’s a constant prayer and request over and over.. It’s not all about me, these things happen in churchs and no one talks about this, or acknowledges it.

  19. John says:

    How do we “just love God, love people?” Isn’t that a summary of the law? Are we to just obey the law? I agree that all of the self-centered reasons that you listed are not good reasons to complain about one’s church. But this sounds like the fruit of someone who is unconverted in the church. My experience over the years is that the gospel message is assumed, or insufficiency presented in many churches (this would be the only legitimate reason to be discontent with a church). When I say insufficiently presented, I mean that we often avoid talking about the bad news of God’s wrath (hell), the seriousness of our sin, and instead focus on getting people to say a prayer for a free ticket to heaven without true repentance. Instead there are a lot of moralistic “just love God, love people” sermons that cause either pride (for those that do), or despair (for those that don’t). Those messages are damning. We need the gospel as the core of every sermon for the salvation of the lost, and to feed and empower the sheep to actually “love God, love people.” By nature, we don’t love God, or people. We love because He first loved us. The solution to create God-centered, or others-centered people (instead of self-centered), is always the gospel.

  20. Jim Henning says:

    If “the gospel message” means “to get people saved”, a lack of understanding of the purpose of church services is evidenced. The church and church services exist not “to get people saved” (confirming the prevailing idea that the church is a hospital for the hurting or a hospice for the dying), rather, the church is a discipleship center and pastors and teachers are specifically given to equip the saints (Ephesians 4:11, 12). Any complaints about the church should focus on inadequate or inappropriate facilitation of discipleship.

  21. Kathy Howard says:

    Sometimes you just have to wait things out with prayer. At one time my family was considering going to another church. We waited and the situation we didn’t like changed in 6 months. We are still there about 40 years after we joined. Change is happening now because our pastor is retiring and a newly hired associate pastor is stepping into place. It is time for a shake up with a pastor that will relate to the younger generation.

    • Jim Henning says:

      Yes, sometimes we absolutely “have to wait things out with prayer”! But, with all due respect, NO church needs any “pastor that will relate to the younger generation”. What about the older generation? Do you simply ignore them in favor of the younger generation? What EVERY church needs is a pastor who (1) is sent by God, (2) continually fulfills his Scriptural mandate to equip the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11, 12), and, (3) seeks and learns the explicit will of God for every other aspect of the particular church he pastors.

  22. Well said! However, many don’t leave the local assembly for of any of those reasons. We didn’t. We spent 10 years in our church in California, moved to Northern Arizona and spent 10 years very actively involved in our church there. We did outreach, we were children’s pastors, leaders in the drama department, etc. Loved every minute of it. God called my husband to bible college at age 40. Then, He called us out of the local assembly. (yes, we believe the “church” is who we are not where we go.) Our walk with God and our fellowship with believers He has brought into our lives has never been stronger or richer. We all have a path He has called us to. Ours led us outside denominational assemblies and into our local world of sinners and saints alike.

  23. Jean H. says:

    Sometimes you can be more effective for loving God and loving others when you are in the church GOD wants you to be in not just one you sit in because you think that means you are faithful. Symptoms as you describe are those that mean you may be in the wrong congregation. Sure, no place is perfect. Agree. But there is a “perfect place” that God has you in the Body and when you are there, you know it. You shouldn’t just sit in a church that leaves you empty – that just means you don’t belong there. Doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t belong there, but you have to find the place God leads you to by HIS Spirit, not yours. If not, then there wouldn’t be so many churches with so many different types of style.

  24. Leesa says:

    I left the church that I was born into (attending over 60 years) not because of the Pastor but the older people who didn’t care about anybody but themselves nor what would be enjoyable to the younger ones in their worship time. The older ones didn’t want any of the newer music and if the Pastor preached something (even though it was Biblical) they didn’t like, all they did was gripe and complain. After they ran the second Pastor off in 5 years, I searched for a year for a “new church” and now feel I can freely worship. I don’t believe there is a church where one would totally agree but that’s ok we’re all different. At least now when I worship the Lord I don’t have to constantly be reminded of these people who told lies to achieve their purpose. That has been the hardest part to forget and forgive.

  25. Debbie Wathen Clute says:

    And let’s not to forget to love the “Preacher” who enjoys his tax free, 10% take from you hard earned $$.

    • Kathy says:

      I do hope you are not writing a check of 10% of your income directly to your pastor. Your tithe goes to your church to pay the water and electric bill among other things. And, yes hopefully to pay your pastor. The church doesn’t pay taxes on your tithe but your pastor does pay taxes on his income from the church. He does NOT get income without paying taxes.

  1. September 1, 2016

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