Do You Trust The Church?

Broken-Trust

The church has a serious image problem. A while back, a pastor we knew proposed to the local fire chief that his neighborhood church team up with the fire department on a particular community event. The fire chief responded: “No… you see, people trust the fire department.”

Ouch.

What image comes to your mind at the word “church”? You may remember it fondly as the place where people loved you no matter what, and you enjoyed coffee between services. Or it could be where an abusive authority told God was angry at you, and you’d better shape up or God would ship you out.

Ask 50 people for their emotional response to their church, and you’re likely to get 50 responses.

But this is certain: people’s perception of church is not what it used to be.

That’s what many churchgoers don’t seem to grasp right now.

“When outsiders claim that we are unchristian, it is a reflection of this jumbled (and predominately negative) set of perceptions. When they see Christians not acting like Jesus, they quickly conclude that the group deserves an unchristian label. Like a corrupted computer file or a bad photocopy, Christianity, they say, is no longer in pure form, and so they reject it. One quarter of outsiders say therefore most perception of Christianity is that the faith has changed for the worse. It has gotten off-track and is not what Christ intended. Modern-day Christianity no longer seems Christian.” David KinnamanunChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters

I’ll tell you exactly why.

  • The church is consumed with behavior instead of life.
  • It is consumed with rules instead of Jesus.
  • It is asking how to deal with sin instead of how to embrace the people God loves.  

Sigh.

Prominent evangelical church leaders today are debating how to deal with people’s ‘sin’ – as they pick and choose – instead of how to love people.

That is the problem of the church. It centers around absurdly arrogant church leaders randomly and hypocritically judging “others.”

“Arrogance is perhaps the most socially acceptable form of sin in the church today. In this culture of abundance, one of the only ways Satan can keep Christians neutralized is to wrap us up in pride. Conceit slips in like drafts of cold air in the winter. We don’t see it, but outsiders can sense it.” David Kinnaman, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters

The solution: stop judging; start loving.

Treat people the way Jesus treated them. Love people the way Jesus loved them.

That’s all it is!

12 thoughts on “Do You Trust The Church?

  1. when i think of “church”, all my mind tells me is that it is a place that rejected me because i fell in love with the same sex, which i know is supposedly not the perception a church should give off. 😦

    • Odee, think of how the woman at the well, the woman forgiven for adultery, and the lesser men felt, never being good enough to enter the Temple. That IS the perception they sent off then, and Jesus told them they were wrong. If you could, set aside what you’ve see of church, and ask God to show you what God wants you to see. Bless you. Check out my resources page, the one, “What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality.” I hope it helps. 🙂

  2. In my prior life as an AF Chaplain, I came into an assignment where the Chaplains had a pretty lousy reputation with leadership… Those of us who were younger in rank had a tough uphill slog to regain credibility… It took a long time… It did happen eventually. The church has an uphill battle to regain lost value and reputation… Amongst the people AND amongst some of us who serve and are disillusioned too… From our lips to God’s ear… Let us pray…

  3. That is so true what you posted and so loving the way you go about telling it like it is. I’m in the Lord’s Army, that little song I used to sing when I worked in the SBC nursery is how I feel now. I feel like until the Church comes out of the dark ages about this issue more and more people will miss out on hearing the Good News of the Gospel. I am so glad that the true Gospel is discussed on your site and other places. You know I believe we are on the right side of history in this matter. One day at a time.

  4. As usual, your column is jam packed! Love it. I look back at the churches I have attended – I know of several who, at that time, NEVER would have “allowed” the LGBTQ community into the church until they “cleaned” up their act. Some “allowed” them entrance. One evens welcomes them. But participate in the worship group, teach, work the nursery, or otherwise actually participate besides attending? Over their dead bodies. And some of these people who serve smoke, drink, cuss like sailors (I can say that because I was one! LOL!), and other “sinful” behavior but if they are gay, forget it. You can not participate except to attend. Not even sure they could take communion. I better stop typing…I’m making myself a bit angry. Sigh. :-/

  5. I used to picture my family, also standing in a row, singing. It was very comforting to me. My dad was often an usher. Now, the word church represents “don’t ask don’t tell”, and I feel great pain about it.

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