Disgruntled, unhappy, and frustrated churchgoers are staying because this is my church. Unfortunately, when it starts being your church, especially with the atmosphere being filled with general feelings of discord, it may no longer be God’s church. He does remove Himself from confusion and non-glorifying circumstances.
When being edified is no longer the experience of the congregation or the individual, there should be some close scrutiny of the situation. And here is how to do it.
First, begin by looking within! Ask yourself, ‘why am I having feelings of frustration?’ Often there are issues within or personal failures contributing to our loss of fellowship with God that has us frustrated. Before we blame others, check to see what is going on within. Make sure there isn’t sin ‘crouching at the door!’
Second, the problem may be rooted in being overly impressed with worship forms or preaching styles observed elsewhere. Make sure that the prevailing consumer mentality isn’t making shopping around for something ‘better’ more appealing. Don’t allow the appeal of secular ideas have you thinking that your church isn’t current or relevant. You may need to stay where you’re planted.
Third, burnout from tedious ministry tasks or loss of a vision for what it is you have been charged to do may cause one to lose focus. Make sure that there is time away to seek the Lord and refresh before leaving worthwhile responsibilities or duties in the church. Your covenant with the Lord and the body of believers should not be easily breached.
Finally, if there is a problem, in the pulpit or worship ministry where ministering to the needs of the people of God and/or the worship is compromised by too many secular trends that do more to entertain than edify, then voice your concerns with someone in leadership in the same spirit of Galatians 6:1. Meekness when dealing with sensitive issues will open doors to dialogue that may be fruitful toward improving preaching and ministry initiatives. Go to your brother or sister and seek to engage them in a positive and spirit-filled discussion about your concerns. Applying Matthew 18:15-17 may be appropriate to seek understanding. But it should be applied with prayer before speaking to someone and preferably together with them once dialogue begins. Prayer always helps to take the matter out of our hands and into God’s hands.
However, worship can be more about us than about God so much so that many leave with no sense of having been edified or exaltation to a higher consciousness of God and His presence in their lives. Souls continue to hunger for a word because preaching is exciting and even entertaining with little or no food for thought or pondering.
When the worship center becomes filled with distractions, frustrations, and most importantly, heresies than worship encounters with God, an edifying word, or a fellowship wherein people may grow, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Don’t be guilty of staying because this is my church! The Lord leaves when He is no longer welcome!