Is it worth leaving the church?
We’ve been in the new church building for three years now. When we first moved in, I was excited to start decorating the Children’s Ministry rooms and make them an exciting and welcoming place for kids. However, we had to wait….wait to see how the rooms will all end up being used. Make sense.
Now, three years later, we’ve used room 103 exclusively for Children’s Ministry and I thought it was time it started looking like a kids’ room. Our Youth Director thought the same thing about the youthroom. Both the Youth Group and the Children’s Ministry departments submitted proposals to the board the same night. Both were approved. Pending the “ok” from the decorating committee, that is. The decorating committee nixed the entire idea.
“We’re going for a neutral, cohesive feel in the church”, I was told. “To paint these rooms wouldmake the church seem fragmented and messy. You can have a few bean bag chairs that can easily beremoved. Or, if you’d like, we can help you hang posters correctly so you’ll have a little color.”
I think I’ll pass. And maybe throw up. I was mad. Really mad, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps because this was not the first time something like this happened. When I was in the youth group, we painted room 103 as a group. There was a creation mural (with the help of a projector) on one wall,a beautiful wooden cross on another, with the handprints of all the current youth group members surrounding the cross. When my husband and I ran the summer youth program a year or two later, we continued the tradition and put up a new set of hands. When I went away to college, I returned to a white-walled room. I was told the room looked disgusting and needed to be fixed.
It just seems so self-serving to me. So adult-focused. So “members-only”.
Our church runs a soccer league. The church folks get three weeks to sign up before it is announcedto the public. When the 30 spots are filled, people get turned away. Twenty-one spots were filled by church members. Every week, the pastor commented on how great our soccer outreach program was, but I wondered – who are we really outreaching to? Our closest friends? Ourselves? Certainly not the community.
Decorating for VBS is always a challenge. The decorating committee issued rules such as: No tape, No thumbtacks, no sticky stack, no push pins. How exactly am I supposed to put something on the walls?
Once, the ladies got together and made over 50 gift baskets for the local college students during finals week. The baskets had to be stuck in the coat closet until they could be delivered. Otherwise, theywould make the church look cluttered.
Okay, that’s enough. I know as isolated incidents, these things seem like no big deal, but add them all up, and I really begin to wonder who we think the church is for. Once, the Sunday School director issued a challenge: “Don’t donate to a cause – get out there and do something in the community! “He passed out ideas, contact information, events to participate in. People pulled out their wallets and stayed sitting.
We love our church. We love our friends at the church. We truly do feel like a family of God, but sometimes my spirit feels so conflicted. Does my personal mission match the vision of this church? I’m not sure. I want to be a presence in the community. I recently read somewhere this question: “If your church closed or moved, would your surrounding community be devastated?” Ours wouldn’t. They might not even notice. Is that the kind of church I want to be a part of?
I want to be a part of something that’s changing lives. Something that is drawing people in because we’ve first gone out. I know I could go out and do it myself, but I would rather be part of a body of believers that really cared about the community and lived it. I want to live the lyrics of Lacrae’s Send Me. I want to walk outside my church doors and see that the block is changed. Is this conflict ofinterest worth leaving my church over? Will the next church be any better? What do you think? Click here to leave your response.