More and more I hear stories of Christians leaving the Church. I would bump into them at stores or walking around the neighborhood where I used to minister at. They would tell me “We were hurt badly by our last Church so we just never got around to finding another one.” Another one I heard was “There is enough between God and I. Why would I want to add more people into the mix?” Whether it’s hurt or “holier on my own” syndrome Christians not being in love with Jesus’ Church is a gigantic problem in today’s landscape.
To be quite honest I used to view Christians that wanted nothing to do with the Church as disobedient and dumb. “How can they just leave the Church?” I would say to myself. “Don’t they know Hebrews 10:25?” I mean it says right there “not neglecting to meet together”. Recently though I too have found myself saying “Sleeping in this Sunday sounds like a good idea.” I found myself in a dark place. I was hurt and I thought I could be holier on my own.
The story begins with actually being hired on a staff at Church of about 900 people (which in my mind was the dream job). For a year and a half I did my best trying to figure out the ins and outs of ministry. It was by far the most stressful, depressing, but rewarding job I have ever had. Then at the end of the year and a half just when I felt like I was getting my ministry legs strong and ready to take on 2015 with so much hope and purpose…..I…..was laid off. What a kick in the teeth! I had never been laid off. Let alone feeling like this was the job God had in mind for me. As much as it hurt being let go there was a group of people that I cared about so I stayed with the community of believers and did many of my tasks, no longer employed by the Church, but as a volunteer. In the back of my mind for awhile I dreamed that maybe I would get my job back and return to the ministry a conquering hero. A dream was all it was. A little over a year later the leadership of our Church decided after much prayer and feeling led by the Holy Spirit to hand the Church over to another ministry that was starting up in the area. As much as I trusted the leaders decision to do this my heart broke on the last Sunday we gathered in that building. After that Sunday many of the original members scattered to different Churches in the area and did not integrate into the new ministry as intended. My intent was to stick it out with the new ministry. It made sense. They gathered at a building 3 minutes from my house. They cared deeply for the city and the neighborhood where I lived. We were going to work hard and win the city for Jesus…! But something was missing. I wasn’t excited anymore. I knew the vision but didn’t have the motivation to see it come true. I became like those people I had come to regard as “dumb” and “disobedient.” I…wasn’t in love with the Church anymore.