Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Churches = Arrogant, Self-Righteous, Hypocrites!

Church - Hate church peopleThis is what I hear quite often from people when I invite them to church or ask them why they don’t go to church.

See, we are in an area where 90% of the people do not go to church. Yes – 90%! Many were in church at one point in their lives, usually as a kid and/or teen, & had a bad experience or didn’t see the relevance to their every day lives. Many others have never been to church. However, most everyone I talk to, who are as I like to say “disconnected from God & His church”, says basically the same thing – “I don’t go to church because I’m not welcome there. They say I’m welcome – but when they see me with my tattoos & clothes that don’t look like theirs, no one talks to me & I just get disapproving looks.” Or I hear – “Churches are full of arrogant, self-righteous, hypocrites. I’ve been to church before. Everyone acts like they & their lives are perfect – but then I saw what they are really like. At least my friends who don’t go to church are real & honest about who they are.”

It’s no wonder why an entire generation feels more loved & welcomed in a club than in a church. We, Christians, talk about revival, the harvest, seeking & saving that which is lost, but how many of us are really carrying the light of Jesus into the darker areas of our communities? How many of us only hang out with our “Christian” friends & go to “Christian” concerts & events.

How many of our churches are really ready for the day when a prostitute walks in? Or when some people who have been out clubing all night before, walk in still intoxicated? Or when 20 motorcycles roar in & some rough looking people covered in tattoos walks in? Are we (meaning Christians & churches) ready for that? I’ll be honest & admit that if I were not a pastor, & if I were not a part of this thing called Eagle Pointe – I wouldn’t want anything to do with church/organized religion either!

One of my favorite quotes comes from Ghandi (Yes – Ghandi). He said “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ!” We, Christians, have done a really good job of screwing up what Jesus intended the church & the Christian life to be all about – haven’t we? For too long church culture has basically communicated to people that “unless you look like us, talk like us, and act like us – you’re not welcome here. Oh we say that you’re welcome here – but you’re really not.”

Think about it – we’ve created this thing called church that is so against the very world we are called to reach. We’ve demonized & quarantined ourselves away from the very society/people Jesus died on a cross for! Andrew Alleyne, a pastor in Toronto, posed the question recently – “Can you imagine if they had social media in Jesus’ day? Instagram, facebook, or twitter? Someone would have taken a picture of a prostitute washing Jesus’ feet and someone would have posted it online and it would be an absolute media frenzy. Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch that which was unclean, sit with sinners, or be their friends. By the way, I’m pretty sure he dressed like a modern Jew in his time.” And I would add that “Christians” would be bad-mouthing & demonizing Him for it.

Please understand that my purpose today is not to “church bash”. I love the church. I have given my life to the church & the cause of Jesus. However, we as christians & churches need to wake up! Let’s quit sitting around in our “holy little huddles” – praying for God to bring people through our doors. Let’s quit feeling good about ourselves because our churches are growing by swapping sheep (meaning Christians leaving other churches to come to our church. I’ll blog about that real soon).

Let’s follow the example Jesus modeled for us! Let’s step out of our “holy huddles” & head out into the bars, festivals, tattoo shops, motorcycle runs, car shows, etc – not for the purpose of “preaching at them” or handing out Gospel tracts. But how about this crazy idea — to go out & build relationships (remember Jesus going to the house of Zacchaeus?) — & then after we have established a relationship, after we have shown people that we genuinely care about them, then we can talk with them about our faith & maybe invite them to church? Crazy – I know!!!

I am more excited & passionate about what God is doing with this thing called Eagle Pointe than I have ever been! We are a church filled with broken people, who don’t have it all together, but who genuinely love Jesus & are allowing Him to transform our lives & the lives of those around us. As we like to say around here – I’m messed up, you’re messed up, we’re all messed up!” — but because we are a family, we are helping each other through God’s power & God’s grace to get a little bit better every day. 2 other phrases we use to describe what we do areChurch for people who don’t do church!” & “This ain’t your Grandma’s church!***It’s also funny to me – how many Christians just don’t understand or are offended by those phrases – & how many non-Christian/non-church types think they are very funny & understand them immediately! (Hmmmm????)

Many of you know that I & our church get bashed A LOT for the type of ministry we do. We catch A LOT of flak for the people we attract & are reaching. We get ostracized in “church world” for our involvement with bars, bikers, & community events with the “undesirables”.  And guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

And here’s something interesting that I’ve found — the more that I & our church do these things & live this out — the more it just “feels like Jesus”! AND – the more that I & our church do these things & live this out – the more our critics just feel like Pharisees! (you might want to re-read & think about that last statement)

So, does all the bashing, flak, & ostracizing we get from others ever bother me? Yeah, of course. I’m human. But doing what we’re doing & how we’re doing it – is also one of the most amazing, rewarding, & fulfilling things I’ve ever experienced in the Christian life.

Pastors & Christians – Maybe it’s time to do some soul-searching. Your city/community/area needs you!

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