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5 Things People Blame The Church For…But Shouldn’t

There’s a lot of church bashing that happens these days. I get that. Some of it is deserved.

Like me, maybe you’ve noticed that a lot of people feel justified in dismissing the church as anything between a complete disappointment and otherwise useless.

Doubtless people have been hurt in the church and hurt by the church, and for that I feel terrible.

But it’s one thing to have a bad experience or a series of bad experiences. It’s another to hang on to them for far longer than you should, especially when you have a role in them that you refuse to see.

So in the hopes of clarifying a few things and helping us all move through whatever hang ups might be lingering, here are 5 things people blame their church for…but shouldn’t.

1. The church didn’t stop you from growing spiritually

Most church leaders have heard this before from someone who’s new at your church. I went to X church for 2 years but I just didn’t grow there. Now I’ve come here. Hopefully I’ll grow!

I’ve heard this so many times at one point I believed the logic. Until I realized that we were this person’s fifth church in 6 years, and they didn’t grow at any of them. Which makes you ask the question…is it really the church, or could it be them?

I came to the realization years ago that I’m responsible for my spiritual growth. Nobody can make me grow. And honestly, no one can keep me from growing because no one can actually control my thoughts, my heart and my mind. I can offer them to God in free surrender whenever I want.

Understand, the church can help, but it’s not responsible for your spiritual growth. You are.

2. The church didn’t burn you out

You meet a lot of people in ministry, both paid and volunteer, who will tell you the church burned them out. As someone who has burned out while leading a church, it would be tempting for me to say “For sure…my church burned me out. You should see the demands people made on me as a pastor and leader!”

But I would never say that.

You know who burned me out?

I did. 

I am responsible for my burnout. I pushed too hard for too long. I didn’t deal with underlying issues. I burned myself out.

Now, granted, I think ministry can be confusing, and I think it’s easier to burn out in ministry than in other vocations (for the reasons why that is, read this post).

But I’m responsible. And so, honestly, are you. For more on burnout, start with this post.

3. The church didn’t make you cynical

I’ve heard many Christians say “I’m so cynical after working at/attending several churches.”

And for sure, any student of human nature can become cynical.

But the church didn’t make you cynical. You let your heart grow hard. You chose to believe certain things about people, about God, about life, and it built a crust around something that used to be alive and vibrant.

The biggest challenge in life is to see life for what it really is but keeping your heart fully engaged. God loves to help people do that.

I fight cynicism daily. And if anyone makes me cynical, it’s me…not you, not God, not culture, not the church. I want my heart to be alive and celebrating each day. That’s a choice I make with God’s help.

4. The church didn’t cause your unforgiveness

It’s easy to hold a grudge. Get hurt (and yes, I’ve been hurt by people in the church too) and hang onto it long enough, and grudges will form.

Soon you’ll not want to hear someone’s name, let alone run into them in the supermarket.

Too many people in the church or who walked away from the church carry unforgiveness and blame the church for it.

What are you hanging onto from a bad church experience that you need to let go of?

Forgiveness is the one of most Christian things people can do. Yet it’s what far too many Christians withhold from one another.

I love how Mark Twain phrased it: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

5. The church didn’t make you lose your faith

I hesitate to write this one. I’m a church leader. I do everything I can to help people find faith in Jesus Christ.

I also realize I’m far from perfect, that our church is not perfect, and that there never will be perfection on this side of heaven.

It breaks my heart when I hear people say “I went to church but it was so bad/so hypocritical/so shallow I lost my faith.” I realize we don’t always do a good job. In fact, sometimes churches do a terrible job. Sometimes I do a terrible job.

But as you’ve seen throughout this piece, nobody else makes you lose your faith. That was or is a choice you made. It is.

And it’s a choice I make every day. To believe when there are more than a few reasons not to. To love when people don’t love me back. To forgive when it’s easier to hang on to the hurt. To trust when there’s probably a few reasons to stop trusting.

So if you want to believe again…believe again.

A Challenge

Now let me give you a challenge. I realize many of you have been hurt by the church. I realize many of you have grown cynical. And that’s true of people who have left the church and who are in the church.

Here’s the challenge: Be part of the solution. And the solution is not to walk away or be endlessly critical.

The reason I lead a church is because I believe Jesus designed the church to be the hope of the world. Churches are imperfect organizations, but they’re also chosen organizations. We’re on a mission given by Christ. We’re his chosen instrument.

I just want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The world has enough cynics and critics.

We need people and we need leaders who deal hope.

Would you be one of them? Maybe get involved again? Or join a church and decide to work toward a better future? Or start a church of your own? That would be incredible. Really…it would! We need more optimists and more people ready to make the world a better place.

I’d love to hear what you’re taking responsibility for in your life, and how you’ve decided to make a difference.

Scroll down and leave a comment!

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  • Scott

    I’ve NEVER read a more egregious example of blaming the victim; shame on you!

  • David

    You’ve clearly never been in a spiritually abusive church.

  • Chuck

    I don’t wish to re hash anyone’s prior response but I would like to sketch a line between two ideas commonly shared in them. Those two very different words here are FAULT and RESPONSIBILITY.

    As your argument states, those five issues are not the Church’s “fault”. We are all accountable for our own growth and enrichment, and for our own sin and pride. I can cite many verses in Proverbs, in I Cor 12, and countless other places that we have all studied im sure. And i believe this was at least part of Carey’s thrust.

    What i want passionately to contrast this with is that while its not the Church’s fault, the Church is directly accountable for causing someone (albeit weaker) to stumble. See I Cor 8, and Romans 14 for starters. The millstone option is intimidating when you read culturally of how large those things were.

    JESUS put it to Peter after the resurrection In a way that i think the entire Church benefits from. He said if you love me, feed my lambs. (The lamb is responsible ultimately for eating well. But who must feed them? Peter. Now? Us.)

  • Mike McLain

    I appreciate your goal for this post, I really do. People need to take responsibility for their walk with Jesus. A few problems, though.

    First, you don’t identify church. That word does not mean what it used to. You seem to be alluding to what we might call traditional churches, for example, those with a building, paid professionals, tax exempt status, etc. But Jesus would not define church that way, I doubt.

    Second, where is Jesus mentioned as the cure for what ails Christians? There is a lot of human wisdom here, but not much Jesus.

    Then, you call yourself a “leader”, which Jesus says we should not ever do in Matthew. One of the reasons institutional churches are filled with immature Christians is because the leaders do everything. The rest of the congregation lives vicariously through the educated guy they pay. Why would I fix the pipes when I pay the plumber to? So called leaders need to get out of the way, create some space and work themselves out of jobs more often. What if the congregation suddenly started doing everything themselves? Would that be so bad?

    Churches are not organizations, they are the living body of Jesus. Maybe if we treated her that way we might just start living again.

    Anybody will soon burn out that is put upon to be the all in all for the church-except for the all in all for the church: Jesus.

    • Food for Thought…

      Goodness this kind of complaining is so tired I need a nap now… Please dear friend put down your Neil Cole book and/or other organic/missional books and maybe travel a little and see the Bride of Christ outside of your little context…

      No one who is in a position of leadership (And I don’t care whether or not the word is used or not, some people are, by God’s grace, just called to lead) would think of the Church as simply an institutional machine with a tax-exempt status… Anyone with half way decent Biblical theology would refer to the Church as His Body, the people of God, living out their faiths in community as the family of God…. Are their short comings and mishaps along the way? Sure… And I don’t care what way you do it either… I have been part of the missional community movement, the visible church or what people like you call the institutional church, para-church ministries and everything in between… There will always be flaws because we are sinners and those flaws point us to our need for the Gospel not away from it… We rest on Christ alone…

      Lastly, you are simply dead wrong when you say the Church is not an organization… It is. But more correctly said, it is not only an organization. It is both an organism and an organization. I suggest getting your hands on something like Abraham Kuyper’s Rooted and Grounded: The Church as Organism and Institution to get a better understanding of what the Church is and isn’t.

      But usually things like on line convo goes nowhere, so you probably won’t. Blessings to you anyways…

      • Mike McLain

        No idea who Neil Cole is. I do read a lot of Frank Vilola, NT Wright, Watchmen Nee and AW Tozer, as well as others. I try to read a wide variety of authors who ring true in their various areas of study. Or rather, when the Spirit rings true through them. Most of all, I read the Bible, spending a lot of time recently in the Gospels, as well as reading the entire book this year, currently in Proverbs. I am just a believer, not a super Christian of any kind. I hold no office nor do I receive any salary. The truths I have been led to are from the Spirit alone. The Theology I adhere to can be explained as follows. Jesus is the key to everything, on earth and in Heaven. He alone unlocks meaning in the Old Testament, the New Testament-nothing can be understood in the Word apart from Him. He is the Word. The other simple believers we meet together with throughout the week share life together and are trying to learn together to live by the divine life of Jesus. Many of us have come out of the institutional church, had good and bad experiences there, and are now in a simpler gathering. We felt, as do many of you, that there had to be more, that without freedom in Christ, the deeper life was all but out of reach, save for those ministers and theologians who devoted themselves to prayer and the word. We believe this life is attainable for all and that institutional church in general does little to practically help its members toward spiritual maturity in Christ. We are one body. But we are meant to move toward spiritual maturity. I pray that all believers become true disciples of Jesus and aspire to the spiritual perfection that Paul spoke of.

      • Brad

        Thanks for your comments and putting it in the right perspective. Chill pill people. Too many experts out there.

  • Mar Komus

    Point for point…

    1. No, no one can stop you from growing. But an environment hostile to growth can be introduced. The examples of those who have gone church hopping don’t negate the examples of those who just might very well legitimately have problems growing in the church organizations as we know them now. Why do others thrive? Likely the same reason we grow certain crops in temperate zones and only certain others will grow in dry climates–the organization model just isn’t for everyone.

    2. I don’t hear this one much, but it does sound like another dysfunctional environment where those in positions of influence hold an undue sway in the activities of those who serve them. As you mentioned to another commenter, some boundaries would be in order, but let’s not ignore the fact that those who draw boundaries receive flack–even to the point of being dismissed and made to look like the bad guy because they aren’t very “servant-hearted” or “teachable.”

    3. Indisputable. I’m one who could tell LOTS of stories, too, about why I should be cynical. And in many veins, I am. I’m working on that. The more experience we gain in working with people, the more we gain insight into the heart of God. Like, “Really, God?! I have to put up with THAT?!” And then He says, “Oh, child! Look at your own pathetic self for just a second. Multiply that times ~7 billion (give or take a few billion) over the course of several millennia. And you’re not the worst of them and neither is Joe or Susie. You’re just scratching the surface of my level of grace! Welcome to MY world, kid!”

    4. Pretty much ditto of #3

    5. Again, I agree. No one makes anyone lose their faith. However, if we can make Christ attractive, we can also make Him quite unattractive. That’s done by being harsh, hypocritical, compromising, and generally treating the faith like some aspect of life rather than what it is: life itself.

    Being A Part of the Solution…

    Sometimes the best and only thing you can do is move on. There’s no shame in leaving a dysfunctional congregation if the powers that be are clearly in the wrong, are clearly not going to change, and are clearly out to destroy you.

    ON THE OTHER HAND… The Christ-follower will ALWAYS seek out a new fellowship because our way is to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Whether that be with few or many and under the roof of a house, like in the early years, or in some building, as in later years, or even around a campfire singing kumbaya is entirely optional.

  • Ellen

    If a church doesn’t burn people out, what does a church say to a person who says NO when asked to do a favor. As far as roles in the church go, whether it be a reader, or usher, etc., there should be a healthy rotation instead of making the same excuse week after week about how you need the same persons to take on a load of responsibility. Yes, each person is responsible for his spiritual growth, the church only serves as a guide through proper presentation of the readings and the gospel. My church does an excellent job of that. We are then told to carry the message through our everyday lives-Monday-Sunday. Spending all or most of your time in church doesn’t make you a better Christian or a better person. Going back to the point about the church (not) burning people out. How much time spent in church is enough? Are people expected to spend everyday or every time an event or gathering comes up in church? That isn’t very realistic. People have lives and responsibilities outside church, and they do not go away simply because the church thinks that they should be a priority. I know that most people on this blog will say that I am missing the point, and maybe I am missing something. But I know that when I used to go to a Lutheran Church with a school friend, I was being pushed into committing to every trivial thing in the church. To me this church was not really God or Christ centered. Most of the time they would treat the worship as a formality because the weekly activities were what was important to a significant part of the congregation. They have said that you need to make sure that you go to church once a month to be eligible for Youth Group or picnics or whatever else comes up.

    • Thanks for the question. No one makes you do anything. I think what you describe is a boundary issue. I’d encourage you to read anything Cloud and Townsend write on boundaries. Could be really helpful!

    • Mike McLain

      There is no life outside of church. The church is not a building or a time slot. The church, (as the presence of Jesus on earth (Body of Christ) is the answer for what is wrong in this world. You are not going to fix that one hour a week in a building locked away from the world. You are the church every moment of every day! Not realistic? Jesus left heaven and died a gruesome death to give his life so that His church could be born. It is not about being present in a church service. It is about being a light to a dark world, taking the Kingdom of Heaven to those who are hurting, alone and afraid. You can’t go to church: You are the church. Or you’re not.

  • Burn a Koran a Day

    Ironically, the church didn’t make me lose my faith, the church caused me to change my faith entirely. Now I’m a hardcore Zionist and I’m much more happy. If the church did anything, they created a new Israel supporter.

  • Thank you Carey. It sucks seeing people upset or jaded. Ultimately, a church didn’t hurt you, a person in a church did. We’re imperfect.
    — thanks again! Good stuff!

  • Alex Thurley-Ratcliff

    I can’t disagree with the statements above… But here’s a thought:

    1. The church can’t save you
    2. The church isn’t perfect – it’s full of people like me and you
    3. The church might reject you, abuse you or use you – but hey you’ve done that to others too; forgive them and yourself
    4. The church is an institution not a relationship – don’t confuse these – it leads to damaging expectations and pain of disappointment
    5. The church IS NOT the answer – but it is a place where you might find your Heavenly Lover and others who love him too

    We need a more grown-up view of the social dynamics of what church is and isn’t. We all know it isn’t perfect, but it’s what we ARE (not where we go). So BEING church is probably more use to God, the world, others and yourself than “going to church”, “running or leading a church” (strange concept in itself) or being “church members”. These are totally un-Biblical concepts!

    • Thanks Alex. Preached a very similar message to your last paragraph a few weeks ago. Well said!

      • Alex Thurley-Ratcliff

        Cool 🙂
        At least I’m not raving then 😉

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  • William

    Find this to be very interesting…..find it also interesting that once again, the “church” very seldom owns up to her responsibility and her role in damaging the lives of those that may have been truly hurt. I also find it funny that when we talk solutions, most leaders will hear the solutions, but rarely implement them. From the perspective of one who served as assist pastor for nearly 20 yrs before my exit from organized religion, I have the perspective of both sides, and from that perspective, the church doesn’t want to take responsibility but only shift the blame to those who have become disenfranchised with organized religion. One thing needs to be noted, the building of course isn’t the church, the people are, so the article seems to emphasize the “place” of worship, and that in itself to me is a grave mistake.

    • Sorry to hear of your pain. While I didn’t write about it specifically in this post, much of my blog is about church leaders taking responsibility for their actions.

  • Zoe

    Amen!!!
    From Carl Trueman, August 2011:
    I am sorry that you have doubts; I am sorry that your Christian parents
    or schoolteachers screwed you up with their bad teaching; I am sorry
    that you can no longer believe the simple catechetical faith that you
    were once taught; I am sorry that the Bible seems like little more than a
    confused mish-mash of contradictory myths and endlessly deferred
    meaning. But that you struggle with doubts does not mean that those who
    do not struggle in the same way are simply weak-minded, in denial or
    bare-faced liars. Nor, more importantly, does the mere fact that you
    have doubts mean that those doubts are necessarily legitimate and
    well-grounded. Doubting on your part does not constitute a crisis of
    faith on mine.

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  • Great article on on target. As a long term pastor, I’ve heard them all. I must also say that each time I hear one, I do some introspection to see if I, in any way, contributed to it. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    • That’s really good check Pastor Wynn. Exactly. Thank you!

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  • Paul S

    This is a good article for those who blame the church and are in denial about themselves. But, it is a bad article for churches and their leaders who also are in denial about themselves. It is a big half truth. True but not complete.

    • Thanks for that. For sure, this is not about abusive church leaders or blind church leaders. It is about members who are never satisfied and don’t take responsibility.

  • Mark Simmons

    Given the recent number of “blame the band” articles I’ve seen I would add, the church is not responsible for your worship. Whether it’s traditional, contemporary or blended, the musicians are there to worship with you, not for you. It’s too loud, I don’t know the words, the guitarist played a solo (horrors!), I don’t like standing so long, etc etc etc. Join in, sing along, dance, it’ll do you no harm! It’s our choice to worship, not only musically but in all things. If you choose not to sing, please don’t blame the band/song leader/pianist. Whatever “style” of worship service your church has chosen, embrace it and participate. It might start something good.

  • Marisa C. Hall

    I disagree with the first point. The church absolutely is responsible for helping people grow spiritually. The purpose of a church is to feed and grow people spiritually so they then can effectively go out and make more disciples. If the church isn’t helping people grow, then something is wrong with that church.

    • me

      Funny he says that exactly, the church can help you grow. It is even in one of those silly tweet-me-boxes. His point is rather the church does not make people grow, as if there is something the church can do that undoes the actions of all members to make them grow.

      • That’s right. The church can help…but it can’t make you. You’re responsible. The tweet box says it’s glad you think it’s silly btw.

  • Jeremy

    Hey Carey, first time visitor here. Solid post. Though the Church has its issues, many are far too quick to point the finger.

    I did want to point out one thing though, that the wording of your five points should be adjusted. In the intro you said “here are five things people blame the Church for, but shouldn’t”, in which case your points should be something like “The Church made me cynical” (a positive statement, not a negative one as you have used, since you are aiming to disprove a point). Does that make sense? Not trying to be picky!

  • Geoff

    What about: “I don’t have any friends at this church?”

    • christoph

      It took us a few years until we made friends at our church. Now this is the #1 item to remain at that church.

  • You may! Thanks for asking and best wishes!

    • Tabster

      Thank-you very much! I’ll let you know when I get it done.

      Incidentally, I had forgotten I had an account with disqus, so I posted as a guest. Now I’m posting this way. 🙂 Same person, though.

  • guest

    This article is really insulting; trivializing serious issues and placing fault on the victim instead of those actually responsible (the fellow brothers and sisters who in the church). Articles like this show how broken and faithless most mainstream churches have become.

    • Sorry you feel that way. I think when people finally take responsibility for their actions, they grow. This article isn’t about true victims (there are some for sure). It’s about people who think they’re victims. There’s a huge difference. It’s time to take responsibility and stop blaming.

  • Uncle Pete

    Cynical? Yup. Why? Because a prominent Evangelical Free church pastor during the 50’s and 60’s in SE Minnesota, systematically investigated girls private parts (age 8 – 12) for “signs” of pubic hair. The travesty was that each time he was confronted regarding his unusual interest in little girls, the “powers that be” chose to move the famous preacher to yet another small parish, where he repeated his offense. Until he finally retired and died, never paying for his perverted crimes.
    But hey, I guess if Jesus can forgive a murderer, his must also forgive a sordid child molester, that passed as a “man of god”. (Sounds like the Catholic Priest / alter boy scandals, no?) “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!” The Church, indeed…

  • Glenn Krobel

    Agreed. Personal and family devotions should be a staple of every Christian and/or Christian family. Yet sadly it is all too rare. The church is a community of faith to equip and encourage believers in Christ but they aren’t spiritual nannys. You are responsible for your own spiritual growth. Whether at home or in the workplace (or as many Christians throughout the ages–even in prison) you have a choice to spend time with God or not. To grow in Him or to fall on your sinful tendencies. To walk in the Spirit or by the flesh.

  • David Dickson

    Lots of believers fail in keeping personal and family devotions, relying only on Sunday to carry them through. Christ needs to be your focus 24/7. Many do service work to pad a resume or look good. While doing so they lose focus on building the kingdom. These are hasty, unlearned observations I can share based on the insights I gleaned from your article.

  • Frances Matteson-Briley

    This is so awesome,. I’m glad to see these kind of discussions. I have gone to the same church for almost 31 years, I have seen so many come & go. I think pride is a big problem for many. Instead of face it – own it, confess it, ask forgiveness for it (if to the shoe fits wear it) & walk the journey through tuff situations, take the 1st step, you feel better, dont be one who just leaves people just choose to leave, leave. It surely is important to be optimistic, & walk beside others to be their friend & become part of the solution by choice, as you have opportunity to teach & show how they can take steps to heal & build or rebuild relationships for life. Asking ourself, “how can I do a better job & be part of the solution?” One of my favorite things I quote with a bit of a change & borrowed from John F Kennedy is; “Ask not what my church can do for me, but ask what I can do for my chuch!” & “Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.” I wonder if Kennedy borrowed it from the bible? Thanks for all the food for thought. It’s great! Feels like a breath of fresh air!!!

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  • Teresa

    Interesting read; it’s always easier to place blame than take the responsibility upon ourselves, isn’t it? ; )

  • Lori

    Love this i need to know this thanks

  • CHERRILYNN BISBANO

    This is a much needed article. I pray daily for many pastors and their families. I have heard many of these arguments. When the Lord gives me the opportunity to speak to a group of ladies I encourage them in the above practices. I was hurt by one of my churches and I did not want to go back. The Lord impressed upon my heart “You may not need them but they need your joy and love for the Truth of the Word.” I realized that I needed them too. The body needs to work together.

  • Bro Tom

    Thank you. I have been in ministry over years now; most recently 15 in the same church. Sadly, I’ve observed that almost always those who leave because they are dissatisfied with something will, overtime, stunt their growth in Christ. I think this is because there are important lessons of faith that can only be learned by working through things with others–even those who have disappointed us.

  • Shastorra

    Thanks for this post. The church I attend has been undergoing serious growth (in size and spirituality and knowledge of the word) over the last several years. There were many times I was so hurt by leaders, members and attendees. I felt unappreciated and unseen. However, instead of leaving I asked the Lord to give me a heart of intercession. He did. I began praying constantly for the pastors, leaders and members who hurt me on a regular basis. In the last three years, I have seen God change the hardest of hearts, mend impossible relationships, and humble some of the toughest people I have ever met. And I got an added bonus…something not necessary, but a gift from the God who loves me- acknowledgment. Just this evening my pastor told me that he loves me and I have become a loving daughter to him and I have grown so much, it’s “been a joy.” This just confirms your point that I must have been part of the problem. My heart to forgive and pray blessings over those that hurt me made room for God to do a work in MY OWN HEART making it possible for me to build the relationships I had always desired. And God does new works in me and my church family all the time. I can’t keep up with the growth, love and unity. Its been an awesome ride and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • I LOVE this comment…and the story behind it. Shastorra, you did what most people will never do…you took responsibility. That’s amazing. Wish this happened 1000x over among others every day. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Robert Duval

    Thank you for your post. I agree with and support what you say, both as one formerly in leadership at a church, and as a founder of a service ministry with my wife, and certainly involved at several levels. We are responsible for our choices, our spiritual and practical choices, which include at times saying “no” to further commitments. This is not always popular. Occasionally, those choices can can result in judgement by others (and more often within the church) by not meeting their expectations. So I understand both the difficulty in keeping ones heart soft, and the caution so many leaders develop in sharing and transparency. I have learned that lesson well myself and am highly selective who I share with. Thanks again.

    • Thanks Robert! I’m glad you can see it from both sides.

  • moving on

    Thank you for your honest and frank observations. I related to your post. I found I could grow without burning out, be more positive, forgive, and move on without attending church. I know church is important to many, but I have been asking myself, is the American Christian church relevant or even necessary today? I don’t want trendy church programs. I want Christian relationships and belonging in a community. I don’t think there’s an app for that.

    • There’s no app for that for sure. But there’s a church for that. Hope you find it!

  • Rev. Dr. Matthew T. Mangan

    My wife and I have been pastoring for 27 years. And your “5 Things People Blame The Church “… is sad however very accurate! Thank you! God bless you!

  • Patrick

    God placed me in the church I have been attending for about twenty years. It has been a place where I have learned so much about who I am in Christ Jesus. However, over the years, having dealt with those in the leadership position, I know a couple of them to be insensitive at times and, in some cases, down right cruel in some of the ways they deal with the “Volunteer Workers,” of their flock. With that said, I had to deal with my own heart and to come to terms with the reason I was serving. Was I serving for mans approval or was I serving because I love my God? I still have much growing to do but, with God’s abundant grace, I will get there.

    • Thank you for this clarification. You’re so right, this is not a condoning of abuse…far from it. It’s just our culture plays the blame game far too much. Appreciate the nuance. That’s not what this post is about. Thanks for your humility too!

  • Keith Green

    As someone who has or is experiencing every point here, I can whole heartedly agree. After going through my situation, a number of years passed. I knew I still wanted to grow in spiritually, and fulfill what His purpose in my life. So in order to make sure my heart was right, me and my family started attending the church in question.

    Honestly nothing had changed, except cosmetics. The worship, unfortunately was the same. However, Pastors teaching was refreshing, but a few years later we are still there.

    I’ve always taken responsibility on my burn out, etc. I had to be “selfish” so to say, for a few years afterwards in my recovery stage. It is a very long story, and yes I too deal with cynicism daily.

    I have grown way beyond were I was, in this process, and looking at/ back, you can see the problems that have not been dealt with. Not just in yourself, but in other’s. You have to realize you are responsible for your life first, then your family. Pray for others (church leaders). They have to answer for their actions as well. It will not keep them from eternal Life.

  • Harro Medema

    Thanks Carey for your 5 excellent remarks! What about adding an other one: It’s not the church versus the individual (you or me) but rather a WE – you and I are called to belong to a collective body to encourage each other to live in Jesus Christ. We simply need one another as members of the Church. And then the rest will follow.

  • Great post & great points! Thanx!

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  • Amen Carey!! Thanks saying this so well. As a church we are broken people trying to minster to people who are broken. We get wrong a lot of times but there is also a lot of good. I get wrong a lot of times. Sadly it is the negative voice that seems scream the loudest. I hope we can lean to deal with negative with grace and mercy and then lead forward from the positive.

  • Charles Hodsdon

    As a burnt out leader, I wholeheartedly agree, (though I might not have 18 months ago) One of the biggest steps in my personal healing process has been owning the fact that I let burnout happen.

    • Charles…love hearing this man. That’s PROGRESS. Keep going!

  • PTMooreATL

    Carey – this is the best post I have ever seen on this. A very helpful balance between inconvenient yet loving truth and the convicting yet hopeful opportunity we always have to re-engage in God’s best plan for us to experience the blessing and responsibility of community. The Atlantic tribe is really looking forward to learning with you on March 20th!

    • Thank you so much PT! I’m incredibly excited and honoured to be with you. Nothing like talking leadership for a whole day…in Canada!