5 Stupid Things The Church Needs to Stop Doing to Make Progress

The church has more than its share of critics these days.

Sometimes the criticism is unwarranted. People project their issues onto a congregation or onto the church, which is never healthy.

And, of course, the church will inevitably run into criticism.

What we’re doing is counter-cultural and will never be met with universal applause. The Gospel, even when powerfully shared, got John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Jesus and the prophets killed, just to name a few. While it seems strange to say it, even love, when seen fully and magnificently, gets rejected.

But other times we absolutely deserve the criticism that comes our way.

Often these days, it seems, we’re not ridiculed or persecuted because we’re fighting nobly. Nope, sometimes we just shoot ourselves in the foot.

Here are 5 things that, in my view, would help the mission of the church become more authentic and more effective if we could just stop doing them.

1. Being So Weird Online

Too many Christians come across online as either

Toxic (Hello angry ranters, trolls and haters);

Cynical (Yes, we know you’re disappointed with everyone all the time and no one gets it as right as you); or

Syrupy (So sweet we can’t stand the taste and are not really sure you live in the real world)

Why do so many Christians think their social media feed is a place to show the world their weirdness?

It gives the impression that if you’re going to follow Jesus you also need to become socially awkward.

I know people might say “no, I’m just being authentic”. But being authentic does not mean being weird. (I shared my personal criteria for what I share online in the name of authenticity in this post).

I think a general rule is if you can’t imagine saying it in real life to a person, you shouldn’t say it online.

If you go to post something and you think, well, that would be braggy if I said that to someone, that’s a healthy check. It means you’d be bragging. So don’t post it.

Similarly, if you think “Well, people would just walk out of the room if I said that in real life,” then maybe don’t say it.

If you’re always angry or cynical or all you do is complain online and you think “well, I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone like that in real life,” then that’s a clue that maybe you shouldn’t say it, or be like that.

And if you think “well, then I’ll have nothing to post,” then you’ve likely put your finger on a deeper issue.

Christians, let’s just stop being so weird online, okay?

2. Commenting on Politics

Part of the weirdness is political.

God is not a Republican or a Democrat, or in my country, a Conservative, Liberal or New Democrat. Nor is God an independent.

God is God.

When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.

Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government.

As I shared in more detail here, Jesus and Paul spend surprisingly little time trying to influence the government. Jesus completely rejected the idea of becoming the government when people asked him to become their political leader.

I know some will say “well, God has opinions about things happening today”.

I’m sure he does.

But when authentic Christians sincerely share different views on subjects, we should be very careful about speaking for God.

And, after all, when God happens to have all the same opinions you do, you’re probably not even worshipping God anymore.

You might be worshipping yourself.

3. Handling Conflict So Poorly

The church should be the best in the world at handling conflict. We were taught by Jesus exactly how to do it.

Yet we often side step. We gossip. We talk about other people rather than to people.

We avoid conflict. Or we run into it like a bulldozer claiming we’re all about truth.

If we just handled conflict humbly, gently, introspectively and bravely, we would be so much better.

If you really want to see how to restore someone in love, listen to this message by Andy Stanley on judgment and helping others who are sinning. It’s brilliant.

If we handled conflict more healthily, our churches would be so much healthier.

And a healthy church is a church that can help other people get healthier.

4. Ranking Sin Selectively

Christians have become fairly good at focusing on the moral failings of others while ignoring their own.

We pretend that the worst sin you can commit is sexual. And—don’t get me wrong—sexual sin has serious implications.

But so does gossip. And divisiveness. And quarrelling—sins Christians routinely ignore. Mostly because we commit them.

I would suggest that just as many congregations have been ruined by gossip, divisiveness and quarrelling as have been stained by sexual sin. But you’d never know it given the way we talk about sin.

I’m all for surrendering our sexuality to Christ. But I’m also all for submitting our propensity to gossip, our divisiveness and our quarrelling to Jesus and dealing with that seriously.

Imagine what the church might look like if that happened.

And we haven’t even touched gossip, gluttony or envy yet, all things with which Christians routinely self-medicate their pain.

Maybe if Christians humbly confessed their sins first, the world would be more likely to come to terms with their sins.

So here’s an idea. Instead of pretending someone else’s sin is worse than your sin, confess your sin.

You’ll be in such a better place if you do that. And so will they.

You might actually be able to help them.

5. Judging Outsiders

This is a pet peeve of mine.

As I outlined here, we in the modern church have largely ignored Paul’s injunction to stop judging non-Christians.  Even Jesus said he didn’t come into the world to judge it, but to save it.

I completely get the urge to judge our neighbours and even the world. Things bother me too.

But I have to refrain. Our faith in Christ demands it.

Before ministry, I was a lawyer. In first year law, I remember having a crisis because I couldn’t imagine representing a client I believed might be guilty.

I stayed after class one day to talk to my criminal law professor about it. He assured me of a few things. First, if your client tells you he’s guilty, you can’t ethically enter a non-guilty plea.

That made me feel better.

But then he told me that almost every client says they’re not guilty.

I got nervous again.

“Well what if you think he’s guilty but he says he’s not…doesn’t that put you in a horrible bind?”

I’ll never forget his answer.

“You’re confusing you’re role, Carey. You’re not the judge. You’re his lawyer. Your job is —ethically, morally and legally—to give him the best day he can possibly have in court. The judge will decide whether he’s guilty or not.”

I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

So…Christians, the world has a judge. And it’s not you.

He’s fairer than you. More just than you. More perfect than you. And far more accurate.

In the meantime, do your best to help reconcile your brothers and sister in the world to their heavenly father through Christ. That’s your job.

Take some comfort in that. And for all these reasons and more, stop judging.

How to Have the Critical Conversations You Need To Have

Did you know that 9 out of 10 churches don’t grow? Are you one of them?

You likely didn’t get into ministry to watch your church plateau or, worse yet, decline. You wanted God to use you to reach new people with the good news. You wanted to see your church grow. You wanted to make an impact on your community that would outlast you.

But the odds are, it’s not happening. And the thing is, you’re not alone. We live in an era where 94% of churches aren’t growing or aren’t growing as fast as their communities. Barely 1 out of 20 churches are effectively reaching their neighbors for Jesus. Despite how desperately our communities need to hear and engage with the good news about Jesus, many churches are lost when it comes to reaching a postmodern culture.

That’s why I put together the Church Growth Masterclass. It’s everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.

I don’t believe you and I can make a church grow. Only God can do that. But you can position your church to grow. You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. That’s what I’ll help you do in the Church Growth Masterclass.

In the Church Growth Masterclass I’ll show you:

  • The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
  • How to have the conversations you need to have to jump-start traction
  • Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
  • How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
  • The five keys to your church better impacting millennials.
  • What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change

You can learn more and gain instant access to the course today.


What Else?

Any other self-defeating, stupid things you wish we’d stop doing in the church?

I’d love to hear from you. Scroll down and leave a comment.


  1. laraine on May 17, 2019 at 3:07 am

    This kind of work is for keeps. Amazing and very detailed. The topic is explained very well. Randomly speaking, are you looking for a wholesale products to sell from home</a Feel free to visit our website. Thank you and God bless!

  2. Joni on April 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Wow! Yes to all of this. These are all things that have bugged me for awhile, but I’ve never been able to clarify my frustrations. Thank you for a great article. “Christians, let’s just stop being so weird online, okay?” Love it! 🙂

  3. Jane on April 10, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    All that needs to be said is…. I saw no scripture references to any thing YOU said. READ YOUR BIBLE , give me Gods words from the Bible and you might just have something . But I doubt YOU CAN DO THAT !!!! God said it …that settles it !!! Wether you believe it or not, doesn’t matter!!

    • Zed on April 15, 2019 at 2:38 am

      Oddly judgemental soul, you are. Didn’t know you spoke for God, Jane.

      • Melanie nations on April 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        Share your broken self story with others and let others know we are who god truly uses, not the perfect. Preachers don’t seem to get that one where I live!! I am a missionary for addicts, prisoners and homeless!! I love to help everyone and have fun doing it

    • Stanley Dove on April 22, 2019 at 1:43 am

      I agree with this comment. No Scriptures given. This lacks validity. Please shut up, until you can give Scriptures to back up every point made. 1 Pet 3:15-16

    • Tony on April 23, 2019 at 9:05 am

      So funny, yes all you posted is true. Lol I speak of the main post about Christians. The problem is, you. Are doing exactly what you said us Christian should not do either. Sorry, maybe I am just a genius or something. But it’s so simple to read into. I am not trying to be right. I just don’t see how the pot calling the kettle black ( truth is I know I ain’t know genius. I actually don’t remember this analogy, lol, which makes your situation worse cause even I can see your hypocracy) or let’s say we are ‘ all’ two peas in a pod’, lol… the fact is that unless you build up the church, in the spiritual conspiracy we live in, whether you acknowledge it or not, you are either a satanic minion for Satan or a person trying your darness to try to help the churches goal of freeing the crimanaly insane followers of a band of demons out to destroy the church and Gods own child and purpose. Here is a scripture. In the Bible, there was a Jewish leader who gave a logical answer to the Jews as they tried to condem Jesus. He said, be careful in your efforts to fix things that you don’t find yourself fighting against God Himself! That would certainly be ignorant! Wouldn’t you say? Did You know that God put the government in place so that the church would be kept separate? Wait wait wait, I know you said that. The problem is, when you attack the church and say what you said, wow, hope your not a woman, cause you have big ba..s! To think you have the right to say such things of Gods elected? Lol, wow. I hope that you find a good priest or pastor. I hope you learn that you only have to repent once and you dont get a hold of some logical person that will make logic of your destruction and that for every person you seperate from God mission and push them into Satan army of conspirators ( of which I think I can safely call you a recruiter, cause anyone that was on the dense of God and Satan ( Satan owns the fence) so if they had a single strand keeeping them in Gods government of the church, you probably comvinced them that you are right and the hell with such a messed up system?!! Cause the way that you put it should have read, though we Christian are weak and defeated in many areas, keep true to God and His wisdom and mercy shall see You thru and teach you and help you. Put up the good fight of faith and victory is sure… not your version, just quit. Your writes, biting off more that you can chew, have no sense, Your a hypocrit, just like us messed up fools, so why even try, it’s obviously not working, come with us, we can teach you how to logicaly find God. It’s all about coots and intellect and just being normal. Follow us, we know the real way. Church!!Godssystem, lol. Just look at the results. It’s all over the internet media. It a joke. We know best. Just follow your heart. Follow your own mind and decisions. Trust me you will be better this way. Here, take a bite of the apple. You will really know the truth if you do. Me and my friends know a lot and we can teach you.
      You probably don’t call it church. You probably call it, the truth and logical normal way. In the times of Christ, the Christian church teaching where called, The Way’, it’s all about the way you go. But when you take God’s way of get His Word out and replace it with a few better ways to make His way work better, just don’t stand next to me in a lighting and thunder storm. Cause if you convince several people to see God church in any of the five ways you describe and they left, lol, that’s not help. That’s called spiritual suicide assistance…!!!!! Even I was saying, hmm.,, am I saying anything that can hurt this person? I am not here to judge you . This is a warning. Don’t be scared of demons try to tell You karma will hurt you for such evil, if you ever figure out what you might have accomplished here. Cause either you killed the last hope of a believer to hope in Gods church to help them or you just made those who understood you even more like the devil too. But I assure you, no one felt like that even if they do feel and do these things they will come closer to God because of this. I am tired of writing. Bye bye. And please remember, even hitler could have been forgiven if he would have said, sorry God. It’s that simple so don’t worry about the karma monster. Just another of satans lies and tricks to put u into chains

      • Jack Jackson on April 23, 2019 at 10:28 pm

        God bless you Tony! I wish more of us would take a firm stand for Christ. Too many people try to be coy, or “politically correct.” You tell it just as it is. Thank you. Jack

      • Thomas on May 8, 2019 at 11:29 am

        I do not believe the man who posted this article intended to judge the church. He may not have left scriptural quotes by all his ideas. However for those who were so quick to judge him and blast his ideas proves the ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing that Jesus warned us of. Paul also warned us of contentions and strife amidst the church. Many prophets and martyrs went out just the way this man may have if it had not been by God’s grace to appear on this blog. For helpful ideas many have been imprisoned or murdered. The man who posted these ideas of hopeful helpful insight I do not know, nor his intentions. My first take was mixed. I though wow he covered a lot of topics that the church struggles with. Then I though, wow he has some judgementalness too. However we are all human and I see no toxic intent in anything he posted. We have been warned by the good Lord to not let the ministry be at fault or I’ll spoken of. Any who know scripture would understand the keypoints that this man is trying to express. He is simply urging us to be more like Jesus. Many of you jumped to shameful conclusions and chose to bash this man instead of taking it as helpful criticism. Some of the responses reminded me of the High Priest Ciaphas and his cronies. Examine yourselves that you may be approved. If anyone would post the malignant responses left with Jesus to your side or over your shoulder while doing so, may not have the right Jesus with them. Jesus walked caring and compassionately. He was gentle…not barbaric, jumping down throats or keyboards. The fact of so many hate filled responses proves the man who posted this subject hit home and the responses are out of rage and guilt as well as possible self-loathing. A few thousand years ago it may have been these repliers who held the spikes, hammers, and scourge in their hands. We ought not judge one another. We should take critique with humbleness and openness. We should seek guidance and pray for direction. Christ is not belligerent so none who say He is their Lord should be either. If we read our Bible’s we would have known what the man was driving at. I do not know a lot not am I highly educated but I do read my Bible and pay attention as Jesus tells us to. How can we as followers of Christ change things and make a difference in the world around us that we are not of but sent into if we are no different from it.

    • Piegee on May 12, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      You becoming a judge now🤔

  4. Anonymous on February 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    When you say that Christians shouldn’t be in politics, here is what I have to say, and it is as simple as this… as Christians, we are called to participate in Politics and things that associate with this (government, politics, legal stuff etc…)

    • Shawn on February 20, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      One reason sexual sins are singled out is because homosexuality is a lifestyle, fornication is a lifestyle, adultery is a lifestyle, all accepted by those committing those same offenses. I don’t wake every day and decide, I think I’ll lie to someone today…or, I think I’ll covet my neighbors house today.. or, I think I’m gonna kill someone today.

      Sure, we all slip up from time to time, but God knows who really slipped up and who didn’t. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 outlines those who will NOT inherit the Kingdom of Heave. Now, if I’m speaking God’s word to someone about something they’re doing wrong, that is not me judging, but God’s word. Regardless, if I can lead someone to the cross by telling them that what they’re doing doesn’t line up with God’s word, then Praise God! And lastly, Christians need to be involved with politics. Separation of Church and State is a worldly government standard, but if you look back in the Old Testament, you’ll see that Israel was Blessed when they had a God-fearing leader.

      • Stanley Dove on April 22, 2019 at 2:08 am

        This comment is true, but as a caveat to this, Israel were in fact the actual Grand Children of Jaxob. There wasn’t a Church. There is a people. Jesus the Christ the matchless Lamb was sent to “His” people, Jacobs Children of the flesh. In the flesh they had the “standard” that TMH gave to only them. It’s time to get back to His standard..Most of the crap on this site, deals with the traditions of men. ( opinionated bull crap) TMh has left Scriptures, to back up what I’m saying.
        All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim 3:16-17

  5. Gail on February 5, 2019 at 1:06 am


  6. C. on January 29, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Carey Nieuwhof, You say in the Heading what the Church” needs to stop doing, but every numbered point you talk about you mention individual persons who are doing the things that should stop. Not once did you site ‘The Church” as a whole.

    I think a more accurate title to your dissertation should be “What people, who claim to be Christian, Should Stop Doing.”

    I think “The Church” needs to be everywhere people are, to proclaim the good news. So as for the internet or the media, that is where the people are, so too “The Church”. Why even you are on the internet!

  7. pilgarlic on December 28, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Stop your hierarchy wearing funny and expensive clothing and hats as a power play and personal vanity. It’s got nothing to do with your charter.

  8. Cheryl Gray on December 18, 2018 at 6:36 am

    I firmly believe that many times if a person feels judged by a Christian, it’s because they’re projecting. For example the outsider might say things like:

    You’re a Christian and I’m not therefore you

    – think you’re better than me
    – must think I’m a bad person
    – have a right to point out all my sins
    – think it’s your responsibility to save me
    – think I’m going to hell even though I’m a good person and try to live a good life without hurting

    Ok, they don’t say it as stiffly as that, but you get my drift. It can be their own conscience and hangups that make them feel judged when they’re not.

    A real life (but not Christian) example of this projected or perceived judgment concerns alcohol. I drink maybe once a year, sometimes not even that much. If I’m out with friends or at a party, people who know I don’t drink will often try to encourage me to have one. Why? To make me feel part of the group? No, because I already do and am happy with my water or juice. Because if I’m drinking then I won’t silently be judging them? Yes, absolutely. My not drinking makes them believe I am judging and looking down on them. I’ve even been introduced to other people at the party, as “Beth this is Cheryl. She doesn’t drink either.”

    On the point of politics: You stated, “Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government,” and “Jesus and Paul spend surprisingly little time trying to influence the government.” So Churches should not try petition governments who are introducing abortion laws, amending them to allow full-term terminations, introduce euthinasia laws or assisted suicide laws? Churches shouldn’t get invovled in the protest against same sex marriage or lobby the government against the introduction of programs that sexualise students in our schools? Really? Does not God charge us to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? Proverbs 31 : 8-9 New International Version (NIV)

    8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
    9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    • Sharon Morgan on April 2, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Honesty, I do believe murder is something someone would think of for a really long time before he/she becomes a murderer .
      And how do we protest against this things by marching when it’s In your bible that it must come to pass. We can still encourage those we run into about the Bible references to such sins in order to save them but the Bible makes it clear that those things we see today are inevitable

    • Shay Banks on April 2, 2019 at 9:02 am

      And as a Christian, it’s his/her responsibility to preach to a non Christian hereby trying to save them(its Jesus who does the saving part)
      And of course a non Christian is going to hell even though he’s living a good, non sinful life. As far as he/she doesn’t accept christ, I’m sorry but the person is going to HELL

    • Jack Jackson on April 28, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Cheryl, you are wise, and you are right! According to the way I interpret God’s Word. We are NOT called to sit idly by and allow evil to run unchecked. Thank you, Jack

  9. DP on November 25, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Another stupid thing to stop doing: stop criticizing Christians for being human. Everyone is learning and on their own journey spiritually. If you are so tolerant, then BE tolerant and try to focus on their message or communication. I’ ve got news for you, the church IS political because it IS part of the world. If you vote for political candidates that uphold anti-Christian values, then you are a hypocrite essentially. The world does not come in compartmentalized political, cultural and religious boxes to be neatly stored away and ignored depending on where you are. Being a conservative Christian, I would not want to be led by a progressive/liberal pastor as our values on many levels would clash. I see nothing wrong with that either. Everyone is entitled to believe, worship and lead in the manner they choose.

  10. BRENDA GAL on November 16, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    i do not get close to any christians thaey are very ignorant and uneducations nit wits !

    • Rose on November 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Yes sometimes Christians CAN be ignorant and uneduacated, but thats doesnt mean we are perfect. We are just as like the world. We can try our best to be perfect but we never will. All we can really do is try to show god’s love as a example and show others the hope god has for us unlike perfect beings, as sinners.

      May god be with u . God bless.

    • William McGhee on January 21, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks for the transparency. So very appropriately put!

    • Queen on April 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Thus, the “thaey” and “uneducations” WOW! Now, that’s funny!

  11. Chidozie on July 22, 2018 at 7:26 am

    I am naturally a very critical person and I have been trying to work on that. I feel the nudge of God’s Holy Spirit to change and adopt a more mature Christian character in that regard. So when I read this article, it really ministered to me. I have also read all the discussion with keen interest and I admire the maturity of all participants regardless of widely divergent views. However, I would like to highlight a number of points.

    1. The Old Testament which constitutes more than one third of the entire Bible was about sin, warnings and judgement versus righteousness (by the law), repentance and mercy. Most of the prophets were sent with specific damning messages for individuals and the nation of Israel. Elijah was so vocal in condemning the activities of Ahab and Jezebel that he almost lost his life. I am aware that the circumstances are exactly the same now as then, but God has not changed.
    2. The Lord Jesus dedicated one of his longest sermons to the denunciation of the Pharisees. If a pastor preached that message today, he would be labelled seditious and unchristian.
    3. The great Apostle Paul exhibited a measure of critical and controversial tendencies as evidenced by his epistles. He quarreled with Barnabas, scolded Peter openly and even went ahead to include the incidence in his Epistle to the Galatians, denounced the cretians in his Epistle to Titus (the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow belies – Titus 1:12) and many other such instances.
    4. The world critizes the church sometimes rightly but most times wrongly. The world wants the church to change but is not willing to change itself. The worst mistake the body of Christ can make is to hope for the world’s acceptance. Our Lord Jesus was not accepted by the world and he warned his followers not to expect the world to love them – “If the world hate you, yea know that it hated me before it hated you” – John 15:18. There is somebody in the world (Satan) who cannot reconcile with the ONE in us, hence the never-ending conflict. We are not sent to be united with the world, but to win them over, not with enticing words of men’s wisdom but by the power of the gospel faithfully delivered.
    5. God has made each of us unique and we are to submit our individual characteristics to God (the great porter) for his moulding and glorious use. God used confrontational Elijah, “insurbodinate” Mordecai, weeping Jeremiah, calculative Daniel, impulsive Peter, amiable John, cynical Paul, etc to accomplish His divine purpose. While some people feel it’s their duty to beat everybody into God’s plummet, others feel that they can only use their example to point others to Christ – everyone according to his own gift and calling.
    6. I believe that it’s not proper for godly men and women to look the other way while their countries are burning. To watch the future of a whole generation being obliterated and feel no urge to cry out or do something mitigative is baffling. The books of Jeremiah and Lamentation were dedicated to satyrical and bitter outbursts of a concerned citizen and messenger. Jeremiah was hated and conspired against by the king and his princes. The principle hasn’t changed, neither has the devil.
    6. Having said all these, I believe that the only way to save our generation and safeguard posterity is by faithfully living rigtheouly and actively preaching / teaching the WORD. Who knows, the Lord might leave behind a peace offering.

  12. Don on July 11, 2018 at 11:08 am

    #4 has been a big one for me for a long time. I’m always amazed at and amused by Christians who vehemently reject the use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. And yet they are obese. Gluttony is an enormous one ignored by the church in general.

  13. Helmut on July 1, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Sometimes people confuse judging with constructive feedback. In what spirit has the feedback been given should determine if it was judgmental or genuine concern.

    • DP on November 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Sometimes people do not want to hear the truth. There is an old Spanish saying, ‘those that speak the truth, speak to themselves’. It is wrong for the church to bend to the world’s ways and even Christ advised, ‘be in the world, but not OF the world’. Those that criticize Christians should look at themselves too, for signs of rejecting the Lord God, and rigidity in not being open to Christians who want to share the Word. If they are so tolerant, they should start acting like it.

  14. Dean on July 1, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Equating more bodies, bucks, buildings and busy-ness with church health.

    • Don on July 11, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Of course, unless the more bodies, bucks and buildings means more people are being introduced to, and then following, Jesus Christ. If that is the goal, then those things are huge positives, not stupid at all.

  15. Jan Nirri on June 30, 2018 at 8:24 am

    So appreciate this article Carey. Much needed. Some of these things I’ve had to work on a lot. What stands out to me the most is pride and arrogance which really plays into all five things you mentioned. I’m just as guilty, though improving by God’s grace. Information can be helpful, but can also be another form of power we hold over others. If we truly want to reach others and love them like Christ then we must understand where the person is coming from first… this speaks to relationship. This means loving others different from us, accepting them where they are in their journey to learn about Christ, and continuing to love them whether they ever come around to accepting Christ or not.

    I love what you said about not being the judge Carey. I taught my daughters this concept years ago… if one saw the other sister doing something dangerous they were to tell me about it and I would handle it, but their job was to love their sister. My job was to discipline behavior. They are best friends to this day.

    I saw a sign on a church one time: “As Christians, your job is to love everyone, I’ll sort them out when they get here! Love God”

    • DP on November 25, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      Christ also stated, if you see someone doing wrong, admonish them and attempt to restore them to righteousness; if they still refuse, have nothing to do with them, so you do not become involved in their corruption. I am sorry but discernment is very important and judging is not a bad thing. How else would anyone know to stay away from trouble and those that would bring chaos to your life? It is not just about love, but discernment, and helping others to know the way.
      Progressives and liberals believes in love only, with no admonishment from anyone because they want to be able to do whatever they want and be approved of for it…that really is not what Christ or God teaches us via scriptures.

      • Zed on April 15, 2019 at 2:41 am

        If God is to judge me, let them judge me — frankly spoken, your opinion of the matter doesn’t matter in the slightest.

  16. Jeff Lincoln on June 30, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Great article! I have one to add… stop making decisions based on how major donors will respond. Do what the Holy Spirit is leading you confirmed by scripture.

    • Kim Weiss on June 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm


  17. Dion on June 30, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Carey, boy did you nail it with this one, it so resonates with me. Thanks for sharing:

    “Christians, the world has a judge. And it’s not you. He’s fairer than you. More just than you. More perfect than you. And far more accurate. In the meantime, do your best to help reconcile your brothers and sister in the world to their heavenly father through Christ. That’s your job.”

    • Mike Holcomb on June 30, 2018 at 9:55 am

      Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:6 “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
      Just came across this post and, although I agree with most of what I’ve read, I feel I must remind everyone who claims to be a Christian that we are to act like a Christian. I’m a little sadden that today’s Christians have “caved” into the world’s standards. If things are going on in the world that are contrary to God’s Word, we are to be HIS mouth pieces. How can wrong be made right unless it is brought to the surface? How can darkness come to “light” unless it sees light? Jesus said we are to be the Salt and Light of the Earth.
      I know I’ll be attacked (by Christians without a backbone) when I speak out against such topics as abortion, standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, casting your lots before swine , etc… BUT IT NEEDS TO BE DONE! It is a dangerous thing not to speak out against evil. Sure, Jesus said in Matthew 7 to “judge not”, but He didn’t stop there. The very next thing He says is to first “remove the plank from your own eye and not be a hypocrite.” In other words… Judge clearly and righteously.
      How can a Christian ever be a police officer if they can’t judge? How can a Christian ever be on a jury if they can’t judge? Are Christians to be okay with heathens of the world to be the only ones to judge others? C’mon Christians… wake up and smell the evil!
      We are commanded to judge as long as it is done righteously and through love for others to “see the Light.”
      1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

      • Jeff Courter on June 30, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        Sorry, Mike, nothing in the entire Bible commands us to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Love of our country, if placed above love of God, is idolatry. In fact, God did not even command Israel to love their country – they were to love God. That was all.
        As far as judging, I think James sums it up well: “Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law, but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?” – James 4:11-12

    • Darryl on August 13, 2018 at 10:50 am

      1 Corinthians 6:2-6 (KJV)
      6:2 (KJV) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
      3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
      4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
      5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
      6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

    • M. Carol Clifton DeMott on October 24, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Amen. I pray every morning, every night. I no longer go to church. When my church started building a new church and has to have $100,000 for a cross on a wall. The true God would not approve. He would be just hoping people would be praying, helping others and celebrating life. I miss church but I can’t give to an organization that cry’s out for money At every twist and turn. You pay no taxes, own land all over the world, push political agenda on parish members. Enough! God is showing his wrath on us thru nature. He is angry because he brought us here. Pray my friends.

      • Helmut on October 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm

        Carol, your concern as to the extravagant cost for the cross may be justified. A number of factors will come into the equation as to the cost for same. The cost may appear extravagant, however to leave the church suggest a lack of maturity and stability. The church needs your voice of reasoning as how the finances are handled. I suggest that Carol go back to the church and be a positive influence to the pastor, church board, building committee and the congregation. As to the cross, I applaud the church for installing a cross on the wall. Some modern styled churches have removed the cross from their sanctuary and replaced it with dull, unimpressive background or a large screen where the cross used to be. The cross, to me, is a symbol of how much it cost for Christ to redeem me and show me His amazing love. I wish that modern styled services would once again sing the powerful song “The old rugged cross”.

      • Samuel Nangole on January 2, 2019 at 4:36 am

        Funny that you believe prayer is a substitute for Church. Please go back to church because the church is run by human beings. in heaven you will find the perfect church headed by Christ Himself.

    • Stanley Dove on April 22, 2019 at 2:30 am

      I’m so glad I read the Scriptures for myself. We are to “Judge”.The Scripture ask a question, ? 2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged “by you”, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Cor 6:2 You were saying??????? “PLEASE SHUT UP. If you want to reply “raise your hand. Give Verse with chapter , to make your point valid because, right now you look dumb.

  18. Peggy on April 28, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Hi pastor.
    3 years ago I was going to a church in ILL.
    For about 2 years.
    They celebrated Halloween.
    I knew it was wrong because we are light not Darkness.
    So I talked to the pastor the last year I was there, and I asked him if they were going to do Halloween at church again?
    He said yes, I got off the internet and I prayed.
    God told me to leave the church because of it, still I got back on the internet and I told the pastor did I was quitting the church.
    Because God was pulling me out.
    I really loved the people their and the former Pastor that was there the year before.
    I got back online and I told him I was quitting the church, he said “i have the authority to stop you” I said no God wants me out of it.
    He then came at me and told me ” I will amolish you before the whole church”
    I told him it’s an abominationto partake in Satan’s night.
    “He said it’s the only night to pass out tracks”
    I said no we have 364 days to do that, and we’re not to be in darkness or allow it in the church.
    “He said I was a Pharisee and into self righteousness”.
    I said I am obeying God on this.
    “He said I see no wrong in it”, I was going to say maybe that’s the problem you should see it through God’s eyes.
    But the Lord stopped me because I am not his judge.
    I am in a good church now that don’t do that nor Easter but they still do Christmas.
    That’s the pagan ways and we’re not to follow it.
    Like God says in Jeremiah 10:1_5 God warn them to not go in to that country and pick up their traditions like the tree, and nail it to word so it stands up straight as a palm tree and they Adorn it with silver and gold.
    He’s also showing even a tree can be an idle.
    So I stayed away for 2 months when they did that.
    They put a huge tree right by the cross, and them out door angels with big wings ugh.
    I can’t do pagan traditions at all.
    To God the are an abomination. 😞

    • theartist on July 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      I personally turn Halloween into a “Hallowed” eve. When children and parrents come to my door, I give out age appropriate Gospel Tracts inside ziplock bags of treats. I also give an Adult Tract to their parents. I have special Gospel Tracts (with treats)for the teens that come to my door. I have been doing this for over ten years. Halloween is one of the BEST ways to reach children. This is the only day where dozens of children can be reached to the glorry of God.

      I am not CELEBRATING Halloween. I believe, however, that the Lord is using me to
      “Turn Evil into Good.”

      So far, over 1,000 children has received the Gospel. I can’t wait to get to Glory to see how many children received Christ as Saviour (and prayerfully became Disciples) as a result.

      I turn on my lights and open my gate and the children see this as an invitation to ring my bell.
      I turn on my lights and open my gate and see this as an invitation for them to receive Christ.


      • theartist on July 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        I actually meant that
        This is the ONLY day where you can share Christ with dozens of children in your community-without leaving your home

  19. Diane Burke on April 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    I accidentally stumbled on this post and was so gratified. I agree with every word you said. I can absolutely guarantee that if there were more representatives of Christianity like yourself there would be more Christians.

    • Janice on June 30, 2018 at 8:52 am

      I agree that the church must stop accepting evil as good in order to not judge or protect feelings that may cause a non believer to leave. There is much in the world that has no affect on us but within the church: we have got to get it right according to scripture. For instance: there can not be “yoga” classes. Your emphasis may be prayer or meditation to the One true God and some stretching out exercises but the connotation is Eastern Religion. What fellowship does Satan have with God? You do not celebrate Easter you say. I sure hope you are celebrating, Resurrection Sunday! That is the single most important event that has happened in the entire history since God created man as far as impacting us as humans! Because Jesus gave His own life as payment for the sins of those who will receive Him AND HE rose again; we can be forgiven and be given eternal life with Him. Now that IS surely worth celebrating!!

      • Elizabeth Farah on November 23, 2018 at 12:49 am

        Actually, Messiah told us to “do this in remembrance of me” — he was referring to his death, not his resurrection. He asked us to keep Passover which is a feast of Yehovah. Don’t get me wrong, the resurrection is just as important but, Jesus said to keep the Passover and celebrate his death–so, why do we not obey His clear command? I believe it is because tradition in the body is often more important than the Scripture and the commands of God and also, tradition is taught as the commands of God. Christians often have a “light-bulb” moment when they realize that they are keeping traditions as commands–at this point, we are set free. Traditions are fine as long as they do not pretend to be commands, do not distract or point away from true commands of God. Leaders of the Catholic church came up with a calculation for the timing of Easter. Ever notice how much it moves around? Why? Because it is intended to NEVER land on the day that the Lord really requires us to commemorated–Passover. The spirit behind this should raise red flags in anyone walking in the Spirit. How much did they have to hate the Jews to reject God’s instruction and make sure that no one would even accidentally keep the commandment to keep Passover.

  20. Pastor Randy Ross on February 22, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for your excellent thoughts. I so agree with your commentary. I think balance is the key. We do look like an angry lot at times (as do all segments of our society). We certainly have the right as citizens of this great nation to comment politically on the affairs that affect us, without fear. But, we have a higher calling and a citizenship that is greater and eternal. That is what we need to keep in mind when we present our ideas to a world that may not understand our perspective and has preconceived ideas about our dearly held truths. First and foremost , as His representatives, it is His reputation and honor that we must protect as we make our declarations. We write with anonymity online. If we wouldn’t say it lovingly to someone face to face maybe we shouldn’t say it at all. Keep up the good work.

    • Kenny Falco on March 30, 2018 at 7:44 am


    • theartist on July 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      In the State of Illinois, I a personally fighting two bills: Illinois Senate Bill 3249 and Illinois House Bill 5996. But as a Christian-I am the Citizen of two worlds.

      Is it not my duty to protest the fact
      (and as a grandmother of four) that our Politicans are attempting to vote in a policy “cirriculum” requiring every child in the state of Illinois to “become proficient in LGBTQ history or NOT graduate from the eight grade” unto they do so.

      I firmly belive that as more Christian become visible and more vocal in the public square -from the Local school Councils, to Precint Captains and beyond-that laws like these cannot be slipped under the rug-but challenged OPENLY AND UNASHAMEDLY.

      I cannot “change” the Government, but “The prayers of the righteous” can certainly alter the course of government.

      “Goverments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief.”

      (Retiring Supreme Court Judge Anthony Kennedy).
      And this quote is from a pro-LGBTQ Supreme Court Justice

      Thanks Carey!!

  21. George Henderson on January 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Regarding the author’s statement “When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government.”, I would caution that there is an error here in the perception of what is the church, namely he is confusing the pastoral pulpit with the church and its message. The church is the totality of all Christians and all that they say and do, and our business is not “church” at all, but being salt and light in the world. Church meetings are merely preparation for that business, and the church and church meetings are not at all the same thing! Christians occupy many roles in society, and all of us in America occupy the role of being a citizen of this country. For this reason we pay taxes, vote, and respond to being drafted into the military. But the author’s same logic, one could argue that Christians should not raise children “because the church’s job is the Gospel, not raising children”. But it is certainly the job of Christian PARENTS to raise children. Again, church meetings and the church are not the same thing, and I find that many of our churches get so wrapped up doing their own thing that they lose sight of that, then then next thing you know they’re forgetting that Christians have responsibilities out in society as per role, and glorify God from those roles, with their unique access, powers, and restraints.

  22. Rema on January 23, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    One problem is that many Christians are in it to feel good about themselves. They learn about Christ, get baptized, and then -poof! You never see them except on Sundays or Church outings. It’s very important to keep studying not just what happened during Christ’s life, but also after.
    Paul’s letters to the gentile churches are very helpful/insightful in living the rest of your life being right with God.
    I didn’t even realize I was being a horrible, self-righteous, ‘do-no-wrong’ Christian until I followed up my studies years after I was baptized.

    • Charles on January 8, 2019 at 11:54 pm

      What is said here is true.When you get baptized so many things can happen.I have testimony on that.I was Baptized on 2nd September 2018.Unfortunately,after baptism,my wife got angry and for that,she decided to leave me.After baptism,I am living alone.It is very difficult to be a christian,after accepting Jesus as your savior,you harvest divorce and everlasting stress.The only solution to keep on living with my wife is to give up on Jesus.I mean to leave the Church wich baptized in the water.

  23. […] And often we shoot ourselves in the foot, with everything from Pharisee-like self-righteousness to downright stupid things Christians do (here are 5). […]

  24. Angelo Wenceslaus on November 23, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Christians anđ and muslims are generally people who have been taught from their childhood (like I was) to not use common sense, and to not think rationally/logically by the church. The reason is purely to prevent them from realizing that God is myth. Nevertheless, Atheists, Christians or Muslims, we all err. The Church can help by helping science eliminate the genes that are responsible for our jealousy and greed.
    But even if it was possible, would they?

  25. Angelo Wenceslaus on November 23, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Christians and muslims are generally people who have been taught from their childhood (like I was) to not use common sense, and to not think rationally/logically by the church. The reason is purely to prevent them from realizing that God is myth. Nevertheless, Atheists, Christians or Muslims, we all err. The Church can help by helping science eliminate the genes that are responsible for our jealousy and greed.
    But even if it was possible, would they?

  26. Bruce on October 9, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Christians should stop lying …they talk about forgiveness, being non-judgemental…yet that’s what they continue to do. They say ” I’ll call you this week” the call never comes … let’s get together sometime… what’s the definition of sometime? I wish they would stop lying… giving false hope, false love and false care… why don’t they just say they are not interested in anyone who isn’t like them.. that they don’t want to hang out with you… why don’t they just tell you their lives are busy and they dont have room for anyone new … esp those who are hurting… why don’t they just say their homes are closed to not-yet-believers instead of lying saying come visit sometime. I’m tired of being lied to… please just stop.

    • Maria on March 4, 2018 at 5:22 am

      Thanks Bruce, that is a timely reminder and I’m sorry if you have had Christians do that to you, unfortunately we are very fallible and don’t always reflect Jesus like we should. 🙁

  27. Patty Reamy on June 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

    My husband is an armor bearer and one thing we both see is when the same few established church members will consume the pastor’s time following the service. Every. Week. They need to make an appointment to see him or invite them out to lunch. The time after service needs to be when the pastor can greet visitors.

  28. Esther on June 25, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Yes. Yes! YES!!!
    I hope a lot of people read this and truly consider the points you make.
    Thank you!

  29. Lorraine on June 25, 2017 at 5:37 am

    I would add, get to know people as people instead of assuming you know what they believe. I came from a slightly different religion and I cannot count the number of mainstream and evangelical Christians who have spoke about my former religion, claiming to know what they believe. Most of them were wrong. Some spoke of things only a few believe, others were flat out wrong. I accepted Christ but had a hard time with many Christians because they didn’t bother to ask me what I believed. I was a project for conversion instead of a person worth getting to know. Jesus didn’t force anyone to be a Christian or follow his teachings. He allowed them the free will to choose. He offered love to those outside his religion. That’s the guy I am following.

  30. Jack Dinkmeyer on June 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    My view {take it or leave it}:

    1) Stop using religion as a club, pounding what are often bizarre, kindergarten beliefs into our heads–the rest of us don’t give a damn about what you believe or don’t believe;

    2) When you ask Jesus what to do, you are making him the fall guy for your refusal to take responsibility for yourself–plus, if his “advice” goes wrong, you have someone to blame.

    3) Throughout history more evil has been inflicted on mankind in the name of religion than all the pestilences, natural disasters, and wars–combined.

    4) If churches continue substituting politics over religion so loudly and enthusiastically–it’s time to tax everything religious.

    • Lance on July 3, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      1) It is funny how people who are so opinionated about Christians want Christians not to have an opinion.
      2) True Christianity calls people to do the right thing and suffer for it, so it is not about who is to blame.
      3) Actually more people have died from atheism almost 400 million according to Wikipedia. Communism purposed to do away with all who did not believe like them. Far more than any religious people.
      4) I don’t believe politics belongs in the pulpit, but that said, please see #1. When the government reimburses the church for the cost of our youth and social programs then they can tax what is left over. Ever heard of United Way a secular group? Less than 50% actually goes to the intended charity? Their CEO makes $1,236,611.00 do they pay taxes on all that comes in?

  31. Sarah Barnes on June 3, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Excellent piece. These are definitely the problems I have with the many of the people I know who profess their Christianity to me. I find the first one to be very annoying. I am so frustrated by people who feel the need to hit me over the head with their religion every day on Facebook. I always question those who say “God has answered my prayers” when things turn out the way they want it to. God has also answered your prayers when you didn’t get into the university of your choice, or your sister has had a relapse of her cancer or your Father has died. He just didn’t give you the answer you were seeking.

  32. Jon Perrin on March 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Great article, Carey! If we would engage church outsiders with the goodness of God rather than judgment, more of them would be interested in what we have to say.

    • Frank Hopkins on November 26, 2017 at 3:40 am

      I agree so much on the judgmental part. It’s too many times like a country club as was mentioned instead of a place for the wounded to seek shelter and love for the hurting.

      We should be all about serving and physically showing the love of Christ to our communities. And I really can’t stand it when someone says “I’ll pray for you”. Most of the time it doesn’t happen.

  33. diana on March 6, 2017 at 1:53 am

    In my experience most christians are decent people who love God and do their best.

  34. Paul Carter on March 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    A lot of good thoughts here Carey, well shared. Like you I share a concern for the overt politicization of the church – from both the right and the left of the spectrum. We tend to spot the over identification with politics when the church leans right, but we tend not to spot it when the church leans left. When your concern for ecology is more evident than your concern for evangelism you have been co-opted. I also like what you said about social media use. Social Media is the new public square – particularly in Canada when it is too cold to sit in the actual public square 5 months out of the year! Christians should be present with purpose without being “weird” as you say above. I love the rebuke of the “humble brag”. There is so much of that and there needs to be so much less. “So humbled to have won the pastor of the year or book of the month award” – ugh! No one says that in real life and you shouldn’t say it on line. There is nothing wrong with straight up rejoicing – “Hey everyone, I won the sales person of the year award! Wahoo!” That is real, human emotion – go with it rather than trying to cloak it in awkward “Christian-ish” sentiment. Also LOVED the distinction between judging outsiders versus insiders. This one is SO CLEAR in the New Testament. Paul said: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12–13 ESV) Hard to imagine how that could be clearer: practice discipline INSIDE the church, extend grace and mercy OUTSIDE the church. Why do we get that exactly wrong? Appreciate you pointing that out – we need to be reminded. I also appreciated the point about ranking sin. Some sins have greater personal and social costs – of that there can be no doubt – but all sins are significant and there is always the danger of giving our sins a past while we hammer away at the sins of “others”. Good reminder there too. Blessings.

    • M Shaughnessy on July 1, 2018 at 6:19 am

      Thanks for weighing in PC. Article is a good read with some practical application to biblical truth.

  35. Rob Adams on March 4, 2017 at 11:24 am

    1: In other words….be like the world. Don’t talk about God, because you’ll be labeled as one of those three

    2: Yes, we can talk about politics. Politics affect us all. Yes, God is non-partisan, but God does care about what goes on in our country and who’s in leadership.

    5: In other words….don’t call sin “sin” Be like the world. If I’m riding in a car with my friend and he’s driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone and I tell him to slow down because it’s illegal, that’s ok. If I tell my friend to stop cheating on his wife because it’s wrong….that’s judging. Hmmmmm

    • Sheryl Fulkerson on June 24, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      I agree with you, Rob Adams. We are to be “fruit inspectors.” “You will know them by their fruit.” Call it judging, but Jesus called sin, sin and didn’t sugar coat it to please the Pharisees. We are to love others, no matter what sin they are involved in. But to overlook it when giving someone the Gospel would be like a doctor failing to tell his dying patient, “You have cancer and unless something is done, you will die.” I don’t call that “judging.” I call it loving to tell someone the truth about the need for repentance.

  36. Mike Hassett on January 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    You’re right on with your piece! There are so many “Christians” (I was one of them once) who think that being a believer means hating the sin and the sinner, and are great at hitting people over the head with the Bible on hot button issues. Great to have someone like you to point this thing out!

    • Jo Phillips on June 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Pointing put that something is a sin is NOT hating people. When will people start to understand this little truth. It”s not rocket science.

  37. Thomas Holloway on January 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Love the lawyer and judge illustration. So true. It’s not our job to judge, but to lead people to Christ. The picture of God as judge and Jesus as our Advocate is one of my favorites in the Bible. There we stand condemned, but our Attorney not only defends us, but takes our place so that we can be pardoned. Love it! Love your blog and you podcast. Thank you for being a blessing to Christian leaders.

    • cynthia on January 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      I am sorry but you see that is this is another problem of Christians. you do not have a job. you do not need to “lead” people to anything. What you need to do is look to yourself and work to keep the values of your religion. People can access the information if they are interested. It is everywhere. Because then what is your interpretation of everything and the person should have the same views as you? Let them access all religions, you do not need to recruit like the army. If they wish to follow they will. No, keep to your own walk with whatever and do not lead anyone. Let them follow whatever they wish. You want to educate then educate all religions not just one.

      • Kenneth Mitchell on March 15, 2017 at 9:53 am

        Unfortunately Cynthia, you are incorrect about this. Jesus told us “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:23 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 and then Paul tells us “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Roman 10:14-15

        • cynthia on March 15, 2017 at 10:09 am

          LOL. You are quoting something written in a time when people did not know. OK, TRUST ME it is 2017.PEOPLE know! They can make their own decisions in this information supplied world!!. Stay in your little confined brainwashed system and let people discover what they want for themselves without condemnation, judgement, and bullying. Do you think that telling little children that if they do not behave they will go to hell is right? Scaring them to the point of having nightmares and peeing in the corner of their room because so scared is a good thing??? Strangers do not need to tell my children or anyone what to believe is right or wrong!! You know what there is a multitude of other thoughts in the world. SCIENCE FACT, we actually know since the bible was written. Don’t quote to me from something that has no relevance to today except as in how it tries to control morality.., lol

          • Ihcalam Sirrah on April 30, 2017 at 5:26 am

            So basically you are saying that you are not open to the Christian religion. It is part of the religion, to have faith in Christ is to be his messenger, his follower, that others may likewise follow to the kingdom of God. Christianity has no will to control morals of those who do not believe. We merely try to lead others to the path that is laid out in the bible, to give them a chance to think upon God’s message themselves, repent of and work with on what God speaks with them.

          • Polly on August 11, 2017 at 4:17 am

            Hey Cynthia, if you were that little girl in the corner, I’m really sorry someone did that to you!

  38. Stephanie Numan Scholman on January 15, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I wished I could quote this whole article when I shared it. Thank you! Things that needed to be said. I have gotten to know some atheist colleagues of mine recently, and I have to say, this all rings true. I have had some pretty challenging discussions with them, and I have learned a lot. I believe that sometimes God teaches us through people who are not part of our belief system. He used warring nations to show the Israelites the error of their ways, and I think it’s still possible that He does that even now. I have had my faith tested, challenged, to the point of questioning my own beliefs. I regret none of it, because in the process, I have learned so much about myself, and also about God. I learned about the extent that God will go to to prove His love to those who are searching for him. I learned that if we ask Him, He will prove Himself in inexplicable ways. I learned that my mission here on earth is to know God fully, and intimately, and that if I am to love others, I must learn to love myself. And to know how to do that, I must ask God to show me how He sees me, and not rely on what others say to, and about me. If God truly loves me, more than I can ever comprehend, then I am trying to prove Him wrong by not loving myself. The greatest commandment Jesus gave us was to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love my neighbour as myself. How can I love my neighbour if I don’t love myself?!?!
    To answer your question – What else do I wish the church would do, or stop doing? I wish that Christians would be more willing to explore different interpretations of scripture. Why are we so afraid of looking at what the Bible says from a slightly different angle? Do we always have to be right?! We do ourselves such a disservice when we are so dogmatic in our way of understanding. One thing that stood out in my recent discussions with my friends who reject God, is the fact that Christians are so quick to say no, and reject challenging questions. How is our faith to grow if we have a fixed mindset, rather than a growth mindset? How can we ever learn if we are not allowed to question what we believe? Atheists complain about how we “indoctrinate” our children. What that means to me is that we tell our children what to believe, and how to believe it, and we don’t allow them to think critically. Let them ask questions! And don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know. I will think about that some more.” or “I don’t know, let’s explore that together.” And this goes for having discussions with our peers as well. We need to explore the hard questions. Together. Life is hard. It’s not easy to explain why things are the way they are, or why the bible is so brutal. It’s not easy to explain the genocide we read about in the Old Testament. And frankly, it’s not easy to love each other! Love is beautiful, but it is also very ugly when we allow fear to cloud it. There is no fear in love (from 1 John). Fear and love are both irrational, and unreasonable. The two cannot coexist. Perfect love drives out fear. So don’t be afraid! Love. Love each other. Love those who hurt you. You’ll find that it changes your perspective.

  39. Eric McBride on March 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I followed a link here from a pastor at a church I used to attend. I say this not to be “that guy” but to share my perspective. I no longer believe in God. With that being said, you have hit on several key points that the atheist community uses to berate the “church”. I can’t personally say that #1 has been an issue with Christians I know, but the others are spot on. Well written article. If Christians truly want to grow the church they should take heed of what you have written.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Eric…thanks for the comment. Man, that’s heartbreaking. I’m sorry for your experience. Have you tried talking to the church you ended up leaving, or another one? I really hope your faith sparks again. I do.

      • Eric McBride on March 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

        I am sorry, I didn’t want that part of my statement to be paramount. I merely mentioned that for you to understand my perspective for the statement. I really wanted you to take away from this the fact that you addressed key problems with religion today. The issues with the church I attended were only a part of my change in belief. However, I will say this, with your level-headed way of thinking (at least by what I can tell), you are exactly what religion needs today. So once again I give you props!

        • ChuckAddison on March 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm

          Nice to see good people from opposing viewpoints having a logical discussion. Love it. And agreed, great article.

          • Eric McBride on March 10, 2016 at 10:44 pm

            Absolutely. At the end of the day we may not agree with what feel is true regarding religion, but that does not permit us to be disrespectful. In fact, once a month I meet with a group of Christians who sit around, have a beer, and talk about anything that comes to mind. We never get heated with each other. That’s what happens when people don’t act like jerks 🙂

  40. John Waldo on February 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Carey – Love the article and the reminders.
    I totally agree that we in the church stink at conflict resolution.

    One thing I’d like to suggest, however, is that we should consider NOT using Matthew 18 as “the” conflict resolution passage. While I’m not saying it can’t “guide” a conflict resolution discussion, Jesus is talking about when “someone sins against you.” Not all conflict is based in sin; sometimes people just disagree.

    There are other passages that speak to how to do conflict (“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths….”, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”…., “Be at peace with everyone. ..”

    Yes, we need to get better at resolving conflict in the church. And I think there are principles from Matthew 18 that can inform the process. But I think one reason we may do conflict poorly is because we’re not looking at other passages to guide the discussion. Just a thought. …

  41. william jason o'neal on February 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    A pastor blocked me on Facebook in 2012. His wife did as well. His wife’s sister however have dated random high profile sinners such as guys that want to be big time. I talked about wanting to sin but tried to hide those posts from him. He never even personally talked to me and knew I wanted to talk with him. They seem like they judge the people like me who struggle in life(no money, no job, no healthy eating) more than those that have those things like what I mentioned above. They may not outwardly judge but their facebook friendslist gives them away or who they simply associate with. I feel its not right.

  42. Suzan D Reed on February 6, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Maybe churches could stop trying to so “authentic” and just be churches. God is eternal, His love is eternal, the Bible is eternal, the message of Jesus dying for our sins is eternal, & the need for repentance is eternal. All of these things are eternal and unchanged. I am so sick of Dumbed down Common Core Christianity.

    • Jo Phillips on June 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Amen Suzanne, All the things you posted are the things that are authentic.

  43. Poodz on January 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

    WOW! Amazing article Carey! The lawyer and judge paragraph is so true.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks. PS. Love your Instagram pics. That’s you, right?

      • Poodz on February 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

        Haha I just saw this. Yes that’s me, thanks!

  44. Travis Stephens on January 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Hey Carey,
    You say stop judging outsiders and I totally agree, but what about judging insiders. I’m talking to a church that’s having trouble growing and from what I can tell they’re doing a lot of things right. However, they have a strict membership system which requires you to agree to be accountable to the church according to Matthew 18. If you refuse to repent you can no longer be a member. I have limited knowledge of churches who take church discipline this seriously, so I was hoping you could speak to this. Thanks.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Travis…that’s interesting. Without knowing the details, I’d saying judging insiders is quite biblical. I preferring discerning and helping believers, but there is the idea in Paul’s writing of holding each other accountable by ‘judging’ or discerning the hearts and lives of fellow believers in order to help them stay on the path toward Jesus. Outsiders is really off limits though!

  45. Garry Macintosh on January 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Some really great points Carey, I think the biggest problem by far in the modern church is practitioners whom attribute their worldly successes to God, via either
    blessings or the “anointing”. Let us not forget that long-suffering is a fruit of the spirit. Also, doing so is not only a form of boasting, but may push people away who are going through a rough time as they may feel like God is not with them, or wonder why they aren’t getting a piece of the blessing pie.

    Life can be hard and full of ups and downs. Performance based spirituality that seeks reward for service from God is contrary to the message of hope found in the Gospel. We should be utterly motivated to help others and make a difference out a deep and compelling love for people and God, not out of a desire to seek a particular status or anointing.

    • CASMIR on October 28, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Good one, Garry. They have made me to come to the deadly conlusion that if I’m not rich I’m ‘NOT BORN AGAIN ENOUHG’. But thank God who has helped me to stand firm in the midst of their intimidation. Your comment is reasuring to me. Thanks.

  46. Wesley on January 16, 2016 at 11:46 am

    the worst sin a church or “Christian” can commit is to misrepresent Christ and God. that is why God judge Israel so severely although the nations around them were involved in more debauchery then them. Christ told his followers that to whom much is given much is required.

  47. Jason on January 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    About a year ago, I started attending church with my girlfriend. I have never been much of a believer, and still consider myself to be “on the fence”. I don’t mind going to church though, because it’s important to her and I want to support that. But nearly every Sunday I find myself almost resenting certain things that our minister says. One day in particular, he delivered an entire sermon that was laced with subtly masogynistic comments. He was talking about (in a very old-world fashion) the role that a woman should strive for in a mans life. I’m almost 30, and this guy isn’t much older than me. To someone already a little weary of religion, it is certainly discouraging. Especially when I’m trying to be more open minded about faith. And I also think that, being in an influential leadership position, he should be a little more mindful of what he’s saying.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 3, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks for sharing this Jason. Missing the implications of our words on people like you is definitely something we should all pay attention to.

    • Peter Skov on January 16, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Jason. Thank you for your honesty. I know what I write will be a tough challenge, because your girlfriend probably has friends in her church, but I’d really encourage you to see if there could be other churches in the area that have a better way to explain things? I might be able to help with that. Write me on peter@skov.cc and I’ll see what I can find in your city 🙂

  48. John Miller on January 2, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Wow Carey! Thanks for writing this! I appreciate your input and hope that people will truly live confessing his or her own sin because its easy, even for me, to start thinking “I know who NEEDS to read this!” What if we live these principles and make it the culture of each of our local churches? I can only imagine a place where people can come to belong and set free rather than a place ether you need to meet certain requirements to belong. Thanks again Carey!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 2, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Thanks John…that’s so true. The look inward is always the toughest. Good for you!

  49. Krys VanSlyke (VS) on November 16, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Agreed. I would add ignoring/villainizing science.
    Much of Genesis is clearly poem and not to be taken literally. Insisting on a young earth makes it harder for others to take the rest of your case seriously.

    • RWilliams on January 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Would you say the same about the resurrection? Insisting on that is quite a claim. thoughts?

      • Krys VanSlyke (VS) on February 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm

        I guess since there is no body to point to, I’m a little less particular about arguing the physical evidence on that one 😉

    • Cheryl on February 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Krys, I don’t have any problem with people believing in the literal or the poetic jist of Genesis, why should you? Isn’t Protestantism great for promoting the individual relationship one has with our Creator? I don’t see one single comment here from a Christian criticizing scientists or their theories, but I did find your comment. What do you believe? Do you believe it enough to teach in love, mercy, and forgiveness? Then do that. If not, that’s okay too. Those values and beliefs are yours and Genesis is not clearly a poem to everyone. Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself. If you’ve got that as first goals, then whether some people take Genesis literally or figuratively will bother you a lot less 🙂

      • Krys VanSlyke (VS) on February 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        other people on the thread may not have been talking about this, but the article talks about things the church at large needs to stop doing. I encounter many people taking the literal genesis view (one many bible scholars would say is not consistent with how it would have been originally received). Further, many believers act as if to believe any differently is stupid.
        I’m ok with people believing it to be literal, but to impose that on others or act as if any other conclusion is unintelligent goes against the love, mercy and forgiveness of which you speak.

        • Cheryl on February 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm

          I agree Krys. But we can really only testify to our own experience. I don’t believe I’m called to go out and lash anyone’s beliefs out of them. My experience, however, in church, in Christian Society and in secular society is that it is the non-believers who are doing the lashing. If you’re in the deep south or maybe in some pockets of the US Bible Belt, that might be a common experience. In liberal British Columbia, however, in 34 years I have never once been accosted by or even heard of anyone trying to shove a literal translation of Genesis down my throat. I know, though, if I started talking about anything related to a christian belief system while out and about in the general public, I had better have a body guard. To think that, generally speaking, it is anything otherwise, means you likely don’t travel very much (that’s not in anyway meant as an insult – I don’t travel much, I just live in the middle of it). Discrimination as far as belief systems go is a very scary deal.

          • Krys VanSlyke (VS) on February 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

            Having been to BC, I agree that yes it is far from AZ in many ways.
            Though I’m sorry you misunderstood; I was speaking of the way (primarily evangelical) Christians communicate in their churches and online. I’ve not been questioned about my take on the origin of the universe in public either. 😉

        • Kenneth Mitchell on March 15, 2017 at 10:03 am

          Hello Krys, as a Christian I used to think this same way..But it is very important we understand the importance of the validity and history of Genesis, as being accurate or it would totally crumble the reason for salvation and all that Christ came to do and why! Just a thought..thanks

  50. Sara Bloom on September 19, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    All very nice but the church will never release its stranglehold on morality even though Jesus clearly states he doesn’t judge by what he sees or hears but with right judgement of what goes on within the hearts of men. The church will never let go of the ideology that it is God’s representative on Earth, as if he needs one, no matter how lousy it makes that representation appear.

  51. stevedawe on August 29, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Though the people of first century Palestine didn’t have a duty to vote for the emperor, and we do vote for our political leaders. God isn’t NDP, Conservative or Liberal, but my vote is still something I have to be faithful with, because it is a place where I have a partial role in the leadership of my country.

  52. Best Mom on August 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Wow, I found this totally inaccurate and non biblical especially historically biblical. God puts leaders in power. Mentioned numerous times in the old testament. Our laws are to be based on the ten commandments. Also, mentioned numerous times in the OT. In Jesus’s day Jewish law ( God’s law) ran the communities as they were being overtaken by the Romans. And even then as Jesus was fulfilling OT law and writings, He was actively changing hearts politically as were his disciples and followers. Their boldness to spread Jesus’s teachings to all including the current Jewish LAWS and political leaders is an example of how to live your faith. I respectfully believe that a Christian should walk the walk and talk the talk in every part of the world God gave us ….that is his final mission to us. That includes laes, politics, communitues, families and individuals.

  53. Gilchrist on August 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Another “Don’t judge” lesson. Discernment and the ability to guard against darkness is a key attribute of one of the greatest icons of a pastor, the Shepherd. It has become such a quick way to shut down communication, to simply cry out how Christians should not judge. Ignore the poor example being set, institutionalized or breaking apart the church, or thou shalt be judgmental. That is hardly following the examples set by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.

  54. Tammy Middleton on August 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I’ve read all the comments regarding #2, and maybe I am misunderstanding, but how I read what Carey is stating isn’t that we shouldn’t stand for issues, it is more that we should not be a mouthpiece for a specific political party or person. I believe (to paraphrase Reggie Joiner) if we are not careful, we will move our lampstand to illuminate something other than Christ. Carey, please correct me if I am wrong. 🙂

    • Kathie on September 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      I think it is more that we shouldn’t speak for God. Our understanding of what God/Jesus, would or wouldn’t do isn’t definitive. I think we can talk about issues and even discuss which party we think would be the greater one to vote for, but we shouldn’t equate our opinion with God’s opinion. Anyway, that’s my own humble opinion of what Carey was saying.

  55. bushrat49 on August 2, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I heartily disagree with #2. The church stood silently by in Germany during WWII and see where it got them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few that stood against the evils of the Third Reich. His book, “The Cost of Discipleship” is a reminder of what happens when the church ignores the political reality going on around it out of fear. Bonhoeffer was one man, who took a stand against the evil of his time, even unto death. Sadly, we have returned to those days, in our nation this time. I see nowhere in scripture where we are told to stand by and be silent as the unborn are murdered, or where homosexuals and transgendered people are dragging down a new generation of youth into their world of sexual confusion and pain. In what use to be the greatest nation on earth, a nation unique in the history of mankind, which offered people the hope of a better life, we have now created an environment where more and more are being dragged into and trapped in a life of poverty, instead of helping them to lift themselves up and out. Jesus called us to be “World Changers,” yes, through the Gospel which changes hearts and teaches love for one another. Yet, what do you do when you love someone? Do you stand by as they starve, or are beaten, or robbed? Is that what Jesus meant by “Love your neighbors?” Do we stand by as our nation is brought to it’s knees through an ever increasingly immoral government, and a society caught up in it’s own slowly boiling pot of selfishness, immorality, and apathy? No! May God never find me only concerned for my own well being, hiding behind lovely sounding platitudes that tickle the ears of men as we play our fiddles and watch Rome burn. Never! I will stand for freedom for my fellow man, and I will stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Each of you reading today, God has placed you here for a time such as this. And what we must ask ourselves is this, not what would this man or this church have us do, but what would Jesus Christ have us do. We may not like what we hear, but our discipleship has a cost. The question is, are we willing to pay the cost?

    • Sarah Cochran on May 31, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      As Christians we are not here to be a great nation and God is not only, if at all, ON OUR SIDE. We are here to love people into loving Jesus Christ, who never condemned a person for who they were, never talked about abortion, never discussed homosexuality and certainly never condemned one. Jesus is the one who welcome people as they were, forgave them and told them to sin no more. That is our call as well and yet I will always remain a sinner. One that is always seeking forgiveness and mercy and being grateful for receiving it. Just as all of us are called to do. I’m not called to judge you individually or anyone else and neither are you. Please stop. Thank you.

      • Sarah Cochran on May 31, 2016 at 9:09 pm

        As the author says, “When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.”

      • bushrat49 on May 31, 2016 at 10:21 pm

        The fact that Jesus did not directly speak to certain issues does not mean it was not important to Him, or He didn’t consider it a sin. His goal was in introducing the arrival of the kingdom of God, and teaching His disciples to carry on when He returned to heaven. He had to establish the teaching of the gospel during His short time on earth. And the rest was up to the disciples to write down through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and teach them everything they needed to know. They then wrote these things down so we would have the scriptures today. The Apostle Paul spoke clearly on the issue of homosexuality, and the principles guiding our lives in other areas are discussed at great length. And yes, believers are called to “judge” other believers. If you honestly seek the truth, then I would like to recommend this blog on judging according to the scriptures. Be sure to have your Bible handy as you read this blog. Always bathe the topic in prayer, and then check out what you read according to the scriptures.

    • Christina Maria on January 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you for saying this bushrat49. I agree 100 percent and would love to share your response.

    • Chidozie on July 19, 2018 at 4:44 am

      I am naturally a very critical person and I have been trying to work on that. I feel the nudge of God’s Holy Spirit to change and adopt a more mature Christian character in that regard. So when I read this article, it really ministered to me. I have also read all the discussion (up to this point) with keen interest and I admire the maturity of all participants regardless of widely divergent views. However, I would like to highlight a number of points.

      1. The Old Testament which constitutes more than one third of the entire Bible was about sin, warnings and judgement versus righteousness (by the law), repentance and mercy. Most of the prophets were sent with specific damning messages for individuals and the nation of Israel. Elijah was so vocal in condemning the activities of Ahab and Jezebel that he almost lost his life. I am aware that the circumstances are exactly the same now as then, but God has not changed.
      2. The Lord Jesus dedicated one of his longest sermons to the denunciation of the Pharisees. If a pastor preached that message today, he would be labelled seditious and unchristian.
      3. The great Apostle Paul exhibited a measure of critical and controversial tendencies as evidenced by his epistles. He quarreled with Barnabas, scolded Peter openly and even went ahead to include the incidence in his Epistle to the Galatians, denounced the cretians in his Epistle to Titus (the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow belies – Titus 1:12) and many other such instances.
      4. The world critizes the church sometimes rightly but most times wrongly. The world wants the church to change but is not willing to change itself. The worst mistake the body of Christ can make is to hope for the world’s acceptance. Our Lord Jesus was not accepted by the world and he warned his followers not to expect the world to love them – “If the world hate you, yea know that it hated me before it hated you” – John 15:18. There is somebody in the world (Satan) who cannot reconcile with the ONE in us, hence the never-ending conflict. We are not sent to be united with the world, but to win them over, not with enticing words of men’s wisdom but by the power of the gospel faithfully delivered.
      5. God has made each of us unique and we are to submit our individual characteristics to God (the great porter) for his moulding and glorious use. God used confrontational Elijah, “insurbodinate” Mordecai, weeping Jeremiah, calculative Daniel, impulsive Peter, amiable John, cynical Paul, etc to accomplish His divine purpose. While some people feel it’s their duty to beat everybody into God’s plummet, others feel that they can only use their example to point others to Christ – everyone according to his own gift and calling.
      6. I believe that it’s not proper for godly men and women to look the other way while their countries are burning. To watch the future of a whole generation being obliterated and feel no urge to cry out or do something mitigative is baffling. The books of Jeremiah and Lamentation were dedicated to satyrical and bitter outbursts of a concerned citizen and messenger. Jeremiah was hated and conspired against by the king and his princes. The principle hasn’t changed, neither has the devil.
      6. Having said all these, I believe that the only way to save our generation and safeguard posterity is by faithfully living rigtheouly and actively preaching / teaching the WORD. Who knows, the Lord might leave behind a peace offering.

  56. Pastor Hal on August 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I love your comments Carey. I just need some clarification.
    I know the command of Jesus is to love our enemies and those who persecute us. I get that and accept it. What do we do or say with regards to the abuses inflicted on the vulnerable in society? For example, unborn children are not only murdered now but their body parts are being sold by organizations like planned parenthood. The elderly can now be terminated by the will of others. Muslim believers praying in public at university while Christians are scolded for the same activity. Do we not have a role to play in defence of the defenceless as Jesus proclaimed? Finally, do you purport those involved in public unrepented sin continuing in church leadership and ministry positions? It seems to me that a leader is in more danger of censorship over proclamation of biblical truth in a non-politically correct way than he does for sinfulnbehaviour. Interested in your expanded views on these.

  57. John on July 27, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Carey, I read your stuff regularly and it’s been a proven benefit to me. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this article was a notch or two higher. Very well said.

    To those who disagree with #2 (politics): it really comes down to what we want to be known for. Sure, issues matter, but when people identify us with that message more than (or instead of) the message of the cross, we’re failing as Christians.

    • BILLY FALLING on July 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      John, we can do both.

      • John on July 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm

        . . . and now we’re proving point #1. 🙂 The fact is, if we were sitting face to face, in a conversation, we’d probably realize pretty quickly that we’re on the same page, or at close enough to walk together. The point that I’m making is that the world has heard so much of what we as Christians are against, rather that what we are for. Interestingly, you mentioned the civil rights issue, which is really more of a “for” rather than “against” expression of faith. That’s not what I’m talking about, nor do I believe it’s what Carey was thinking when he wrote #2. But that’s just my guess.

        • Ann Ciaccio on August 4, 2015 at 11:58 am

          I think that we hurt ourselves as Christians when we constantly state what we are against and critical of. We come across as judgemental snobs. We would make so much more progress if we stood up for what we are FOR in a positive, loving way.

  58. BILLY FALLING on July 27, 2015 at 9:27 am

    I disagree with #2. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let the African American Church in the U.S. out of the pew and into the street to get our government to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1968. That is the best example on my lifetime of the church getting involved in politics. The worse example is the inactivity of the church today that is surrendering our 394 year old Christian Consensus to an anti-Christian culture. You are wrong on 2. Billy Falling, age 75.

  59. […] 5 Stupid Things The Church Needs to Stop Doing to Make Progress […]

  60. Brett on July 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I agree with all wholeheartedly except # 2. Respectfully, I believe 1 stupid thing that Christians can do and have been doing is be apathetic or indifferent to the culture changing around us and not recognizing that politics plays a huge role in that. I’m not saying that you are apathetic but when you say that it’s stupid to stand up for the truth in our culture on social media I take issue with that and encouraging others to do the same is dangerous. With the downward trend in our culture over my lifetime (I’m in my 30’s), the silent majority so clearly needs to be a thing of the past unless we want to continue this spiral downward. I’m not saying rant with anger but being active and saying what you believe and who you support in politics is not something we need to shy away from anymore in my opinion. It’s come to that…

  61. Cheri Vislay on July 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    This is a great article. I especially love #5. It’s not our place to judge others. Let the Holy Spirit work in people’s hearts to convict sin. It’s what I say to my students, worry about your self. That’s enough to worry about.

  62. Reading List 07.20.15 | Adopted & Planted on July 20, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    […] 5 Stupid Things the Church Needs to Stop Doing to Make Progress by Carey Nieuwhof “Here are 5 things that, in my view, would help the mission of the church become more authentic and more effective if we could just stop doing them.” […]

  63. Samuel Rodriguez on July 20, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 21, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Once we’re in heaven we’ll be in a great position to do that.

  64. Single Mommas Struggle on July 18, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Treating single mothers and their kids as if they carry the stain of sin and must be treated while protected behind superior spirituality. Just because you managed to stay married does not mean you’re the perfect lamb for sacrifice, although I often find myself thinking you are just that.

  65. […] 5 Stupid Things The Church Needs To Stop Doing To Make Progress by Carey Nieuwhof […]

  66. Brandon on July 17, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Carey, thanks for the blog. I have gained some much needed insight as I follow your posts and appreciate your sincerity. As a pastor I have come to realize that over the course of several years I have grown to resent many in our church. The most significant reason (or excuse) has been their apathy and unfaithful attendance, especially during the summer months. While I have been so burdened to share the Word with truth and clarity, many have responded less than enthusiastically. In this post you discuss the burden of attempting to be both lawyer and judge. Thank you! To my shame, and almost unknowingly, I have judge our congregation. In acknowledging my own sin and in being reminded again of what precisely I am “called” to be of God (certainly not a judge) I have been greatly refreshed in my desire to patiently love people. He has, after all, patiently loved me. The task appointed to me is to boldly preach His Word. What others choose to do with it, or not to do, is not in my control. His Word does say that He must provide the increase……and, I faithfully trust in that! Thanks again. And may He bless you, your leadership, and His church which you have been appointed to lead.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 17, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Thank you Brandon. Really appreciate your comment. Means a ton!

  67. PRESTON on July 16, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Do you really believe that gluttony does equal damage to person as much as a sexual sin?

    • Tiffmichn on July 18, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Sin isn’t sin JUST because of the damage it does to others. Sin is sin because it separates us from God.

    • Dustin on July 19, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      In the spiritual health, yes. In the physical health, yes, in the long run, if you commit the sin for most meals.

  68. Jennifer Sweet on July 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    Matthew 22:37
    For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
    Matthew 12:34
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
    Romans 12:2
    If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
    John 15:1

    And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
    Matthew 11:6

    • Mike Rogers on July 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks for demonstrating #1. Nothing like quoting random scripture verses to straighten out a sinner.

  69. David Nelsen on July 16, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Try reading the Didache sometime. It’s a list of rules and sins the Apostles taught. Abortion and supporting it is one of them mentioned. Not everything taught by the Apostles made it into the Bible. It was assembled by man. More documents are kept by the Majesterium in Rome.

  70. Zachary Verbracken on July 16, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I would add that the church should stop expecting unchurched people to come in and immediately conform to their unspoken rules, traditions, and ways. Instead, the church needs to do a better job to meet people where they are. When we expect them to adapt our foreign Christian language, our beliefs, and our “rules” before they truly encounter the grace of Jesus and before they begin to belong in the church community, we are just setting ourselves up for failure.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Agreed Zachary. 🙂

      • VB501 on July 18, 2015 at 12:41 pm

        How should the Church address sin in believers? I totally get not judging those outside the Church? But how are we to deal with those inside the Church – even in our own families. So many young people- even those who have grown up in Church seem to have lost their moral compass. Among my 3 adult kids, only one of them has held to the moral teaching of the Bible. They all do what is “right in their own eyes”. A friend told me that a pastor at a local non-denom. Church in our city recently addressed the cohabitation of the young people in their Church and said that it needed to addressed and stated that it was not ok. I get it that they have seen divorce rampant in our culture and their own parents, separated and divorced. What does God want us to do? Embrace them and say that– hey, it’s all cool. I have kept silent, but I wonder if I am giving tacit approval to their lifestyle. My kids were raised in the Church and in a believing family. The “world” appears to be winning our kids. Even if they are “in” Church, they don’t want anyone telling them they are wrong and the concept of self denial seems to be have been lost. I grieve for my own sin and that of my children. Whatever happened to the virtues of self denial, obedience, repentance. My children who are living as in the “world” consider themselves believers, but they prefer to live according to what the world teaches rather than what God’s Word says. Can we have it both ways? I think not.

        • Chidozie on July 19, 2018 at 4:58 am

          I think not too!

      • VB501 on July 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

        I agree that it is not our place to “judge” nonbelievers, but what about immorality inside the Church? Many young people attending Church, raised in believing homes, consider themselves Christians, but do not want to observe a moral code that tells them they are wrong. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Most of them are cohabitating–a friend told me that an elder at her church is living with a woman who is not his wife and that her pastor is okay with it. My sister’s husband brought his girlfriend to their Methodist Sunday School class that they had attended together for ten years–while he was still married. Two people spoke up, but most said “Oh, well, they are at least in Church.” My sister left the Church, but her now ex is still there with his live in girlfriend. Is to be silent giving tacit approval?

        • Zachary H on July 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

          If they claim to be members of the church: I Corinthian 5:9-13. “9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
          reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

  71. Shiela Heather on July 15, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I can see the points, but with the church at risk, it is time to speak up. For so long,

    I’ve been afraid of offending… or being laughed at. I want to see the lost saved. Mission

    work has become more vocal and proactive. A peculiar people. Lifestyle evangelism is no

    longer as effective. Telling the truth out loud is. They say it takes seven times hearing

    the Gospel message of salvation before it begins to truly sink in and grow as a seed does.

    Yes, Christians are weird, angry, political, and sinful. Most honest Christians are the

    first to admit that. In fact, Christians often post on FB and other social media not as an

    act of evangelism, but for accountability, I know I do! I need my Christian brothers and

    sisters to be involved with me in prayer, in exhortation to me to others, to themselves.

    Maybe online posts that request prayer, offer scripture, criticize candidates and

    illuminate sin are JUST what America needs to stop the insanity that is ripping us all

    apart at the seams. The last thing we need is to come apart as a faith by pointing out our

    faults. I found this article to be incredibly judgmental (ironically.)

  72. […] 5 Stupid Things The Church Needs to Stop Doing to Make Progress […]

  73. Hawkeye on July 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I appreciate these reminders. Well said. However, I do disagree with some of your points in #2 “Commenting on Politics”. Whereas I don’t think we should be supporting one political party vs another in the name of Christendom, Christians do have an obligation to be salt and light to our world, even in the public square, in the public places and cultural spaces.

    I don’t get interested in politics so much (it’s too broad a term) but I am very interested in the development of public policy. Too many Christians have abdicated the opportunity to have their voice heard in the public square. I’m glad William Wilberforce didn’t heed the advice of his church-going friends who encouraged him to drop his fight to abolish slavery in England in the 1800’s.

    In today’s more “enlightened” culture Nobody would say that Wilberforce did a bad thing by helping to bring about the changes in public policy and legislation which ended institutionalized slavery in Britain. It was the right thing to do. Yet today many Christians still are advising others not to get involved in politics.

    I do caution that waving signs and shouting across the great divide of polarized ideologies is not the way to go about it. We can have a reasoned and civil debate about our concerns. Polite and respectful discourse is possible and we should seek to have fellowship with all people, even those with whom we disagree.

    I think the idea that we shouldn’t comment on politics because it inhibits church progress is an overly broad concept that needs a nuanced qualification. Such a prohibition neglects the truth that Christians can and should be positive influencers for the Kingdom whether we are commenting on art, poverty,the Maple Leafs or politics.

    In all things, even our comments on politics, let our speech be seasoned with grace.

    • VB501 on July 15, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Yes, we live in an evil age and although I understand that judging unbelievers is not our purview, standing up to evil in the culture is. I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act is to act.” The world is not going to love us for speaking truth. Peter said we were a peculiar people- so if I am weird, so be it. We cannot shame our brothers and sisters in Christ to silence them from speaking truth.” Remember Jesus said if the world hates us, to remember that it hated him first. Yes, we should seek to live in peace with all men. Not that we seek to be deliberately hostile or “toxic”, but if you speak the truth, they are going to hate you regardless of the intent. My teenage grandson has been struggling to find a group of friends. The youth group at his church doesn’t interest him too much–he doesn’t think they are cool. He has been stretching his wings in an attempt to “fit in” with a group of music people, and to his mother’s chagrin has been expressing some what she considers “socially liberal” views. Last night he came to her feeling lonely and depressed. He was rejected when he tried to join their FB music group–He said that at a recent gathering when some kids said they did not support gay marriage, the majority of the group lit into them calling them bigots and hatemongers. My grandson said the kids being attacked remained civil and polite. In an attempt to be diplomatic, my grandson spoke up and said “Well, everyone has a right to their personal opinion”, but did not side with either group. His friend request was rejected because they said he was passive in not rejecting those who did not support gay marriage, so he is out. So much for tolerance, huh?

  74. Judy Keech on July 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Wow! I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for your “real-ness” …much needed today. I really appreciate you, listen to your podcasts faithfully every Tuesday, and we discuss your blog and podcast content at our weekly staff meetings for the church we pastor. You help so many of us church leaders/pastors (pardon the bluntness) “grow a pair”. Kudos/Blessings!

  75. Denn Guptill on July 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks Carey, great stuff as usual.

  76. Sharon Tankersley on July 15, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Great points, all!

  77. Jevin Caras on July 14, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Love God, Love others, Reach the world.

  78. evilbusinessowner on July 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I agree with most of what you said, but I have to strongly disagree with the politics part. The anti-Christian movement has used politics the last 55 years to wage war on Christians and the Church. They have been successful in creating moral relativism and removing any vestige of the Christian Faith from public discourse. The writing is on the wall! Before long, the Church will be running for its proverbial life. It is time good Christians and the Church engage in the political arena or we will be meeting in basements at night! It’s time to speak up or sit down! I’m reminded of the words of Pastor Niemoller: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • evilbusinessowner on July 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men.” —Plato (429-347 BC)

  79. Charles on July 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    6. Counting heads and counting money… as a sign of God’s pleasure with us.
    7. Insisting that non-believers speak fluent Christian in order to have access to the gospel
    8. Swapping sheep and calling it “growth”.

  80. patrick mayer on July 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Carey, it is like you are reading my mind, except you articulate it better. You said it better than I ever could.

  81. Tom Snyder on July 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Great article.
    #6 Dethrone Constantine
    (See Church 3.0 or Pagan Christianity)

  82. Matthew Randles on July 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    When attempting to proselytize, and the person says, “no, thank you,” accept it as honest, and continue the conversation civilly, with the changed subject. The most effective preaching is living an example.

  83. Kyle Dunn on July 14, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Carey–you make great points; each worthy of a sermon or series of sermons. I frequently interpret those who are weird online or politically hostile as confused about what it means to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). They assume God needs defending or that non-Believers need to be corrected before they are converted. Thanks for the inspiration toward specific teaching topics for my church.

  84. Tami Miller Skinner on July 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Very well said !

  85. nomoredevil on July 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Reading the comments section. I keep telling myself I’ll stop, but every time I just get sucked back…

    …dang it.

  86. Timothy Fish on July 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

    If I had a lawyer who knew I was doing something illegal but he didn’t tell me because he “isn’t the judge,” I would fire the guy and find someone who would. You’re right, I’m not the Judge and I can’t send anyone to hell, but I wouldn’t be much of a Christian if I didn’t warn people that the Judge will send them to hell if they don’t repent.

    • George on July 14, 2015 at 10:55 am

      I think you missed his point. Go back and read that section with an un-biased eye.

      • Timothy Fish on July 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

        No, his point is clear, but his analogy is way off base.

    • Mark Nowakowski on July 14, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Not only missed the point but misunderstands “the Law”.

      • Timothy Fish on July 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

        How so?

    • shae on July 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Maybe introducing people to Jesus’ love would be more influential than introducing people to the wrath of God. Telling people they are wrong, first, isn’t usually a good start to change.

      • Timothy Fish on July 14, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        I don’t disagree, but there are many people that we wouldn’t encounter at all if they weren’t pushing their ungodly agenda on the Internet. There’s little opportunity to show love to these people, but if we are silent, the only message that is on the Internet is one that promotes unrighteousness.

      • ppRESTON on July 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm

        And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

  87. Glenn Z on July 13, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    I might have enjoyed this post, but it was too negative, cynical, churxhy, preachy and just plain weird. Sound familiar?

  88. Dave on July 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Reader boards. We should definitely get rid of those.

  89. Todd on July 13, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Congratulations, you have completely bought what they want you to do. Don’t say anything and just think we live in awesome town. People are trying to wake the zombies up and get people out of the Matrix because things are about to change pretty dramatically in the world. And most people will be completely caught off guard. I agree, don’t be weird about it. But truth is what sets the captive free. As a pastor I can tell you multitudes of people that were convicted by a post a bold Christian or man like Franklin Graham put up-so they came to church and wanted me to tell them more. Again, yes, don’t be weird, but my goodness don’t be silent either! We need more people to be out there fulfilling the Great Commisiion and the web and real world are both in major need of truth! Don’t be silent!

    • George on July 14, 2015 at 10:58 am

      I don’t see any calls to inaction here. Just a call to a more effective and scriptural type of action.

      And btw, in one man’s opinion, your reference to the “Matrix” comes across as lunacy. Might want to tone that down a bit.

      • Angela Smail on July 14, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        You made me lol with those last two sentences. Thank you.

    • Mark Nowakowski on July 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

      We often find that these “bold” leaders suffer from foot-in-mouth disease, many times doing far more harm than good. I am also struck by how many of the responses posted validate everything said within the article.

  90. Randolph Abrams on July 13, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Very good, especially the part about judging outsiders. However, I’ve also seen the judging of insiders. I’d be interested in seeing a post regarding the various ways people tend to judge others.

  91. Den Hussey on July 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Great post. The only thing I’d add is this…we need to stop arguing with other genuine Christ followers who happen to believe differently about non essential beliefs than we do. Arguing makes the church look foolish. And when I begin to believe that my beliefs about the gospel are the only ones that are correct, I’m on dangerous ground.

    Keep on posting! Your insights are truly helping this pastor lead better!

  92. Andy Racer on July 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Yea, the bulk of Church people have more characteristics of Pharisees. Evaluate the scope of Christ’s pro-test heart against the establishment and look at how that establishment acted in realms of taxes, wealth, boasting in values, and what you discover is a deep disturbing phenomena of masses of people today identical in giving lip service to Christ but displaying characteristics of those who shouted for Christ’s death.

  93. Greg Williams on July 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Outstanding piece, sir! One addition to the list, perhaps. The church should cease operating as a business, focusing with such intensity on raising money, offering insane salaries to minister staff teams, building larger and larger facilities, etc. and re-focus on the real purpose of the church. The direction my own church went on becoming a professional fund-raiser is what steered me to worshipping at home. Obviously, churches need money and many do a wonderful job of balancing the gospel with the financial realities these days. But many, including mine, have lost their grip on what makes a church a church. That’s my two cents.

    • Rob Warren on June 24, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      This truth, Greg Williams. Your point is spot on. Yet I I harday ever read in a pastors blog about not running g churches like a business.

      • BRENDA GAL on November 16, 2018 at 8:15 pm


        • DavidVC on December 14, 2018 at 12:15 am

          And if you really had the Holy Spirit yourself, you wouldn’t be using the language you are and condemning the entire Church as a whole. Even though the Corinthians had many problems arise in their Church due to the culture and area they lived in, the Apostle Paul never once said they were not Christians, or called them deceivers, or a cult. Also, you are going completely opposite of what Christians are admonished to do which is gather
          ‘Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.’
          You talk about the Holy Spirit, and it is quite obvious you don’t even know who He really is and you do not have a personal relationship with Him. If you did, you would have NEVER used such condemning, anti-Church, anti-believer, language. The Holy Spirit does not condemn other believers or the Church of Jesus Christ-He does not destroy or condemn His own body.
          You have a spirit, and it is not Holy. That is quite obvious by your comment. No one with the Holy Spirit uses filth like that-no one!

          • Jack Jackson on April 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm

            David – You are probably correct in your assessment of Brenda. I am not in a position to judge her status as a believer. I fear, however, that nothing you have said to her will encourage her to return to God’s church. She seems like someone who was once “found”, but now is “lost.” Her language is atrocious, but I’ve heard worse from others who call themselves brothers or sisters. Her comments reflect her pain and feelings of betrayal. They are forgivable because of Christ’s sacrifice. She seems to need someone who will LISTEN to her issues, give her a chance to air her anger, and help to guide her back to the cross. These are just my hunches. Brenda appears to need softness much more than condemnation. Jack

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