The Church Isn’t Meeting My Needs – Part 1

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Over the years I’ve watched many people come into the church excited only to be MIA within a few short years. It’s one of the saddest parts of being a pastor. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see people slip away from the body of Christ and drift back into a lifestyle of spiritual complacency and apathy.

It has been often stated that the number one reason people leave the church is due to a feeling that the church failed to meet their needs. In other words, there was some expectation they had for the church that was not met.

In conducting dozens of impromptu “exit interviews” over the last 15 years, I have found that many of these came as a result of misplaced expectations. In other words, they expected something from the church that the church never promised.

I can think of five unrealistic expectations people have of the church off the top of my head. Here’s my unscientific list.

What the Church Can and Cannot Provide

1. A church is a place to gather weekly for worship, but it’s up to me whether I will experience the presence of God. (John 4:24)

Preferences surrounding music is a frequent source of discontent for unhappy members. Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions people have is to mistake music for worship. Music is not worship. Organs, pianos, keyboards, drums, choirs, guitars, orchestras, lights, smoke, speakers, hymnals, screens, projectors, and sound boards are not instruments of worship. They are accessories for music. Worship is not singing. Worship is surrendering. If you attend a large group gathering of Christians committed to honoring Jesus and walk away without having worshiped, the fault is yours, not theirs. Don’t blame the music, blame the mirror.

2. A church is a family I can belong to, but it’s up to me to develop friendships. (Proverbs 18:24)

There are so many people who join our churches but never invest in relationships. They simply attend services. They treat the church like an IN-N-OUT burger joint – get my food and get out quickly. But sooner or later life happens, and when their world starts coming apart they have no relational safety net. They suddenly expect “the pastor” to “be there for them,” like he’s a spiritual Aladdin. Just rub the lamp and *poof*, there he is! But that’s not even the biblical calling of pastors. According to Ephesians 4:12, pastors are called to equip the members to be the hands and feet of Jesus. God designed the church to be a community of connected Christians, not a collection of customers waiting to be served. We tell our people, “If you join this church, but never develop any friendships here, we promise we will let you down.”

Disconnected people eventually disconnect.

3. A church is a place where gifted teachers will explain the Bible and how I can apply it to my life, but it’s up to me to align my life with God’s truth. (James 1:22)

“I’m not being fed.”

How many times have I heard this phrase brought up by disgruntled church members.  Once, when someone told me they were leaving the church because they needed deeper Bible teaching, I thought about the last several series I had done and so I asked the person, “I just finished up a relationship series. Tell me, is your marriage hitting on all six cylinders? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect, how would your spouse rate you? How about your parenting skills? Any room for growth there?”

They didn’t really respond.

I continued, “Let me see, the series before that was on Money. Let me ask, are you living on a detailed budget? Are you giving 10% of your income back to God? Do you save 10%? Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have 3-6 months in savings? Is your retirement on track? Are you debt free?”

They began to break a sweat.

I thought about the series before that one. “I taught for 8 weeks on personal evangelism. So just out of curiosity, how many people have you shared your faith with in the last 3 months? 6 months? year? I realize witnessing is tough, which is why we’ve created a church for the unchurched. So, how many unchurched people have you invited to church recently? Can you name at least one person, who is far from God, that has come to church because of your invitation within the last year?”

Silence.

“So let me get this straight. You say you’re not being fed. You need some deeper preaching, but you don’t even do the stuff that my ‘shallow preaching’ addresses. Hmm, I’m not sure it’s my preaching that needs changing.”

4. A church is a place where I can use my gifts, passion, skills, personality and life experiences to serve, but it’s up to me to become a servant. (Matthew 20:28)

It’s been my experience that some of the most vocal critics in the church are often the least engaged. They have a lot of suggestions, but no skin in the game.

It’s a lot easier to criticize from the bleachers than it is from the ball field. People who aren’t serving in the church are often one change away from becoming disgruntled.

I believe that the metric for maturity is ministry. I am never impressed by someone’s Bible knowledge, but I am always impressed by unselfish service. Serving in a ministry that delivers hope and healing to hearts and homes immunizes us from lethargy and keeps us tapped into the mission.

There are two kinds of church members. Those that are serving and those that believe they are deserving.

Only one of those will make you like Jesus.

5. A church is a place where I have the chance to change the world by fulfilling the Great Commission, but it’s up to me to actually become a person of impact. (Romans 10:14)

Finally, perhaps the greatest misconception of all is when we think that the church’s primary mission is to impact me.

Churches exist for the purpose of their non-members.

They do not exist to serve the whims of their members.

They exist to bring hope and healing to a broken and hurting world.

There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people.

There are only imperfect churches filled with imperfect people striving to make an impact on this world.

Whenever we forget the critical nature of that mission and begin to focus on pettiness, we grieve the heart of God and we fail the mission.

——————–

As a pastor, I’ve heard plenty of those who have let me know how the church has let them down, but I’ve rarely heard from those who have realized how they’ve let the church down.

The needs of a lost world are too critical for us to waste time.

Let’s get busy being the hands and feet of Jesus.

READ PART TWO of The Church Isn’t Meeting My Needs

209 comments on “The Church Isn’t Meeting My Needs – Part 1
  1. Lesa says:

    Good thoughts.

    • Matt Busby says:

      I am slightly amazed. SO, some people no longer physically go to your building, put money on your plate, stroke your ego in some way, and this means that they have fallen into apathy and a lifestyle displeasing to God and they have ‘left the church’, and now all those scriptures about the faithful falling away suddenly apply to them?

      Hahaha….you people. If you could only HEAR YOURSELVES.

      • Faye Perry says:

        Mr. Busby did you actually read the article or scan the headlines!
        Just wondering.

        • Jen says:

          Sorry Faye, read it word for word three times. Walked away with the same conclusions as Matt. A pastor with this attitude and arrogance is exactly why I walked away after 40 years of being a life long church member. I feel like too much of the modern church is focused on whatever emotionalism rock star pastor’s are bringing to the stage. Education, context, knowledge so the spiritual journey is grounded can’t come from one line scripture references that a series is based on. Dig deeper, discuss more, pray longer and question, question, question. When the questioning gets shut down and discourse is stopped a lot of people walk away

          • Betty Dains says:

            I don’t think most people leave the church because of the Pastor. If that were true, they would search for a new church, correct? I think most people leave the church because they’ve fallen in to temptation. Whether that be of a sinful nature, or just merely leaving the church that Satan knows will keep them grounded in the word. The devil knows what to say to you…and to me. He knows how to lure you away from the church. It’s a fact that the more we hear the word, read the word and have fellowship with likeminded people the more focused on God and fufilling his purpose in our lives we become. I’m no Bible scholar, but I don’t think your personal opinion is formed solely on a church and the Pastor – in most cases – all on your own. If the word of God is being taught.. And the church provides fellowship, I don’t know why anyone would complain. If the word is being altered and you find a pastor to be of false teaching, or you get involved in the politics of the church. That’s a different story. And like I said earlier, wouldn’t you then look for another church. Not walk away completely? I’m not judging you. I don’t go to church currently, myself.. And I know why I walked away. It had nothing to do with the church and I’d be doing myself a disservice to place blame for my apathy on any church. We need the fellowship and teaching provided in church to stay grounded in the word. I know many of us tell ourselves we don’t… But that is just untrue.

          • Lynette Walker says:

            Absolutely. Well said, Jen. The article doesn’t address pastors and churches’ issues… if leadership is human, and capable of misdirection, how many church members leaving does it take to cause leadership to ask what God might be doing in their church? What changes might need to be made? An assumption is being made here that only the spiritually immature leave…

          • Brian Moss says:

            You may want to read Part 2 of this posting. I think that may help you to see a bigger picture of what I am trying to say.

          • Lance Rengel says:

            Good questions Lynette. Those are the questions I desired to ask my pastor that got him so angry he refused to speak with me anymore. I was constantly fishing for men & women & children only to see the fish I had caught come through the front door and depart out the back. It was frustrating.

          • This pastor does not seem to be coming from a place of a failed shrinking church. But rather a growing church that cares enough to not help people step up and stay connected. There seems to be a group of people forming that want to hold pastors accountable online. If you don’t like church don’t go! Find a church you like were you can hold the pastor accountable. But remember you must also being willing to be accountable. And it will be you the . lay person who will have to prove your true accountabilityfirst! You may feel that is unfair, but it the way the real world and church world and family world work. Grow up and proven your self and people will be lining up to be accountable to you. This pastor has 100s line up and seems kind and carring enough to reach out to people who got out of that line. Be upset all you want or you could be humble and ask him for advise. He seems to be kind and none combative even with those who confront his motives. I am blown away by his love, patience and concern.

      • You are not understanding the message of these words. You are picking out words and leaving out others. Maybe you should read one sentence at a time and let it sink in without over analyzing it. I pray for you that you receive the Lord and these words with an open heart and understanding. Bless you.

      • Jewell_price@yahoo.com says:

        Thank you, Matt! Exactly! Leaving a church building/organization is not necessarily the same as leaving your tau pith or becoming apathetic. How arrogant this writer is to suggest that is always the case.

        • Jewell_price@yahoo.com says:

          *should have said…”leave your faith…”

        • Arrogant is such an over reaching word. It would be like this pastor saying because people left his church they are not saved. Its to over reaching! HE IS NOT NAME CALLING. some people leave for good reasons, some leave for bad reasons. If someone leaves for an unhealthy reason a good shepard will teach and disciple on the subject. All people have been hurt in life and if you attend a church and you should you will be hurt. How we ALL deal with hurt will determine our maturity level. Pastors and lay people alike. Why not get behind this pastor and let him do his job. He seems to have a healthy thriving church! Have you ever thought he might just be awesome?

      • JD says:

        What you are not understanding is the writer is speaking to those who go to to church to be entertained or expecting everything to be about them. Whether you go to church or not, if you don’t have a spiritual life, a relationship of giving and receiving, then wherever you are you won’t be satisfied, fulfilled and realizing your value.

    • Mike Mills says:

      Yes. The attitudes of some here may confirm what this pastor is talking about. And he is doing something that many fearful pastors won’t do — talking directly and honestly to his congregation. That is not arrogance. That is what Christ Jesus did. We need more of that, and we. And WE need to look at our own lives, with humility toward God.

      • Brian Moss says:

        Thanks Mike! I clearly have a lot more to work on in my own journey, but am so thankful to have a church family where we are all a work in progress. 🙂

  2. Yvonne Mariner says:

    I think that was great if you happen to know a church in great mills Md please let me know

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Yvonne! I wish I did. Sorry. We do have an online service 6pm Sundays at http://orbconline.churchonline.org/

      • Jason Miller says:

        Doesn’t an online service obviate your point #2?

        • Brian Moss says:

          Great point Jason! I believe online should only supplement in circumstances where one cannot physically attend. I’m old school. 🙂 PS: I had to look up ‘obviate’ LOL

          • Deb says:

            What do you do if you feel rejected by the church. What if church makes you sad?

          • Brian Moss says:

            Of course I am unsure of your particular situation, but I would tell you not to give up on church. Sometimes we may be in the wrong church if it is unhealthy. I encourage you to seek counsel from a godly trusted friend.

      • andrew olson says:

        So true but weren’t many of those “false expectations” created by the churches marketing apparatus. You reap what you sow comes to my mind.

    • Melanie says:

      Hi Yvonne, We would love to have you visit us at Life Community Church of God: 22512 Chancellors Run Rd, Great Mills, MD 20634. 🙂

    • Larisa says:

      Yvonne, I just moved from Great Mills! I went to Life Community Church of God. Pastor Brian and his wife Amber are amazing people who LOVE Jesus, and I terribly miss my church family! It is located on Chancellors Run Road. Service is at 10:07, website is lccog.com.

    • I pastor Life Community Church of God in Great Mills MD (www.lccog.com). If our church does not fit your doctrinal preference, I will personally introduce you to a local church that does. I will make my goal for you to find a church that will help you accomplish what this article is presenting.

      God bless you on your search and remember, I am more than happy to help you.

      Pastor Brian Shepard

    • Ryan Taylor says:

      I just wanted to throw out a church suggestion, although it is about 20 minutes away from Great Mills.
      River Church of Southern Maryland, in Hughesville. Small church, but great family environment with passionate worship and a strong word.

    • Mark Dooley says:

      Yvonne … check out Redeeming Grace Baptist – meets at Kings Christian Academy in Callaway / Great Mills area. Currently a site of Leonardtown Baptist, but becoming an autonomous congregation January, 2015. Visit http://www.rgbcmd.org. Like Pastor Brian from Life Community said below if that doesn’t work for you we will do our best to help you find the place God has for you. God Bless!

    • Maria says:

      I attend Cornerstone in Town Creek- right across from the Walmart in Lex. Park MD, turn onto Town Creek Dr. and go 1/2 mile. Would love to see you there! 9am and 10:30am

  3. Jesse says:

    Good thoughts, only issue I would have is the church is not a place it is us, you and me. The church is not a place to gather it is the people who gather somewhere

    • Brian Moss says:

      Totally agree Jesse. Thanks for sharing that. The church is a body not a building. We are on organism not an organization.

      • Greg says:

        I read the linked post. #3 in the post gives an excellent example of an opportunity for a Christian brother to reach out and help another brother in need. Often, when I am at the local church, I’m having good fellowship with brothers and sisters. While talking to a friend, I could be scanning the crowd and praying for an opportunity to reach out to someone. It’s easy to fall into clicks and, also, to enjoy fellowship when someone two feet away is silently in need. May the Lord help us to wake up and reach out to the needs that surround us inside the local church.

  4. Tim Justice says:

    If I may, I would like to humbly submit a counterpoint. I believe you raise many valid points, but there is another side, one I feel is important in this dialog:

    http://squarepegchristian.blogspot.com/2014/10/what-i-wish-church-understood-about.html

    • Brian Moss says:

      Great feedback Tim. I totally agree with you. There’s so much more that we (read I) can do to help all of our members experience what Christ designed the church to be. Blessings!

    • Nathan says:

      As Brian said, I agree.
      I would encourage you to remember that there are always two sides to a relationship conversation. That is to say, that even if you have a different perspective, you don’t necessarily disagree.
      From what I read in your response, I see more of a reminder to the “church-goers” that they have a responsibility as well. So, I read more of a “This is the other side of the point” rather than a “This is the argument to the point”.

      With that said, I will again remind that you are spot on. Same message, two different audiences. 😉

      God bless.

      • passerby says:

        good article, but have to also agree with Deb and Tim.
        I used to be one of those who spoke out against ppl leaving the church (for the same reasons Pastor Brian mentioned) until it happened to me once. I felt rejected from week 2 to year 2 when i finally decided to move church. Served in ministry, did Bible studies, etc., and kept telling myself it was my heart issue. i didn’t just not feel fed, but drained after each service with people just too cool for me, impatient with me during my lowest spiritual points, but uninterested to find out why. friendship truly is a two-way street.
        Even if I was not as put-together and outwardly more broken as other church-goers, Jesus died for me just the same and doesn’t love me any less.
        I’ve seen a lot of pastors make these statements, and it is mostly true, but I think pastors should also be flexible to change instead of using them as a justification.
        if it’s not just me, but the ENTIRE congregation who secretly agrees they are not being fed, maybe it’s the pastors’ heart issue too. they may be just too nice/afraid to tell their pastor. (not that you are, Pastor Brian. I don’t know you: just happened to see this while surfing the internet).

    • Tim Johnson says:

      If you want to have a big church…get good actors, singers, and musicians. Works every time. The pastor should learn how to give average to above average sermons. Caring for the flock is a waste of time. The church will not grow that way. That’s basically what the author of the article is saying. And it’s true. “Congregation, quit making my life hard. I want to sing and dance.”

      • Brian Moss says:

        I don’t sing or dance but I have been considering taking up juggling. 🙂

        • Tim Johnson says:

          You should get some juggling lessons. It would be very entertaining for your congregation. If you can’t sing and do plays, then hire someone who can. Just be aware that they will eventually have an affair with someone in the church….oooops.

        • Rita Curry says:

          I have to say that some of the replies I am reading are just down right hateful. When people have been hurt in a church they tend to lose confidence in churches. We can always find something we dislike but instead of leaving why not stay and pray for that church. Maybe you are the person God wants to use to help them.
          If you have that much anger then if your prayers don’t change the church maybe it will change the way you see that church. No church is perfect and if you are looking for the perfect church you might as well stay home because the minute you walk through the door it will become imperfect. ..Sorry Pastor Brian but you are being too kind to people who haven’t gotten their own hearts right. God Bless You.

          • Brian Moss says:

            Thanks Rita. I think most of it is just pain. Unkind responses never help a person who’s hurting. Blessing to you!

          • Tim says:

            I believed that in my last church situation that if we (me and my wife) stayed, we could help. We found that was a lie as the next six months got worse. I’m all for if it’s a bad church…RUN AWAY AND DON’T LOOK BACK! We tried another church later, one that helped heal us from the one we left but they ended up just turning into an online church. My experience from the evangelical Christian church has left me wondering if I’ll either trust another church or if I’ll ever be dumb enough to be vulnerable enough to trust a church who’s pastor receives a paycheck and who teaches it’s members to shun those who “divorce the church” by leaving the congregation.

            And before you judge my motives while I was a member of my former church, I did serve in many areas including foreign missions and on the church’s board for buildings and grounds. I even led a team to Honduras the year after I left. When you see corruption in the church that will not be corrected when confronted, you have every right to get out of there.

    • Ellen says:

      good points!!!

  5. Just reposted! It is intresting to me that you would get comments about the church not being a place or building since you never stated either as a definition. The new testiment never proclaims an individual as the church but it does teach every individual should be part of a local church. Local=location. Your points are only powerful if there is a commitment to a local body of believers. Very good blog!

  6. Marilyn Glavin says:

    Loved this article. More folks “in the pew” should see this! A great discussion tool for boards and committees, too. In the old days, only seminary students had direct access to this style of information, now every church- goer can see it and think about it. Or at least every church- goer on my Facebook page!

  7. Great article. The entire Body of Christ needs to read it! It is also a great sermon starter or outline. I just may use it in the very near future. For sure, I am going to suggest that everyone read it.

    Thanks.

  8. Tony says:

    having been a choir member most of my life, I don’t understand how you have arrived at the conclusion that singing praises to our God is not worship ! Most choir members consider the songs we sing as an offering of praise and not a performance to impress man. Music stirs the souls of the believers and opens the hearts of Gods people to receive the Gospel message . Is the Father not glorified by the praises of His people in song?do the Scriptures not speak of praising the Father with songs?

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Tony. I think you’ve misread me. My comments were not exclusive, but expansive. Worship can include singing, but is certainly not limited to singing. Worship is so much more. I define worship as Willingly Offering Reverence, Submission, Honor, Intimacy, and Praise. So keep on singing bro!

      • Andy says:

        No, you are totally right. Music, even directed toward God is not worship. We have done a huge disservice to Christianity by encouraging this idea that worship is some kind of existential experience, whether personal or corporate.
        I adore and praise my kids when its appropriate. I never worship them. I know the difference.

    • Sharon says:

      I really disagree about music not being worship. What brings one closer to the ultimate being than floating upward on a single note cleaving the world and showing the way. So, I have to admit that for me music is vital for worship…and, ah, I prefer hearing good classical organ music and singing the older hymns. I do understand the need for music that reaches many people; I just miss the other.

  9. Emily says:

    Good points. I do feel that sometimes the worship argument is a valid one in the modern church. You can have all the bells and whistles but if it is all about entertainment and not about Christ, it CAN lack what is Biblical about worship. We rely on the people leading worship to do just that–actually worship. If instead their concern is more with if their harmony is spot-on or if the bassist is a bit off rhythm, or if their reason for playing music is self-promoting, it cannot help but hinder the worship of the body. If the lyrics are without Biblical foundation, that hinders worship. So my advice to any pastor hearing this over and over as a reason for leaving–listen and ask yourself–is our worship truly Biblical? Does every song worship God, or are some of them “Jesus is my boyfriend” type of songs? Are the songs we sing lyrically strong? Have we emphasized the sound of worship over the content of worship?? Just something to consider.

  10. Valerie says:

    While I agree with your article, your comment about people leaving the church and back to their old ways is wrong. Just because I leave A church, doesn’t mean I’m leaving THE church. We have made a hard decision to leave our church, one that took us a few years to make.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Valerie, my statement wasn’t meant to be all-inclusive. My comment was that my heart breaks for those who do disconnect altogether and fall away.

      • Jesus says:

        Whenever the Apostles tried to blame the people or ignore someone who wasn’t with the program didn’t I always tell them things like ‘you feed them” and show them by example to minister more to that person. Maybe the person who had no answers for your attempt to justify your preaching was overwhelmed with some great need they didn’t feel able to express. I think the better response as a pastor to them would have been “How can I be better. How can I meet your needs specifically. I want to. I’m sorry my sermons aren’t doing that. Tell me how I can minister to you personally. Can we have a deeper private study together where you choose the subject? Are their more specific needs you have that I can help you get filled? It’s my job to meet your needs. Please let me.’ p.s. My church does not exist merely for non members. It exists to meet all real needs of of all my children. If you feel unable, help them find someone who is able and humbly apologize for failing them so that they never stop seeking my leaders who can do better than you while you continue to learn to serve more deeply. . – God

        • Brian Moss says:

          The fact that you have spelling errors and that you had to submit this twice is making it harder for me to believe you’re God. Sorry.

          • Deb says:

            Seems like you don’t much care about people?

          • A Christian Observer says:

            There’s a nice American-Church-Leader response. Deflect attention away from the excellent scriptural point: You give them something to eat. When you are tired. When you have little to give. When it gets demanding. Your derision of those with spiritual needs and your insulting tone speak volumes, good shepherd. And Deb – Good observation…An authentic sheep who knows the masters voice and runs away from the others.

  11. Rachel says:

    What beautifully written words! I know that when I find myself starting to grumble about the church I am in (we move a lot, military), it is generally because I am NOT involved in serving in some capacity. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece that serves as a great reminder that it’s NOT ALL ABOUT ME!!!

  12. Shelley Jones says:

    My husband and I Pastored a church for several years and I understand to the fullest your post. I am in complete agreement but would like to add, what you are speaking about is actually for the matured christian. These things, in a perfect world would be awesome. Unfortunately, The new and young Christians have to learn these things and so I believe that is why we as the elder must go above and beyond to demonstrate in action. We must make extra effort to make them feel special and welcome… try and make the music as enjoyable to listen to as possible and as versatile as possible. Sometimes it is hard to concentrate on worshiping when the music is uncomfortable to listen to… If I were to add anything I believe one of the key things to keeping people growing and planted is getting them actively involved. No matter how old they are in the Lord. Of course a new born Christian can’t be leadership but they can assist and in that process learn and grow and have a sense of belonging. This was a thought provoking article and I hope many step into a deeper understanding of the church body by reading it. God bless

    • Brian Moss says:

      Great feedback Shelley. I can see your shepherd’s heart shining.

    • Kathy says:

      Agreed. I have recently recruited an adult babe in Christ to assist me in our Junior Church (no teaching). She is well into her 40’s with no Bible background – she doesn’t know the stories and comments each session she is in of how much she has learned. This opportunity has served her in 2 major areas: (1) It is making her feel like she is important to our ministry and fits in. (2) It is teaching her basic Bible truths. Our ministry reaches out to all that come and promotes involvement to promote unity.

  13. Jana says:

    Everyone, even the most faithful of church members go through seasons of difficulty. Whether it be to test us or to grow us, God can allow us to go through seasons that I call the wilderness which causes us to feel very distant from Him and the church. They could also have come under some spiritual attack that they need help with. So many times we look at the choices people make by leaving a church or being critical of the church and become offended by what they are doing or saying. Instead of seeing it from a natural perspective, maybe those of us who are in the church should be asking God, “What is really going on with my brother or sister?” Maybe they have been offended by someone in the church. Maybe they are not being fed. There may be another reason for their offense other than what is going on in the natural sense. Instead of being offended by their offense, which is what the enemy wants, maybe we should be the church and see past the offense to get to the root of what is really going on with them. I see both sides of the coin on this issue. However, I think it takes serious spiritual maturity to cut through the offense, and allow God to help us work through things with our brothers and sisters who are in there hard seasons.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Love your heart. Thanks Jana!

    • Just Ducky says:

      I too am blessed by all the responses, as I see the needs. We, my family, of pew sitting for years. This was all we did, show up and think that was sufficient. Until, we got involved in caring for others, wow what a difference. This changed our whole world. Our changing to a congregation, or body was the best thing for our family. The need for what we had been praying for flew wide open at this new congregation. I am so proud of my children and my wife for the growth strides they have taken. I have not seen them want to participate more in God’s work in many years. So, sometimes change is needed not because someone is leaving the body of Christ, but because they are moving to a different partof the body of Christ where they can be used. I would also caution people, be careful what you pray about, God might just find a whole bunch of things related to your prayers to get you really busy. P.S. just because someone changes congregations does not mean they are leapers to the people of the old congregation. As we grow it is a must that we move forward towards Christ.

  14. Brian,
    You are a saint. Your response to this “feedback” has me smiling from ear to ear. You ecclesiastical obedience to the scriptural mandate love your brothers and sisters is praise worthy. Of course, all the glory goes to God.

    Keep up the good work.

  15. I appreciate your willingness to encourage people to express other opinions. Being a nice pastor is very healthy.
    I do believe there are many people that need us to lead the way of gaining trust for Gods house though respecting their hearts. But I also believe the enemy of our soul is also deceiving people their pride. They unwittingly confuse people to distrust because their own hearts have been offended.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Thanks Mike. I wish I was a little nicer. I have blocked a couple of responses which seemed especially mean spirited. But overall response has been very gracious. Pax

  16. I appreciate your willingness to encourage people to express other opinions. Being a nice pastor is very healthy.
    I do believe there are many people that need us to lead the way of gaining trust for Gods house though respecting their hearts. But I also believe the enemy of our soul is also deceiving people through their pride and hurt. They unwittingly confuse people to distrust because their own hearts have been offended. Hurts can cause mercy or blind judgement to rise up in us.

  17. Kevin says:

    Brian,

    This is a great post that I am sharing on every venue I have access to. I am a newly minted youth pastor and our church is going through a phase that is explained by many of the things that you mentioned in this article. We have lost many people because of the mentality that the church is only to serve them instead of them serving God, through the church.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hang in there Kevin, I’ve found that’s more the exception than the rule. Tons of awesome others-centered Christians out there!

  18. Mark says:

    The title says it all to me.
    When people enter not only a church but the Christian faith thinking only of themselves. then they have the wrong concept of what being a Christian truly mean.
    Selflessness over selfishness is a core element of Christianity

  19. Lori says:

    Well said! I especially found the IN N OUT Burger reference to be true. When we get involved in other aspects of church in addition to worship services, like sharing meals, joining a smaller group, finding a way to serve, we feel more love for and kinship with each other and, I believe, feel ourselves growing more like Jesus to boot. It’s up to us, the members and church leaders to be loving examples of how to serve with glad hearts and be involved, and I believe this is one way we’re all fed. Thank you for this thought provoking piece!

  20. Foppe VanderZwaag says:

    Excellent perspective.

    “There are two kinds of church members. Those that are serving and those that believe they are deserving.”

    Never thought of it this way. Then I also realized that de-serving actually means not serving. Apart, of course, from serving self.

    Thanks!

  21. Sonya Grady says:

    Thank You Father God that we are blessed as we come and blessed as we go in Your name (Your nature). Thank You for forgiveness when we move in error. Let us not speak death over each other. Let differing opinions and situations not cause us to crucify each other, but instead cause us to ponder and seek You even more. Let us not mistreat each other by word or deed. Let us not hinder Your anointed, but instead to lift them up and encourage them. Let us not be so worried about outward appearances while inside we could be rotting away with anger, strife, malice, envy and death. Let us accept You as both KING and PRIEST in our lives, letting YOUR blessings and YOUR work have its’ perfect work in our lives. Let us be more concerned with really knowing YOU than seeking to please each other. Let us be more concerned with a personal relationship with You instead of placing importance on what others think of us. Let us find rest in You as You are putting Your fire to the things in our lives that need purification. Let us not accept fingers pointed at us with scorn or mockery, but trust YOU that YOU are changing us in YOUR way. Let us not judge another in haughtiness. Let us not condemn or criticize. Instead let us be thankful that Iron sharpens Iron, and that we are FOR each other on this journey. God, YOU are our true judge. Let us seek YOU God, realizing that You bring situations into our lives that cause people to come and go. Let us love and encourage each other while we are together and not speak death over each other when we are apart. Let us not value organizations, programs and well-thought schedules more than we value our time with You. AND let us not value alone time with You so much that we leave Your body out. Thank You for bringing YOUR balance into all of our lives. Thank You Father that YOUR true church is not a kingdom built of walls but of living stones jointly fitted together. Let us fellowship in the way you have for us at each season of our lives, not being offended when the season changes. Let us not hold others to OUR expectations, but encourage each other in YOURS. Let us not do the things our grandfathers and fathers did for the sake of tradition, but to seek you daily, moving when you move, speaking when you speak. Let us seek You for daily guidance, and obey Your living word. Let us not be offended, but exercise ourselves to have conscious void of offense to You and to man. Let us LOVE one another and lift each other up to You in prayer, for we ARE brothers and sisters.

  22. Hi
    I am a denominational leader and would like your permission, with all due credits included, to re-post your article in a District newsletter I produce.
    Blessings

  23. Marty says:

    What about when you have a family member (mother) in critical condition FOR 9 LOOOOOONG MONTHS and you have relationships and VERY close friends within the church. You have made the church well aware of the situation and a church member even works at the hospital and They see you EVERY SINGLE DAY, IN AND OUT, ALONE. No one ever comes to visit to see how you are doing?

  24. Paul says:

    I agree with a lot of thus, but I left my last church because I tried to serve and was continually blocked. Leadership would shut me out because if they weren’t in charge, they didn’t want anything to be successful. I agree though a lot of people leave churches for the wrong reasons, but I would love to see an article about why people should leave a church, other than moving to another area.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Thanks Paul. That’s a great idea. Believe me, I’ve been to some bad churches too. There are times we should move to another church.

  25. j says:

    Wow. You really are out of touch with the ones who would LOVE to attend a church but got screwed so many times by awful behaviour that got from Christians that i feel like i’d get more honest, compassionate caring from strangers on a bus than from you self-righteous pricks. Rot in hell – its where people like you belong. Deeds matter, not your flapping gums and the tripe you spew from them.

    • Brian Moss says:

      j

      I am sorry you have been hurt. I agree that there are many churches with people in them and not all people are very nice. I too have found many non-church folks that I like better than some churchy people. But, thankfully I have also found some awesome Christ-like church folk that I want to be like. I pray you will find a church like that.

      Pax

  26. Angela Hearst says:

    This was a great read!

  27. Star says:

    Although I Agree with your blog on the people not going to church or falling away, complacent and only there for their own needs, it is only a fraction of those people. In my opinion as a Christian for over 35 years, it is much more than that. In the 1990’s charasmatic and church of God had movements that allowed the ppl to be misled. Calling it moves of God. When leadership took it upon themselves to whoo believers . It hurt the church very much. If anyone stood against it we were told we had a rebellious spirit. It was like we didn’t have a right to defend God. I

    believe that control and manipulation still are dominate I our churches. It is sad to put the blame on the ones who sit on the pews. Get back to the basics and go back to our first love.

    • Star says:

      I apologize for not using the proper punctuation in the first comment and I don’t want to come across self-righteous either. But I have heard this so much until it hurts me also. When are the leaders going to step up and take their responsibility for this? I love the Lord and don’t want to discourage anyone, but I am one of those people who have struggled for along time with organized religion. Its all about doing whatever it takes to entertain the congregation. What about decipleship??? Entertainment lasts seconds, decipleship is the missing element in today’s church. I am concerned as well . Thank you Mr. Brian for having me share my comments in love.

  28. I can’t believe someone would blame charismatic pastors from the. 90s for this attitude in churches today. WOW…

  29. Vicki Weiss says:

    Thank you for this gift of instruction. Blessings to you.

  30. The section about people leaving the church because they weren’t being fed really struck a nerve with me. You see, it’s not so much the quantity of food as it is the quality of food that causes people to leave.

    I was raised in a fundamentalist cult that fed us plenty. But rather than being nutritious spiritual food to help us grow, it was more like a box of rat poison. It was full of “Do this, that, and the other, and don’t ever do this, or this, or that, because if you do, you’re going to Hell.” A typical 3-hour sermon would have 2:58 of law, and MAYBE 2 minutes of “God loves you” if we were really lucky.

    If we insist on living by a list of rules, then we make the sacrifice of Jesus to be of no effect. We could have stayed in Judaism and lived under law and Jesus wouldn’t have had to die.

    Even as Christ loved us and gave himself for the Church, so ought we to love one another. Love does not seek to control, but to serve. Let us rejoice in the GOOD news of the Gospel!

    • Brian Moss says:

      Totally agree Arthur. It’s so important that our churches are preaching grace and truth together. It truly is GOOD news for messed up sinners like me.

  31. Teresa says:

    My opinion is these points come across quite offensively and attitudes demonstrated from this point of view may very well be why people go “MIA” …
    If we as Christians do not unconditionally love and reserve judgement for God we play right into the plans of our enemy. The church IS a place where hurting people come looking… Embrace them where they are. Their ministry may be just finding a place where it’s ok to occupy a pew without being condemned. If I were on the fence, this blog likely would confirm my fears not relieve them.

  32. Josh says:

    Even if I met all the criteria above, depicting me as a whiny baby throwing a tantrum in the grocery store isn’t the image that’s going to motivate my change.

    I’ve been in church since I was 6 weeks old. I was a PK, then I was a youth pastor, then I was a heavily involved volunteer, and now I’m a guy who’s still trying to shed himself of the lingering guilt from being immersed in ideas like that. I haven’t wanted to attend church in several years. But I have because “that’s what you do” and because “church isn’t about me” and because “people who go to church for their own needs are selfish jerks.” The last one is less said than implied.

    As someone who now attends church for only 3 reasons (1. My wife still wants to go, and I don’t want to pull her away from something that’s significant for her, 2. To keep up appearances and 3. When I visit my parents, I attend the church my father pastors out of respect for him), I’ve not only had to overcome the guilt I experience for not gulping down the church-membership-preserving talking points, but also the guilt I feel for manipulating others to come to church while their hearts are elsewhere.

    Is church valuable? Undeniably so. Is the church better equipped to do good than the same number of individuals operating by themselves? Undeniably so.

    Is everyone who doesn’t like church a spoiled baby throwing a tantrum. Hardly.

    I love God and I trust Jesus. I serve the poor and seek to disciple and train men to be who God made them to be (ironically, I feel I’m opposed by the church at every step of THAT mission, but we don’t need to get into all that). But if I could find an alternative to the traditional church, I’d never darken its doorsteps again.

    • Brian Moss says:

      “Is everyone who doesn’t like church a spoiled baby throwing a tantrum. Hardly.”

      Great point Josh. You are dead on. I’m thinking of writing a blog post about when a person really should leave a church, but I hate going negative all the time. There’s so many good things about so many great churches.

  33. patricia says:

    I have not attended church in years.I am now over 50 .For the first 20 years of my life I was in a church choir
    Practising 2x weekly. I sang at one service but attended occasionally Sunday school
    For the second service but usually skipped out. My parents were very strict, my dad cold and could be somewhat abusive. We said grace every meal and prayer before bed. I did not feel any spiritual ness only church was a habit. I have many religious relatives
    But feel they view service to others as only meaningful when combined with devotion to Jesus.
    A reference I made once to a Higher Power in a 12 step Programme was referred to
    As “a watered down version of God”. I attended a Salvation Army church in the 90’s after they made a tape for me to take with me while I was caring for a terminally ill relative. This tape was not a copy but the singer actually spent a whole day recording these songs. The service was full of music which started to help me connect more but when the pastor was replaced the new pastors did not provide the same connection for me. Now I possibly consider myself perhaps an agnostic or at best a skeptical believer.
    I give to others
    And volunteer my services often. The only time I was ever called by my old church was
    During the stewardship,never during hard times. I have become cynical when
    Viewing the third world service religious people I know who seem to value that service
    Above local service right here. How can I get past my resentment for their self righteous
    Behaviour in my eyes?

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Patricia! I actually came to Christ through a 12 step program that was secular, so I totally get your point. Thankfully God is so much bigger than all of our crazy rules and religion. Sadly, churches are comprised of people and people are sinners. Thankfully, there are A LOT of wonderful churches out there full of wonderful people. Case in point, I am presently in Japan working with churches. I have found so many wonderful and loving people here. It is a reminder of how gracious our Lord is. Don’t give up Patricia. God loves you.

  34. Peter says:

    Not sure about The Great Commission ?
    My experience is with most churches in the western world is that they will give more to a visiting a Pastor/Preacher from another church who preaches for one hour than to a family who sells everything to move to the mission field, home school their children and live by faith year in year out as opposed to a salary.
    Money is a great revealer of the heart. Including the heart of a Church and in particular the Senior Pastor. If the Great Commission is truly a priority in an established Church or denomination it will be clearly evident in their finances.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Well said Peter. The Great Commission has often been the Great Omission in many of our churches. We can do better.

  35. Jonathan Watford says:

    Hi Brian,

    While I agree with all points made in your article, I do have a thought to add…..

    The biggest problem with the church in the 21st century (which is the root of all above problems) is that we have stopped BEING THE CHURCH and started GOING to church or trying to Find A church. I am a firm believer that the gathering of Christians on Sundays is a biblical necessity. However, it was never the primary focus of the first century Christians nor should it be ours today. God put us in this family we call Church in order that we might support each other in living the Christian life everyday. We, as true, repentant, reborn creatures, have already been promised heaven and receive God’s grace to continually make us right in his sight. Christ on the cross made our unforgivable natures forgiveable.

    So, the fundamental problem is that we as “Christians” have failed in making disciples and have simply made churchgoers. We have failed to impress upon new Christians the gravity of what Christ has done for all of us and what a living in him is supposed to look like. The first Christians created a community called Church based on a mission to save the world. Somewhere along the way, I fear, we have lost that attitude as a collective whole.

    Thank you for your article, it is a message most needed!

    J. Watford
    Youth Minister

  36. Miriam says:

    Thank you for sharing, Pastor! I grew up an M.K. (Missionary’s Kid) so I was always in church whether I wanted to or not. I saw so many people in our home church that my dad planted come and go for various reasons over the course of 10 plus years. I never fully understood what it meant to be a “church goer” until I hit 16/17 when I fully gave my heart to the Lord. It’s not about me at all, which is the mindset of a lot of people going to church. Better to give than to receive. It’s such a beautiful revelation when you finally understand what that means and put it into practice.

  37. If people don’t like a church they will leave. If they can’t find a good church anywhere it might gives us an insight into their heart. I have noticed that most hyper critic’s have no facts on their side just feelings. Although a persons feelings are important they are not always founded on debating reality. Blogs like this have a high debate format built into the content. 1. Churches have founded more hospitals they any other group.
    2. Most major universities were founded by churches
    3. Church going oeople give more to charities outside there own churches than non church goer’s Remember the Salvation Army is an active church and one of the largest charities in history.

    • Ron Amundson says:

      In the past churches did accomplish amazing things. Today though, we have churches selling hospitals and schools, and without government support many of their ministries would no longer be viable. In the past, seminarians were funded by the church. Today, they can look at a lifetime of paying off school loans, and despite the insane debt load they create for their students, seminaries are in a world of financial hurt.

      In a similar vein, churches brought about many of our advances in the sciences and the arts… Can you imagine the church funding guys like Mendel or Michelangelo today?

      We have greater economic output per person than any previous time in history… but our priorities are different.

      • Hospitals are being built in record numbers by church right now. Church members give to charities 2 to 1 in comparison to non church goers. The Salvation Army is the largest non-governmental charity in Americait by the way sees itself as a church that’s why there a Salvation Army churches in most cities in America

  38. Reep says:

    The “It’s up to me” theme made some very positive points. Another perspective, especially regarding #2 “Friendship is up to me”…many church environment cultures are not set up well to prevent the “club mentality.” So many new comers experience the brick wall as they attempt to build those relational connections. The many good points the article makes can end up becoming a defensive explanation of “It’s not our fault we are now growing the local Body of Christ.”

  39. Phyllis Jackson says:

    I have read these comments with an open heart and think it is good that everyone can express their thoughts w/o too much criticism. We can all learn something if we respect other peoples feelings. I have been in church nearly all my life playing the piano. I married a Music Director who became a youth pastor for 14-years building 3-large youth groups who still love us today. My husband, (now deceased) later became a pastor and we built a church from the ground up, serving there 31-years before his death. Today our son pastors and is planning to build again. I have since married another pastor whose wife passed away and together we are trying to continue building this church in a town of devastation from job losses to Mexico, etc. Drugs are everywhere. When my (deceased) husband first started our church years ago, I was a little bit scared because I was going into a critical job I wasn’t exactly trained for. I prayed “Lord, just help me love people as I should.” We had a successful church…Fast forward 37 years…Today I am still loving people regardless of their problems…I don’t claim to have all the answers the pastor may have, but sometimes all you need to do is have a listening ear, give people handshakes and hugs with a friendly smile and encouraging word to help them through what is sometimes a painful transition. Many times that is all they are looking for. Loving people who may be unlovely is not always easy but sometimes your kindness in spite of their bitterness or hurtful actions will show them God’s love. People know how to argue & fuss but they don’t know how to fight “Love”..You may be their last hope..Godly Love with prayer has helped fix many problems.

  40. Travis Antony says:

    I appreciate the points made, it is important to have realistic and biblical expectations of the church. The text indicates a serious and heart felt response to this issue. Which is why I don’t understand the graphic of the pouting child. You say people leaving breaks your heart and saddens you, and I assume this article is meant to reach these people, at least in part. And the first thing they see is themselves depicted as a pouting child? Having left a church I attended for eight years, I can tell you it’s a heartbreaking experience. You don’t get over it quickly, if ever. Reading your words, I think you understand that. So I don’t get the “kick them while they are down” nature of the graphic you chose. I get and agree that sometimes, believers need some tough, biblical truth. But not mockery.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Excellent point Travis. My demented sense of humor sometimes gets the best of me. I think I saw myself in the picture as I know I am tempted to whine. I think I’ll switch pics though. Thank you for that word.

    • passerby says:

      I definitely agreed with this comment, and it was very uncomfortable to see you as a pastor describe someone who didn’t follow your teachings as someone who is whiny and childish:
      “So let me get this straight. You say you’re not being fed. You need some deeper preaching, but you don’t even do the stuff that my ‘shallow preaching’ addresses.Hmm, I’m not sure it’s my preaching that needs changing.”
      My immediate response was, but aren’t you a pastor= shepherd? You may have won that argument 100%, but you could’ve lost his soul.
      Even mature Christians go through seasons of testing, where we feel spiritually dry and away from Christ. We, and the person you spoke to, may just be at that stage of life when you meet them at church. We probably knew/heard the teachings you preached, but if it was so easy to jump into obedience from that spiritual low by getting our acts together, we wouldn’t need accountability partners or community in the church since we can all do the Christian thing alone. I’m sure you also experienced, that when you’re in the pits, only the Holy Spirit can bring back joy. It was a sensitive point for me because when I was still praying about moving my church, the pastor I had respected before openly accused/judged me on Facebook. Needless to say I was greatly hurt, but also that finalized my decision to leave: while he recognized I was not doing spiritually well (at a very small church), he NEVER ONCE approached me to even talk to me, and he was ENTIRELY wrong about his judgments he made of me. Whatever feelings of regret that I couldn’t serve that church more, sort of evaporated that moment.
      That being said, thank you for the part 2 of your post.
      When you recognized the reasons for leaving a church (to seek a new place to call home, not just fall away) and also shared your experiences, it showed me that you definitely gave a lot of thought into all the replies and you’re willing to change your mindset to better serve not only the lost, but also the misfits and the stubborn of the saved. I hope you always keep your ears open to hear people’s stories and I pray God uses your blog/ministry to transform more of us laypeople to Christ’s image.

  41. Richard says:

    The church is also in need to meet the needs of todays society. We have changed our doctrine to look as if we are so willing to accept and love others whom are different than us. However, we live and work in a society that goes 24/7. If you visit or patronage a business before or after the “one” time we offer the sacraments a week. The sacraments that we say are the means of “grace”. If you visit these places of business before or after worship services and on Sunday and do not feel empathy for these folks? Our pastors and leaders are true sheperds of their flocks. The pope said that Pastors that do not get out on the streets and pursue others are merely hairdressers of sheep. The church is the body of Christ, open one day a week for the most part and a half day at that.

  42. Rose says:

    Never read a truer piece! Thank you thank you!
    As someone said, there is no such thing as a perfect church. And if you find one, do not join; because it will become imperfect as soon as you do. Why – because you’re not perfect 🙂

  43. Lance Rengel says:

    Agrees with Josh. So many of us who have left the visible church and wandered off into the wilderness have done so for NONE of the reasons professional paid “pastor” Brian has listed. During the past 20 years I have served in 3 churches and with a local SBC Association. Not every pastor was “bad”, but each of them had some negative aspects (as we all do). The common theme though was that ALL of them were and are arrogant and would not allow anyone (except maybe another pastor) to hold them accountable. Pastors are not transparent, and if one dares to attempt to even speak to them about problems in the church(s) then you are summarily labeled as “divisive” and are made to leave.

    I served in a local church as an elder/Associate Pastor (unpaid) for 12 years. When I finally requested from the pastor that we needed to talk regularly about problems in the church he stopped talking to me for 3 months until my family and I left. He still will not speak to me 4 years later, and I have been to the church numerous times since we left. I thought this was unique to him. Maybe he was just immature. But since then I have found out this is a common way pastors get rid of people they don’t want at “their” church. Ignore them until they leave. Do they teach this at seminary?

    • Brian Moss says:

      Sorry you had those experiences Lance. I have seen some of those pastors, but I meet far more godly, humble pastors. Not perfect, but sincerely compassionate and loving.

      • Lance Rengel says:

        Yes, you meet them . . . as a fellow pastor. You are part of the pastor club, and as such other pastors treat you differently than they will those not their peers. Just as cops treat other cops differently and teachers do teachers, so pastors cover for other pastors. It’s natural. That is why Galatians 2 is such an important chapter. Paul, the Evangelist, wasn’t having any of the chummy chummy hypocrisy; even though “even Barnabas” the encourager became a hypocrite too.

        I am not a pastor. I am an evangelist. I see things from another perspective, and as such I am treated differently as well. October is “Pastor Appreciation Month”. I am sure you received your envelope and the people praised you. What a GUY! Pastors all over the world got their envelopes and their praise. That’s fine. I am happy for all of you. The street evangelists of the world will wait a little longer; until the Lord returns or takes them home.

        My suggestion for you and some other pastors. Take come time to study, and I mean really study 1 Corinthians 9. Pastors use this to justify themselves being paid to preach. But is that what Paul is talking about? The pastors were being paid. Elders were appointed in the churches to teach and guard the flock. The Evangelists who came and actually did the planting were soon forgotten.

        • I’ve been a pastor for 25 years. Started 3 churches from 0. I did not know October was pastor app month. I have never got an envelope. I’ve preached around the world and know 100s of pastors, they don’t get the envelope. I think vain imagination runs a little wild sometimes on blogs because it is a world people can say what ever they FEEL like. This pastor who has served us all eell with his heart for people and his great instruction I believe deserves one of these envolopes!

          • Lance Rengel says:

            Hey Mike – sorry you never received the “extra” envelope in October. You did get paid for ministry for 25+ years didn’t you? You must have, since you “preached around the world”. Someone had to pay for you to do all of that traveling. And someone had to pay someone else to preach while you were somewhere else around the world. For 12 years when my pastor went on his annual Hawaiian vacation I preached in his absence. He never offered me a dime. Maybe I was a fool for not asking. I also taught a weekly Bible Study, served in the children’s ministry, taught evangelism, and led the monthly men’s prayer breakfast. Because I wasn’t the “paid” pastor and did not have a “title” I really did not exist.

            After he removed me from “his church” I went to another church. I preached a few times on Wednesday nights and I taught Evangelism Explosion weekly for more than a year. I never asked for any money nor was it ever offered. The pastor could not afford to extend a single dime for evangelism, but he could afford to go to Hawaii every year . . . and take his entire extended family with him.

            I read some of your other posts. I am not down on the church. I have a good perspective. I taught church history for 10 years. The problem is not the church, it is those who have taken control of the church and made themselves lords . . . the professional paid pastors who are not transparent and not accountable.
            You said, “If they can’t find a good church anywhere it might gives us an insight into their heart.” That is the type of pastoral arrogance we are talking about.

          • There are many good churches and I will repeat myself, if no church is good enough for you, it might be you. Calling me names might help you blow off steam but it also gives me an insight into your heart as well. This is not my blog so I will be my last comment.

          • Lance Rengel says:

            Mike – nobody called you any names. You’re not reading what people are saying, or you don’t believe them. Many pastors are abusive & arrogant. It’s no small matter. The sooner pastors actually confront it and repent, the sooner the church can heal, be restored, and advance the Kingdom.

        • Pastor Brian I followed you blog about people leaving church and how it was tough on you when the reasons were based on false biblical expectations. As you know many marriages break apart for the same reasons. As a pastor I followed the blog which I rarely do. Your care and clearity was very balanced. I commented a few times but wish I would have only observed. I noticed something you did that I have learned from. 1.Those who agreed you thanked but did not over engage. They were not your target because you are not looking for fans. 2. Those who simply wanted accuse you tried to find some common ground so as not to fuel their hurts, self inflicked or not. 3. Others were hurt but still seeking guidance allowing you to pastor them even if they were hurt or not part of your local church. Thank you for your example and I pray great favor upon your ministry.

          Pastor Mike

  44. Robin A. says:

    I must admit to approaching this article rather sheepishly, as we are seeking direction from the Lord about leaving a church where we have been members for over 20 years. Our problem is overcommitment and burnout in a church where the pastor appears to have given up studying for anything beyond alliterations in a sermon. But your article was helpful in nailing down our responsibilities within the Body. By the way, that picture is epic, although I was afraid of finding out if that’s how I was acting.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Thanks Robin. Had to change the pic since it is off-putting. Honestly, I’m not really a blogger and never expected this many people to even read this post. Since it’s gone viral and outside of the context of my own peeps, I decided to pull the pic. I’m currently writing a follow-up posting on when it’s time to leave your church. Thanks for your feedback.

  45. Tressa says:

    There is a whole lot of DO here and not much of what has been DONE. What has been done for you? Christ died for us while we were still sinners. I see his name one time in this article and only to tell me what I need to do. Sometimes it is good to hear what has been done. Do I give enough? No. Do I evangelize enough? No. Am I a perfect wife? No. But praise be to Jesus that He did it all for me perfectly. If I am not hearing that every week, then no, I would say the church is not meeting my needs.

  46. Jane Curran says:

    We go to church in an area where every 4th person is related to one another. We have been here in the South for 10 years, and initially we were involved heavily in our first church here. We were there for 8 years! But no matter how many times we tried to become friends and interact with people, we were ultimately rejected. We would buy them lunch, pray with them, invite them over, etc… Our pastor was popular at our church, even though he was from another area too…but since he played football when he was a teen, he was accepted…strange, I know…but a cultural stamp of approval here). Our pastor liked us a lot and felt led to have us lead a ministry at our church. But we were often met with disdain because we were not related to anyone there. We finally left after 8 years, although the pastor had asked us to lead another church they would sponsor! We couldn’t think of who would actually want to help us with the new church!! We just could not take the utter rejection anymore. Even the pastor’s wife was unsupportive of us! Only the pastor could see our potential and hearts to truly serve and love the Lord. That’s been 2 years now and we have not found a church yet that has yet to be filled with cliques and reject us. This small town stuff really stinks!

  47. Just me says:

    Sometimes, what you hear from the pulpit is not what you are hearing from God. After awhile you begin to doubt God and find that you are not able to sift out the chaff until Thursday. When the breakthrough comes, and you see the places where the sermon put you back in bondage to the law, it is time for church again and it starts all over. I left the church for my spiritual health not because I was upset or had hurt feelings. To stay where I know what I have to share about God would cause strife and confusion isn’t what I want to do. And I can’t seem to not share about my God and how good He is. When the sermons tell me what I should be doing to be right with God, I want to jump up and say…. Jesus made me right…. there is nothing I need to do to be right with Him. JESUS made me righteous and nothing I can do will undo what He did on the cross. Yes, churches often talk about being made right with God at salvation but then turn around and teach/preach what we must/should do to stay right with Him. I left church when I could not recognize the God they knew and shared. {sigh} I miss corporate worship. I like being in church. I know God doesn’t require me to punch a time clock and do my duty there. If I could just sneak in for worship and leave without hurting anyone’s feelings I would do that. Although, some worship leaders like to beat on you in between songs too.

    • Brian Moss says:

      There are healthy, life-giving, grace affirming churches out there. Don’t give up until you find one. It’s worth the effort.

    • Lance Rengel says:

      Dear Just Me – Everything you said is where I am at as well. I still have one foot in and one foot out of the door of the visible church. I want to be part of a church, but also do not want to be divisive. After I began drifting away from the most recent church I was attending I would show up on Wednesday nights for the half hour of worship, and then would leave as soon as the pastor began preaching. I still do that on occasion.

  48. Mandy says:

    Let me preface my comment by saying that I’m a seminary-educated believer in full-time Christian ministry outside of the local church. I’m also a 35 yr old, never been married, childless woman. I know what scripture says about the church and its purpose. I know I’m extremely selfish at times (lots of the time), and I know that my “feelings” are often deceptive. I grew up in church and love being a member of a healthy church. I live in a seminary town in the south. There are strong, theologically healthy churches of every shape and form on every corner for 50 miles in any direction. So please keep those things in mind as I try to explain my current frustration with the modern church.

    Plain and simple, I don’t fit. I live 850 miles from my closest relative. I moved here for seminary and stayed for ministry. My “family” where I currently live are my friends and co-workers in ministry, but they are all married and have their own families here who consume their time. My family should be my church. But they’re all so wrapped up in their own family lives that there’s no room for people like me. Here comes that word again, I “feel” like I could drop dead on Friday afternoon and no one would notice until I didn’t show up at work on Monday.

    I get physically sick every Saturday night from dreading church so much the next day. I go to Sunday school and hear women go on and on about their children and husbands and I sit in silence because I have nothing to contribute to the conversation and they never notice. I sit in church surrounded by couples and children and listening to pastors preach about being godly mothers and fathers and wives and husbands. I’ve tried to build those relationships you talk about, but it’s just depressing because I don’t fit in their lives any more than I fit in the church. And to illustrate that fact, I haven’t been invited to lunch after church by anyone in my church (or previous church) in at least 5 years….and that’s probably a conservative number…and I was the Sunday school teacher for the women’s class for 2 of those years! It’s not like I was cowering in the corner somewhere! And those women I taught for 2 years are wonderful, sweet ladies who would be appalled at that fact. It just didn’t occur to them that maybe the teacher would like to eat lunch with someone other than her dog today. And maybe the reason they never considered it, at least in part, is due to a failure in church leadership.

    Now I’m in a place where I’m incredibly frustrated with church. I despise going to church. I’m southern baptist! That goes against the very fiber of my theological and ecclesiastical beliefs, but it’s just the truth. And I’m just so tired and sad that it’s come to this, but churches and pastors just don’t seem to care. If I express this, I’m selfish/whiney/pouty/must be living in sin/prideful/full of self-pity/have a mind set of being “deserving, not serving” and so on. And I’m just fed up for feeling guilty about being so disappointed in THE Church for being so unwilling to recognize what I consider a fatal flaw in reaching a lost world that looks increasingly an awful lot like me in a lot of ways.

    I’m a mature, committed, educated believer and I feel this way. Can you even try to imagine what going to church must feel like for those who share my circumstances but not my faith? Is the gospel so narrow-minded? Obviously not. Thank god that my commitment to Him is based on His grace and goodness towards me. Because if it was only on the church, as a previous post stated, I’d never darken its doors again.

    Yes, there’s no perfect church because there are no perfect people, but that’s no excuse to belittle the genuine hurt of people who believe that the church is failing in its mission to encourage and build up the body of Christ. And I’m not saying that was the intent of this article, but it’s how I felt when I read it.

    With that said, I so appreciate the way you’ve responded with grace to some of the other criticisms in the comments. Sorry this was so long! God bless!

    • Brian Moss says:

      Mandy, thank you for sharing your heart. You are not alone. Believe it or not, pastors and their families are often put into the same category. Who wants to hang out with a pastor or his wife? It can be VERY lonely. Add to that the fact that many seminaries used to teach pastors NOT to make friends in their church because it might cause jealousy. That’s a recipe for total isolation and incredible loneliness. I decided a long time ago not to follow that prescription. I am a strong proponent of small groups. Not Bible studies, but genuine life-on-life groups that accentuate true fellowship. Most people are not looking for a friendly church, they’re looking for friends. Sunday School never did it for me. Sadly, the environment works against developing real friendships. Small groups hosted in homes tend to foster greater intimacy. I won’t lie, it takes some real work to find a good small group, but it’s worth the work. I would recommend that you not give up until you can find a group of friends that can relate to your age/stage. That will probably never happen in a church service. It has to happen in a small environment. I commit to pray for you.

    • Deb says:

      I identify with this. I am an old (66) woman, single, and about the only time I remember being approached by anyone after services is when I brought a man along with me once. Then some guy hurried over to welcome us because he thought we were a new couple checking out the church. My pastor seems to have taken a severe dislike to me because I (a) don’t believe that the earth is 6000 yr old, (b) am starting to wonder what they are doing at these miracle healing services because nobody seems to be healed of anything very serious or visible and (c) because I don’t believe that going to college necessarily makes you an atheist. I have been going to a Vineyard church. I was attracted to it because of all the energy in the services but I’m am now thinking “what was I thinking”?????

    • Amarantine says:

      Yes, church can be a ‘families-only’ country club that avoids real relationship with anyone else. It’s about fitting in, and being seen to do the ‘right’ things.
      Church should be a 50/50. A place where you can take as well as give, not somewhere where you wear yourself out serve, serve, serving until there is nothing left to give. A few ascetics are suited / called to that type of life, and while part of church’s job is to remind people to care for others and not be selfish, it can’t demand absolutely everything from a person, because that would be a controlling cult, not a church where people freely meet to share the love of God.
      Above all church should be a place where you can be honest about yourself and not have to pretend or dissemble – or be a clone of everyone else.

      • Amarantine says:

        Oops, that was meant to be a reply to Mandy.
        But Deb, seriously, your pastor hates you because you don’t believe the earth is 6,000 years old?! Hahahahaha! Gotta love Vineyard.

        • Deb says:

          The one who preached the sermon about the world being 6,000 ur old concluded by throwing the Bible down on the lectern and saying “that’s the truth it’s settled, and I believe it!” So I questioned the lead

          • Amarantine says:

            Ooookaay….backs away slowly from the lectern…
            Do not question, dear sheep!

          • Deb says:

            Sorry, internet kicked off. I questioned the lead pastor about the 6,000 yr thing after the service and he said he didn’t believe the earth was Exactly 6000 yr old, but…….the guy who preached that sermon believed it and he’s an elder on the board of this church. Here’s my recent dilemma: i have a few friends here from different activities we have done but I can’t see giving money to this church to go out and convert people to something I don’t believe. The pastor avoids talking to me because I question what’s going on here. My church from childhood was Methodist and our small town Methodist church is nearly dead. Nobody goes. I feel lost.

  49. Hi Brian – thank you for your vulnerability and strength to share something like this in our media-crazy world. It is a testament to your character and desire to hold your brothers and sisters in Christ accountable for not only their personal actions toward others, but their personal relationship with Jesus.

    As an expat living abroad, I’ve come to appreciate the church in a whole new light. It truly goes beyond the building, events, small groups. It is the thread that connects us with other believers – “A chord of three strands is not easily broken”.

    I will, however, offer this insight. As a mom of a toddler, sometimes the pressure to be “involved”, to “serve” the church, just adds to my to-do list. It becomes something to check off the list, something to stress over, something to be prideful of, instead of the humble servant act it should be. Church “burn out” by those who are always “doing” is very real, because the “doing” is no longer connected to the “serving”. Our culture glorifies “busy-ness” and if we aren’t careful, we will do that in our churches too.

    It’s paramount that we pay attention to our brothers and sisters in Christ – that we see them and approach them with love when they really just need a Sabbath – a break, a breath, a rest – from the “doing” in the church. Sometimes we all just need to “be” with God, to refresh us, to refill us, so that we may pour His love out again.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hey Heather – totally agree about the pressure issue. I believe being a mom is your first and most important ministry. I encourage mothers of little ones to do less church activity and more family time. In fact, we intentionally do less activities at our church for that very reason. Blessings!

  50. Sherry Girvin says:

    Dear Brian,

    I feel very sad about the member who left your congregation and received an exit interview about his ability to execute the instructions sermonized to him previous to his leaving your church. The love of Christ is what people are starving for not sound teaching. People are not being fed Jesus. The Bible says everything Jesus did on the Earth could not fill all the books of all the world. Everything Jesus did certainly doesn’t fill all the sermons in the world either. Marriage, money, witnessing; weeks of instruction when they just want to hear God loves them, how much He loves them, why their sin and shortcomings don’t scare God; they want to overflow with every spiritual blessing in Christ. They want to feel love from God. How much Jesus is too much? Can you preach Jesus too much? Is there any subject in this world in the short 2 hours (which includes worship)that I want to hear about except Jesus Christ? That is 104 hours a year (including worship)out of 8,760 hours in my year and my pastor thinks I want to hear something other than God loves me; some teaching besides how to be intimate with God. My relationship with God needs to be strengthened in those few hours.
    The world is a dark place. People return to it because there is no difference between the church and the world.
    Thank you for reading my response. Sherry

  51. Nancy says:

    I am in total agreement about my responsibility to the church, however, I am a displaced Yankee in a Southern state. I have hesitated to join a congregation because of the cultural divide. Then I met a few members of a local UMW who convinced me to try again. It was so nice. My husband and I attended services every Sunday for several months, I joined a group of ladies who were knitting dishcloths to sell to help with the cost of a new heating/cooling system, I was making good Christian friends. And then, the other shoe dropped. The Pastor while speaking to the children explained a Catholic sacrament,(Communion)this way, “The celebration comes from a heathen belief that the Priest is able to turn bread into God.” He ended the statement be explaining that Catholics base much of their church on voodoo. He then explained voodoo and by that point I was so upset I couldn’t breath.
    Suffer the little children to come and learn bigotry.

  52. RustBeltRick says:

    If you sell tomatoes by the roadside and no one’s buying, the LAST assumption you should make is that everyone driving by has bad expectations and therefore you don’t need to make any changes to your activities. There are reasons people leave churches, or attend out of obligation. Perhaps do some self-evaluation and see if there are some things you are doing to alienate people. Ask new questions. Don’t be defensive.

  53. LauraA says:

    Hi, Pastor Brian. I’m a bit perplexed about a conclusion you post in point 1 that “music is not worship”. Having been a part of church music since high school at a variety of churches with a variety of musical styles, I’ve never encountered a pastor who felt this way. Care to explain a bit more about how you arrived at this conclusion?
    Thanks.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Laura – my point is that, biblically speaking, music in and of itself is not worship. Music can be used to worship but worship is much more than singing. I define worship as honoring God with our lips and our lives. It encompasses every aspect of our lives. Hope this helps!

  54. Chris says:

    I left church not because of church, I left because of a god who couldn’t meet the simplest of expectations. Once I began to question the history of the bible, the origins of the church, and lack of logic and inconsistency in the bible, I realized the whole christian experience was in people’s minds and had no bearing on reality

  55. Frank Mill says:

    What I’ve learnt:

    1. Everything is ultimately all up to me.
    2. Despite this, I still need someone to explain religion to me
    3. Only serving the church will get me “like Jesus”
    4. The church/pastor decides whether or not a church lets me down, not me, because I am probably approaching faith from a selfish perspective, or I am confused, or different, or didn’t give 10% of my income

  56. Molly says:

    This article literally made me cry. I had been in church my whole life until 2 years ago when I finally walked away. I was not one of those people who complained about the music or didn’t attend core groups or sat stoic in the back. I was one of those 20 per centers who did 80 percent of the work. I was on the worship team and clean – up team and in the nursery. I went to the moms group and gave my tithe (more than 10 percent in fact),and when “life happened” to me, NO ONE even noticed I was gone. Not at just one church…at 3 separate evangelical, “bible believing” churches! I gave up on it because it is BS! And if you don’t believe that a pastor is supposed to “be there” for his congregation then you are the problem! Are you not also part of the “Body of Christ” or did you graduate from that when you became a “pastor?!” The the “church” as we do it in the US in 2014 is NOT what Jesus intended and I will never walk back into it. Jesus is not about budgets and building programs! And she sure as hell expects his “pastors” to shepherd his flock!!!

    • Brian Moss says:

      I am sorry you were wounded Molly. You are absolutely right when you said “Jesus is not about budgets and building programs.” Not sure if you read my Part 2 post but it may give you a little more clarity on my perspective or it may not. Either way, I am sorry you were hurt.

  57. Laila says:

    How sad that you did not take the “exit interview” or subsequent aired grievances as opportunities to self-reflect and consider the ways in which the church fails to meet people’s needs. Instead, you take the prideful stance and assume people are the problem, not you.

    You are wrong about the church not making promises. I grew up in church my whole life, and I heard plenty of promises. It promises that if you do everything they say (or what the bible says), you will be fulfilled. It promises that the christian life is the best life, and that all you need is Christ to have joy. It promises that serving is the best way to feel connected with God.

    Well, what about when that doesn’t work? What about when you feel empty despite the fact that you pray and read your Bible? What about when you are so exhausted from pouring yourself out and no one pours into you because “churches exist for the purposes of their non-members?” What about when the church encourages Doing Things and a religious dogma that leaves you with shame and guilt when you can’t measure up? What about when the church is spiritually abusive? Well according to the church, I must be doing something wrong.

    You may think that your church is different, that anyone who leaves in frustration must be ungodly or selfish or whatever. But this article proves that you are exactly like all the others. People like you are the reason people are leaving the church. It boggles my mind that pastors are so blind and blame everyone and everything but themselves. Ever consider that maybe, just maybe, you’re doing something wrong? Maybe the system isn’t working?

    Apparently seminary does not teach you self-reflection or listening skills.

  58. David Drury says:

    Brian:

    This is very hard for me to read.

    I am a church member, I am the son of a pastor, and have a seminary degree.

    When you talk about a person, upon exiting the church, who says that the church “failed to meet their needs” and then comfortably proffer that they “expected what the church never promised,” I hear animosity. I hear the gears grinding to come up with a plausible explanation. A defense. And then a list of five “Thou Shalt Nots.” On some level, the people leaving your church may just be looking for the New Testament.

    If they express disappointment, why do you see it as a challenge to the divine nature of the church? As opposed to the nature of the kinds of people that gather at and administrate church (broken, flawed, unique, journeying, etc)? Don’t you share in their holy disappointments? Because even when they are flippant or have outlandish expectations–like they thought they were signing on for a free membership in a country club–there is a very real disappointment buried in there somewhere, and I guarantee you it is a holy one. In spite of their expectations, no one who has felt loved well leaves a church. Feeling the presence of God isn’t a light switch. You know that. It is hard to make friends. It is difficult to serve, much less “change the world.” We all are trying to sort out the truth and align ourselves with it. We crave love. Do you have a corner on these markets? By the way, gifted teachers “explaining the Bible” is never a good thing. Gifted teachers walking with me into the promises, mysteries and difficulties of the Bible is a wonderful thing.

    What if, when someone says the church failed to meet their needs, you saw it not as an affront, but a gift? A chance at filling that which is missing by listening to them well , empathizing, apologizing, and coming alongside them not from the pulpit down, but from the gutter up. Pastoring is a cold, wet, muddy slog arm in arm with people whose middle fingers are directed at God. Anything less is not pastoring, right?

    • Brian Moss says:

      Great points David. I actually agree with you.

    • David son of a pastor, this blog is a case study in how people hear through their own life experience. I hear a pastor giving a gentle warning that is mandated in scripture. His ministry does not look desperate. His heart to me was amazing and humble. He did not sound bitter but rather deeply concerned. The parable of the sower clearly tells us people fall away and most pastors feel Gods heart when this happens. Wrong expectations in any relationship can cause problems and this pastor is an expert and proven to help us with biblical expectations. We all hear through our own life experiences and I hope people assume the best of this pastors intentions.I believe people could realy grow by receiving this word of wisdom.

  59. Claudia says:

    What I’m hearing here is that if you’re too introverted and “broken” to be as proactive as you suggest, then the church is no place for you until you’re better. Sounds like victim blaming to me, not Jesus.

  60. Lisa says:

    Brian, I have worked in a church for the past 20 years. I have made many lifelong friends. I love my church family. I seek God daily surrendering to His plan for my life. I have shared my hurts and disappointments with Him. He healed my heart when my husband of 25 years left me. Never once did it occur to me that my pain and sorrow would be healed by people, not even Jesus loving awesome people. Honestly, at that time the teaching I was receiving at my church was not helping me learn to walk through this horrible situation. It was helping many others in areas of their life, but not speaking to what I was going through. I knew if I went to anyone in the church and asked for counsel they would do their best to “be like Jesus” to me. Instead of blaming anyone for the fact that the sermons were not meeting my needs I took it upon myself to seek out additional teaching and encouragement. I still went to church every week thanking God for the opportunity to serve Him and to be served by others. My Pastor is not my Savior. My Pastor is man who works 60 some hours per week for fair pay. He truly wishes he could personally know and spend time with everyone that walks through the door. I work so hard on Sundays to make my rounds looking for anyone who needs a hug, prayer or a smile. I truly wish I had the super powers some people think I have as a church leader. I am one person, who loves Jesus with everything I’ve got. I love people and spend many hours sharing life and struggles with those who are hurting, but God won’t let me be perfect. So I point them to Him. I have been let down by my leadership in the past, but every time I sought God to show me what they did wrong; He pointed my finger right back at me. He insisted I forgive and love the unlovley. I did not like that answer, but 8 years later I see why He asked me to forgive and focus on Him. He is the only one who will never disappoint me. I completely understand where you are coming from and the true intent of your article. When you give it all you got with the best intentions only to be told, ‘you stick’ it hurts. But, we keep that to ourselves and set out to try again. God appreciates it and so do many, many others. Thanks for loving people! Keep on keeping on! You are on my prayer list this week.

  61. Sheila says:

    Some great points, but I do take issue with #3. I am so tired of attending “relevant” SS classes on money management, parenting, relationships, evangelism, etc. Whatever happened to taking a book of the Bible and going through a point-by-point, meaty study of it? The above subjects are important and I do think can be included in SS classes. But when that is all the church offers, for months and months, yes, I am going to start feeling spiritually starved. Just my perspective.

  62. barbara lehr says:

    i’ve been in a church for about 8 years after using my servants heart on an adventure of about 25 years giving and knowing i was loved by both staff and church members……then it totally imploded– about 15 people wanted to get rid of the minister and caused the entire collapse of this church. now i’m in a church — had surgery (back) Jan’14 and two times in July ’14. 9 months of surgery, and recoop time. Not ONE staff/minister person sent a card-e mail, phone call, or visit. when i asked for help with my husband’s chemo visits, i was told “oh we’ve got a whole committee that does that” and that was the end of it. i DO believe as a church member -there are certain actions that are expected — when they are not–(in my case) i do not ask, expect or even think i am going to be “serviced” by my church. i’m am still there (valued friends), but feeling loved is NOT one of the reasons.

  63. barbara lehr says:

    p.s. i KNOW i am loved by God and the relationship with our Lord is valued more than any situation in any church, but we are still human with feelings…..

    • Brian Moss says:

      Agreed. We all need to be loved and cared about. So sorry to hear about your husband. I pray you and your husband are doing better.

  64. Allison says:

    Actually, I left the church for none of the above reasons.

    I left because I was being bullied for being deaf. The church became a place of pain and rejection, especially after getting implanted at the age of 16. People would tell me that I hadn’t “been faithful” and hadn’t “allowed God to heal me by himself” because I’d moved forward with the procedure. (Twice.)

    They seem to forget that getting implanted made me stronger. I got my life back and I finally had enough with the teasing and bullying by both teens and adults.

  65. James says:

    Fair enough points made here. I do wonder about the validity of the example provided in #3. Consider if someone was not being challenged in a classroom. The homework is remedial, the information uninteresting or worse, not applicable, and the instructor holds back when they could genuinely challenge. Why would anyone put any effort into that class? It seems natural that they would fail at most of the directives offered by the instructor; particularly, if the instructor encourages them to endorse the course and invite friends. If the student does not find the course worthwhile, naturally they would not endorse it to others, no pour any resources into it.

    I find this particularly interesting at “seeker friendly” type church models. Yes, milk first, but then if meat never shows up (in order to continue meeting the needs of the unbeliever and unsure), then why would people moving forward in their walk continue to stay or get more engaged/involved? That’s an honest question, and I’d love to get some perspective.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Thanks James! a couple of notes. First, it’s important to define “meat” and maturity. I define spiritual maturity by implementation not just information. Many Christians define “meat” as deeper knowledge. Nothing wrong with that but needs balance. We’ve mistaken meaty Christians for mature Christians. Yes, churches should have varying degrees of biblical studies, but need to emphasize ACTION over knowledge. Knowledge puffs up; love builds up. Blessings to you my friend.

      • Ashley says:

        Not Action over knowledge but action equal with action. The power is in the Word and faith comes with hearing sp does the healing of the broken hearted. It is essential to know what we are doing and to go more intimatelt in Him whicj happens by molk than meat

  66. James Wong says:

    We have been in this church for 20 years . We have great friends and wonderful fellowship but will be exiting soon, Why?
    The music is a concert of performers.
    Drums are overpowering.During prayer time and communion it is louder so that prayers cannot hear.Songs sung have no bearing to the message or the occason.During communion the songs dont reflect on Christ on the cross butother themes.Our excellent pastor just resigned.
    He was there 15 years but received no farewell gathering.
    James

    • Peter says:

      Couldn’t agree more.
      Over the years I have prayed for many people down at the front of our Church and for the most part I find myself yelling in their ear. The music is normally so loud I can’t even hear myself let alone them.
      PS. I thought Faith Cometh by Hearing 🙂

      • Brian Moss says:

        That’s why I am such a strong proponent of small groups. Great place to really give time to pray over someone without distractions.

  67. “Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.” Mark 4:5-6

  68. Hurting says:

    Brian,

    Please just pray for me and our church. There is a great need in my church for much more sensitivity to individual’s true needs and hurts in my church (not just mine by the way) and when I tried to raise some awareness about it, I feel as though your article was used as ammunition against me. It grieves my heart, but when people can’t hear your heart, sometimes I think it’s better to leave and not cause more hurt.

  69. sabrina says:

    I didnt read the whole thing. Didnt need to. I lost interest because there were to many hypocrites. All my life I heard about’dont adorn youself, no jewelry’ but what is all the fancy clothes and the make up but another kind of adornment!
    And the Christian attitude went out the door if they didnt like someone or something…they were to judgmental.
    And I was helped only to have it held over my head…we did this so u have to do this…or we wont do this if u dont do this…

  70. Jordan Davis says:

    I’ve spent the last two years serving as an Assistant Pastor in Church. Now I’m not. I have to say, I am flabbergasted by this article and it makes me not want to go to Church. The biggest thing I noticed is the lack of scriptural support for any of your points. You wrote this article from a contemporary American Church stance, not a scripture stance. Church IS supposed to be about its members. Their discipleship and their sanctification. Somehow we (and you apparently believe this too) equate going to Church with living a Christian life or being a good Christian. I’m so sick of this crap. Going to Church and being active is not what Christ asks of us. And YES I read the entire article. If someone isn’t being fed by your teaching and you reference a whole bunch of series you taught, maybe you should reference the scripture you taught instead. This article is a bunch of crap in my opinion and I hope no one else reads it and gets turned off.

    • Jordan, I believe Pastor Brian wrote this blog in belief that solid local churches need Christians to serve a liitle more and deserve a LITTLE less. Pastors, parents, and even presidents will use verbiage like this every so often. To be as agressive, appalled and condeming on such a grand scale seems like an over response to a pretty good blog, how be it not perfect. Thx for serving in ministry for 2 years it is a hard job and easy to get cynical carrying out the burden. I think this great pastor tried to share some other thoughts in his 2nd article. I think his heart was instructive and yes challenging but yours was way over the top judgemental. I think you owe this good man an apology. He doesn’t seem to be evil, just different from you. I would imagine 1000s whould say he has been a life saving blessing and tool in God’s hands. If you could soften your stance a little I’m sure this pastor could be a friend and mentor to you. He seems to me to be authentic and sharp.

  71. Ashley says:

    Can u provide me with Scriptire supporting the idea that the local church is only intended to meet the needs of the unchurched? Because Im pretty sure the Bible says to make disciples not just converts. Also, are u saying the churched dont need hope and healing as well? I agree music is not worship and relationships are vital. So is trust in ur teacher and if there are unmet needs than the pastor is supposed to be a prime example of service. Involved in routine direct contact with sheep just as a real shepherd does. Consider thepastor with the Pharasie spiritwho left the hury batteted man on the side of the road.

    • Brian Moss says:

      Hi Ashley, good questions. I’m not saying that the church should only meet the needs of the unchurched. Certainly the church is God’s gift to believers for building us up in the faith. Yes, the pastor(s) set the example of modeling everything that is expected of a believer. Shepherd lead the flock from the front. Blessings to you.

  72. Ashley says:

    Forgive my typos Im on and old phone and I type fast. O meant not action OVER knowledge. Sorry.

  73. Lance Rengel says:

    “PASTOR” Mike Connaway said – “If you don’t like church don’t go!” Find a church you like were you can hold the pastor accountable. But remember you must also being willing to be accountable.”

    Mike – that is the problem. There aren’t any, or very few. Reading your comments I doubt you would ever tolerate any serious criticism from a church member. Look at your first sentence highlighted by an exclamation mark – “If you don’t like church don’t go!” That is your heart on this issue; “If you “the pew dweller” don’t like it here, go find another church where a pastor would be so foolish as to allow criticism.”

    The most recent church I was at the pastor even said in a sermon that he does not allow the congregation to hold him accountable. He has other pastors from his denomination hold him accountable. What do they know about what’s going on in the local church? Only what their fellow pastor tells them.

    You, and other pastors, are so defensive that you are not reading what the criticism is. Nobody is calling Brian an abusive pastor. What we are pointing out is that many, many, many Christians depart the church for reasons OTHER than the ones he mentioned, and the OTHER reasons are mainly due to BAD pastors and or bad leadership (I acknowledge that there are behind the scenes power people who try to control the pastor(s) as well).

    Mike I am sure you are a nice guy. But on this issue you need to take a step back and try to understand the hurt that Christians have endured from bad pastors. Being a pastor yourself you are unable to empathize, but you could at least not display show much scorn at at wounded sheep.

    • Its a blog so I got to the point. Text and blogs are hart to be emotionally intelligent in. Lol. I love criticism and surround myself with aggressive people. There are a lot of churches out there like mine. Infact my own blogs and online line communications is always look at by a team and sometimes i have to take them off. i cheated o. This one because its another pastors sobI went rogue. Lol. Probably why it didn’t sound to you like it should. Lol. i feel ya, I truely do! But I also feel this pastor. I will begin to pray for you by name. You just need a good fit where your valued. Keep trying it’s worth the effort

      • Deb says:

        “Just remember y’all, your preacher’s not your God”. Kirk Franklin

        • I love that quote by Kirk Franklin also every pastor needs to knowthe church members are angels according to the Scriptureswe are all wrong and the Word of God is right let’s just be scriptual. all of us need more humility and all of us need to be part of the local church

        • I love that quote by Kirk Franklin also every pastor needs to knowthe church members are angels according to the Scriptureswe are all wrong and the Word of God is right let’s just be scriptual. all of us need more humility and all of us need to be part of the local church

  74. Laura Hall-Schordje says:

    I am not inclined to agree with this article because of some experiences I have had in churches. When the author says it is a place with gifted teachers, or a place where your gifts will be used, etc., it actually has to be a place with gifted teachers and who will utilize your gifts. I struggled a long time in my first church to volunteer in some meaningful way, but the old guard did not want to let go of much to younger members. If you want details to my stories, I can give them. Then there were places where I worshiped for several months, tried to join in groups at coffee hour for conversation, and months later had still never experienced a single person saying, “Would you join us?” Attending Bible study at a church for several months and finding it vacuous–and the pastor agreed but left it go on. And standing in church offering my pie for a bake sale, my talents in the kitchen and choir, and being told it’s all covered–even as I read in the bulletin they need help. You cannot give when people will not accept.

    This article is true only in a church that has the resources that he describes. Worship needs to be good (not perfect) because badly done worship does interfere with the ability to connect with God. Teachers have to be able. The church *family* needs to be open and at least somewhat welcoming. Nobody wants to fight to fit in. And I agree I can be a person of impact, but it is a lot harder in a church that is much more focused on making the budget than spending money and resources and attention on the world.

    I am a church pastor, 4 months into my current call. When someone tells me they are not getting fed, I ask what is the barrier to participation. The vast majority of people can name it. That was true in my current congregation. People told me “worship.” We worked on it, and it is much improved. People are inviting others and telling me they feel uplifted. Better worship is changing us all. Sometimes we really need to listen to people who are not feeling fed. We may not be offering the feast we think we are.

  75. Mike says:

    Some people leave churches for good reasons and there are many. Some people leave churches for bad reasons and there are many. I think the blog skilfully layed out the bad reasons. If no church is good enough for a person that gives us an insight into that person. If no church member is ever good enough for a pastor the same is true. Many pastors are not truely called and the grace to pastor might not be there. Education, care and even love is not enough to pastor over time and frustration and control can creep in. Not just shopping for church but praying and being lead by the Holy Spirit to a church will give a member grace because it is a call not a choice. More grace is needed in church everywhere from everyone. This Great pastor seems to have asked people to check their hearts and God’s heart before leaving a church. He sounds to me by his gentle responses to critical people on this blog that he is consistently check his heart. So refreshing to hear wisdom from a balenced pastor.

  76. Robin says:

    This is silly:

    “So let me get this straight. You say you’re not being fed. You need some deeper preaching, but you don’t even do the stuff that my ‘shallow preaching’ addresses.Hmm, I’m not sure it’s my preaching that needs changing.”

    Why not just get up every Sunday and say:

    “stop being selfish”

    Then, if people complain that the service isn’t challenging or enriching, tell them:

    “well, have you stopped being selfish? You don’t even do the stuff my ‘shallow’ preaching addresses.”

    you need to think a little deeper than this.

  77. Liz says:

    I have attended a lot of church’s. We have lived in 4 different states in the last three years. I knew from age 3 on that my life was for God and I am to pastor/ teach children in a non secular way.I do not have a capow moment of rebirth. Even when our third son died at 6 weeks I never blamed God my faith is strong. We have been homeless and you name it we cling to Gods words give thanks and push through. When we move to a new town our first plan it to attend a church and get involved. I have that to getter personality the one to ask if they need help and beg to be out to work. However the last few church’s we have attended DO NOT want the outsiders. They use first names during service and they don’t even call to check after 3 months of every Sunday and every youth Wednesday. I recently was told because I don’t hold bs (life happens im 18 credits ahort) I can not work in a church. (By a reverend) And also been told because I have been homeless that my feet are no planted and shows I can’t take care if my house or kids. (I’m a women lol) and I need to be picked by a human to serve. I have daily testomoines I joke with my husband that I swear were gypsys for Gods graces and blessings. I am a great asset to churcha for Gods abilities to provide.God called me to be a church planeter I know this. But to deal with families and youth focus. Any ways. In this day and age we need to be reaching MORE people with Christ out side the 4 walls. I enjoyed your article. I can not wait to find a place I can learn and grow with.

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