What I Wish I Knew Before Quitting Church (Part 3)
Updated: Mar 28
Let's see one more.
The great expectation
We easily become disappointed and march out of church when church leaders fall short. We forget that these people were never our Saviour. We were looking at the wrong role models instead of looking at Jesus, who is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2, KJV).
The grouse against organised religion is based on decades and centuries of human failure that have left behind much pain and misery. Those failures are aggravated by the expectation that churches should be these hallowed and perfectly run organisations just like we would expect heaven to be.
Author, Speaker, and Spoken-word artist, Hosanna Wong in a beautiful book titled How (Not) to Save the World, wrote:
Our churches are not places of Pinterest-board perfection. They are places of worship. It can be unappealing and frankly exhausting going to a place that is about building the kingdom of God and not a kingdom of you.
But the devil would like for us to act as if it is all about the "kingdom of us" and not the kingdom of God. This was the same attitude that floored Adam and Eve and broke the first fellowship between God and Man.
Putting ourselves ahead of the kingdom of God is a sure-fire way to breaking fellowship with other believers and with God.
Running out of grace
Some years ago, the pastor of a church I attended humiliated me for showing up at a singles event he felt I was not qualified to attend. It was an unnecessary sneer comment that cut deep. On that occasion, I got it. I was from the poor part of the city and didn’t quite fit into the mould of upwardly mobile single professionals this pastor was trying to mentor into the marriage institution.
I felt the pain, but I took it on the chin and kept going to the same church. About two years later, I was believing God for a life-changing job breakthrough. I wanted to see the pastor to agree with me in prayers. He had taught us about the power of agreement prayers, and I believe it.
On this night, I waited patiently while he attended to other church members. I was shocked when the pastor emerged from his office and went home. He completely ignored me for reasons I would never understand.
I got the breakthrough, and I truly believed God heard my cry. I was grateful to God, but that marked the beginning of my cold war with church.
I suddenly realized that I didn’t need pastors and their churches. I did what any rational person would do. I walked away from the church because a church leader failed to meet my own expectations.
For the next couple of years, I avoided becoming involved or committed to a local church. I was roaming the wilderness and running away from the grace that saved me. I had forgotten how God showed up for me at the same time men let me down. I held on to the bitterness and ignored the grace that God had shown me.
The more I ran away from the body of Christ, the more I ran out of grace to run my race. I was losing battles after battles, until one battle brought me to my knees, with just enough time to crawl back to God's everlasting arms.
Before you go...
What is your own story?
You may have had your own ugly experiences. Maybe someone close to you did, and you don’t want to expose yourself to such experiences.
Whatever is the case, it's worth remembering that it is not about you. It's all about the kingdom of God. It's about your attitude towards the bride of Christ. It's about understanding your place in the body of Christ.
I encourage you to see the bigger picture. Look at Jesus, and you will see His bride in a new light, with yourself as a critical part of that glorious body that will be presented to the Lamb of God.
This is not to say you must stay back in church and endlessly take in abuses. If you want to serve and honour Jesus with your life, you may leave “a church”, but you should never quit "the church".
A leg or any other body part that has pain does not quit the body. It uses the supply of nourishment from other parts of the body to heal and resume normal functioning.
If you are going through a season of separation from the body of Christ for whatever reason, you are not alone. Many have walked that path, and many are still going there.
There's nothing wrong with you for feeling like quitting or actually quitting.
But don't stay there. Get up and move back home. Our Father is always at the front porch, with his loving arms stretched out and wide open for you to enter his embrace once again.
Prayer: Dear God, help me not to lose my place in the body of Christ, and in eternity. Help me to see Jesus despite the noise and distractions of the religious and social crowd around me. Amen.
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