When your church isn’t perfect

why should I go to church, giving up on church, reason for going to church, churchI have an announcement to make.

It’s kind of big.

After much thought I have decided to do something that I never thought I would do.

I am quitting church.

Why you might ask?

Well, there are many reasons but here are just a few.

It’s full of hypocrites.

The worship just isn’t my style.

I don’t always agree with the pastors messages.

And I’ve been studying God’s Word and walking with Him most of my life so I think I’ve got this Christianity thing down on my own.

If I start missing it for some odd reason I can always podcast a service on Sunday morning from the comfort of my couch.

Sounds like a pretty perfect plan, right?

Not really.

See, if church was just a building you show up to on Sunday morning to do some typical religious routines then I can see how it might seem like a waste of time.

But it’s not.

Church is so much more than a building; it’s the body of Christ coming together as one under the headship of Jesus Christ.

It’s not a gathering of people who qualify to fit into the “club” of Christianity.

It’s a family.

And the only qualification you need to enter is to have a broken and messed up life.

So many people don’t go to church because they get hung up on the fact that Christians are “hypocrites.”

A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another.

And I hate to break the news to you but some of the greatest hypocrites were Jesus’ closest friends.

There was room for Peter in Jesus’s circle even though he promised Jesus that he would die for him only to deny that he even knew Him a mere six hours later.

There was room for Thomas in Jesus’s circle even though he doubted that He was really alive after His resurrection.

There was even room for Judas in Jesus’s circle even though He knew he would betray Him.

And it’s interesting to think that we can so easily reject the idea of going to church because there are hypocrites in it when those are the very people that Jesus spent time with.

He didn’t have a list of requirements to meet for whom He would include in His circle of friends so why should we?

I love what Vladimir Savchuk said about this in one of his sermons.

When someone says “I won’t join a church because it’s full of hypocrites” tell them “there is room for one more.”

See, church is not a gathering of perfect people who have all their stuff together.

No.

It’s a gathering of imperfect people who lead just as messy lives as anyone else in the world.

People who are broken and bruised by the trials of life.

The only difference about them is that they know who to take their pain to and they know that they are in desperate need of a savior to make it through this life.

The fact that churches seem to be full of hypocrites shouldn’t be a surprise or an excuse to anyone when making the decision to join a church.

If anything it should make you feel comfortable to enter into a place where broken people come to be transformed by Christ and to learn to live life not in hypocrisy, but in transparency and honesty with Christ.

The church is also a family.

And it’s not the “Jone’s” version of the family.

It’s the real version where not everyone sees eye to eye, agrees on how things should be done, and gets along.

But you don’t leave your family just because things get tough.

From the very moment we were born God gave us families to be part of because He knew we needed the support of people who love us to help us grow in life.

And not only does He give us an earthly family, but also a spiritual one that is there to support us and help us grow in our faith daily as we walk with Christ.

I think one of greatest lies anyone can believe is that they don’t need to be part of a church family because when we are isolated from the body of Christ we become the most vulnerable to the enemy.

If you are not part of a church family who will you have to intercede for you when you are facing a struggle or going through a storm?

If you are not part of a church family who will you have to encourage you and lift you up when you are discouraged and disappointed?

If you are not part of a church family who will you have to keep you accountable in your daily actions and habits as you walk with Christ?

The idea of walking out your faith alone sounds nice and adventurous to an extent, but that was never God’s plan.

He always wanted us to gather together just as we one day will in heaven, to not only worship Him on Sunday’s, but also to walk out our faith together the rest of our days.

So maybe you won’t always love the style of worship music.

Maybe you won’t always like what the pastor preaches.

Maybe you won’t see eye to eye and agree with everyone you meet.

But at least you will have people to walk side by side with you and help you grow in the process.

At least you will have a family to support you through the trials, the storms, and the triumphs in life.

Know that no church will ever be perfect because no matter how spiritual and well-meaning it might be it is still run by imperfect people.

But that should not stop you from being part of a family that you need.

Sitting on your couch and streaming services live will never replace physically walking through the doors of a church where you can join together with other broken believers in need of Christ.

Don’t try to make it on your own in life when you were never meant to.

God wants you to be part of His family, and that family begins in the church.

Be blessed and continue to stay plugged into a church family that you grow in! -Anna… 

“Let us not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:25

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47 thoughts on “When your church isn’t perfect

  1. We left the Catholic Church & do God’s work on the outside of those buildings. These buildings you defend were the places were children we knew were raped. This continued with many children over the years, with one priest after another. They shuffled these criminals around and allowed them to harm other children in our diocese. The buildings are crime scenes and cause much anxiety for many. We left the chirch but havent left God. We volunteer every week, giving clothes and food to the homeless, we create and plant gardens for those in need. We honor Him by serving others. Walls & a roof do not make us better Christians.

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    • I’m so sorry that that was your experience within the church Joan. It’s unfortunate that you dealt with so much pain in a place that should have been a home for people who loved and encouraged you in your walk with Christ. Walls and roofs don’t make us better Christians, I agree, but God does call us to gather together in unity to pray, learn, and encourage one another in His Word and truth and it’s beautiful when the people within the church treat one another as brother’s and sister’s with the love that God calls us to treat one another with. I pray that God will bless all the people in your life that you serve and that His truth and light will shine through as you bless those who are in need. God bless you!

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  2. I left church, because it does not live according to the Bible. I dont care about the hipocrites. I cant judge others when I am imperfect. Call me legalistic, but a church it should afhere to God’s laws. I would like a church to teach biblical things and not cater for worldly things. A church that gives me something more than what I had in the world. Its like the “been there done that” feeling. I need something more. I need God instead of people wanting to be gods. When I walk into a church I want the Bible to match the church worship. Jesus said do not be fooled. I just feel the church lack God’s influence.
    Thats just me.

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    • Hi Kelly, I agree, it’s very important that the people in the church live according to biblical teaching and not be like the world. We are called to be set apart and a light to those around us in our words and actions. I hope that you you have been able to find another church since then that you do feel worships God in spirit and truth and lives by the Bible. It’s always important to remain in community with brothers and sisters in Christ as the Lord taught us to in the scriptures. Be blessed!

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  3. Have you ever went to YouTube and searched pastor Gino Jennings? His telecasts are scripture based only not an opinion of what he thinks only what God commanded us to act and live. You should view it , it can be mind blowing all in one viewing!

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  4. “It’s a gathering of imperfect people who lead just as messy lives as anyone else in the world.”

    Are you saying that God accepts the worship of imperfect people?

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  5. Family doesn’t act as if you no longer exist when you cannot be with them any longer, though. So, a family you grew up with, THE only family you might have growing up, has absolutely nothing to do with you once you leave that building for another building. That’s not family. That jerkholes.

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  6. Pingback: Thanksgiving: the best time to look around | daughter by design

  7. Thank you for this Anna!
    It’s so sad when people think the church is a place of perfect people or a place where you have to act perfect! The church is a place where grace, mercy and love resides, God’s love. It is a testiment that God really loves us!
    My pastor said once,
    If you find a perfect church, don’t join it because you will mess it up!
    I was so challenged when you spoke about how God wants us to walk out our faith in community and not alone! That was never His plan. That really spoke to me!
    Because the church is not perfect there are things that will rub us the wrong or seem wrong but we should stick it out. That should not be the reason we leave it. Every church has its problems and flaws but like family we should not leave!

    I really enjoyed this post Anna! 😄

    Rolain

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  8. I speak under correction when I say the following but at the moment I am really convinced of it and I do acknowledge I am generalising:
    When a circumstances where one feels failed by leadership or the body causes someone to leave a gospel preaching bible believing church, I dare say their idea of the church’s function could be warped. As in “church is where the worship team is supposed to lead me into worship, the message should move me, the congregation should make me feel safe, loved, accepted and helpful preferably when I want it. If I have kids they should be catered to and other’s kids better not disturb my concentration… Etc.
    They saw it as a spa that caters to them and not an opportunity to cater to others as well and scrub some feet. Eg look after others children in Sunday school now and then so their parents and teachers can also soak under the reading and teaching of scripture.
    So when the spa is failing, they won’t they lead by example but will try find a better one till they give up or realise it is also a place where one gets ministered to as they serve. Maybe better to give than receive also applies here… I may stand corrected but that’s what I feel right now.

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    • Hi! I agree with you that many people see church as a place to come and be catered to instead of a place where they can serve. It’s really sad to see that when in the Bible it so clearly portrays Jesus serving his own disciples and teaching us to do the same. When we stop serving and instead always look for ways to be served by others we are missing a HUGE piece of what it means to really be a genuine Christian. It’s sad to see people jump around from one church to another looking for the one that will serve them best when they should really be looking for one where they can serve in. Yes, we should go to church to receive, but we should also go to give. If we don’t have both then something is missing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Be blessed!

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  9. I feel Our Heavenly Father is trying to let me know something about hypocrisy since I recently had an encounter with a sister from church, telling me she has a brother who is not Christian and it’s hard to bring him to church. More like it’s hard to get his attention of the importance of coming to church so she keeps telling him yet one time he told her, “do you know why I don’t go” and she said “why?”, he answered, “because it’s full of hypocrisy”.

    I feel God is trying to tell me something😉 thanks Anna I’ll be praying about it.

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    • That’s great! May God give you more clarity about what He wants you to understand. Hypocrisy is a stumbling block for many people when it comes to attending church (for good reason) but I don’t think it will ever be a good enough reason to neglect being part of a church family that you need to help you in your spiritual growth and walk with Christ. We all need one another no matter how broken we are.

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  10. Great post! God bless you. I was nervous for you until I kept reading. It’s so easy to get swept up in excuses and wander away from God. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thanks! Yes it is… and the enemy will help even help us with making great excuses not to be part of a church family which is a tragedy because we need one another’s love and support through all that God calls us to walk through.

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  11. Yes, agree completely! I don’t know why this is such a stumbling block for so many…maybe it’s an excuse for those who are looking for a reason to quit. ~ Sheila

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    • Yes, I think that could very much be it. We have to remember that if we needed to “qualify” in order to be part of church none of us would meet the standards of a “perfect” Christian and when we realize that it becomes a lot easier to extend grace to others and love your church family, even when it’s not the way you want it to be.

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  12. Amen and amen, Anna. Love how you pull people into the truth here. 🙂 Church is about human-to-human, life lived together family and relationship. You can’t get that on the Internet. Awesome post. Blessings.

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  13. Amen! Every church has its flaws, but, just as He does through individuals, that’s when God does His best work–through the imperfect, not the perfect. And you’re so right; a church is more than a building, it’s a family.
    Thank you for such a beautiful post. 🙂

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  14. Oh wow! I just loved this post – and then went round it again. And again. Because here I am wondering about the starting point: that church has a set of doors. And for some bits of the church that is true.

    For others – like this community – the doors are missing. Then there is fellowship over a meal in a pub … a front room … on a bus in a cold car-park with a bunch of youngsters … walking the streets when the clubs empty … being there for each other and those who never knew they are in need … and in your one bedroomed sheltered accommodation too frail to make the journey to those doors … … … … … and also a Sunday morning behind those doors.

    God’s family is everywhere. And His church is everywhere. If we keep implying (and you were not explicit) that His family gathers together in “that building” – how much more might we be missing – how many more are we missing?

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    • Thanks Paul! Yes, God’s family extends far beyond the four walls of church on Sunday morning. That was a hard concept for me to grasp in my earlier years in church but being a family doesn’t mean you just show up to a meeting once a week together but you LIVE life with one another all the time. It is all those things you mentioned above and more (and that’s why I love it!) It is sad for anyone to resort to church being just service they attend once a week instead of a family they are part of always. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Be blessed!

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  15. Hi, Anna- I just found your blog tonight, I was reading through several of your post and it was like I was reading my exact thoughts written out. Thank you for writing your blog. Know that God used it to speak to me. Thanks again.

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    • That is so encouraging to hear Chelsea! Thank you. I’m glad God used the words He put on my heart to speak to you! And it’s good to know I’m not the only who sees and thinks a certain way. 🙂 Be blessed!

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  16. Great insights, Anna! One thing I think the church is losing understanding of is covenant. It’s a solemn, binding agreement. God has called us to walk in covenant relationships not only with Him but with each other.. We so easily let the enemy divide and separate the areas of our relationships that were never meant to be broken. I see this happen too often within our churches..very sad 😦

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    • Thanks Megan! I agree, church is a covenant between us and Christ as well as one another and it is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just like in a marriage the husband and wife shouldn’t be too quick to jump to the option of divorce after making vows to love one another through the high’s and low’s of life so we shouldn’t be too quick to walk away from church because of disagreements or misunderstanding. Yes, there are some times that may be good to leave church (to transition to another one) but we are the body of Christ and we work better when we are united with one another instead of working against each other. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Be blessed!

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  17. Yes! I agree with patchingcracks, this is a great post. We are a family and it’s so important that we have unity…even in the mess that can be church. I’ve come to realize that it’s not always the message, but that the fact that I’m there to give someone a hug that can mean the most. Thank you so much for your transparency and obedience to the Holy Spirit in posting this. 🙂

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  18. Great post! My wife and I have struggled with the church on and off for years. It’s always been a temptation to walk away. In the end, belonging to a body of imperfect people is so important, we haven’t. Thanks for posting this.

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    • Thanks! I think going to church can be hard for believers and nonbelievers alike because of the many expectations we place on it. I always remind myself to give lots of grace to others because I want them to do the same for me too when I make mistakes and have shortcomings. When we remember that church is filled with imperfect people who don’t have it together at all times just like us it becomes easier to accept it the way it is and be motivated to do what we can to make a change for the better in ourselves first, and then in the church.

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