Are we supposed to be happy all the time? And if we’re not happy all the time – is there something wrong with us? If happiness is the measure of our Christian faith, then I’m afraid to say that we have all failed. I am willing to venture a guess that we are NOT usually happy every moment of every day…that’s just not going to happen.
I think we do ourselves a great disservice in the Church when we pretend everything is A-Okay all of the time.
We sometimes have this temptation to “play” church because we want to keep up appearances to the false-fact that we have it all together. Leaders and Pastors of churches are especially good at this. We’re supposed to be the shepherds of the flock that we’ve been entrusted with – how could we possibly reveal that we struggle…too?
We sometimes run scenarios in our heads that sort of go like this: “I must show them that the joy of the Lord is my strength, but I can’t reveal to them I have issues at home too.” Or; “Let’s just get through this hour of worship and then I can go home and wallow in my pain – no one understands me in this church.” Let’s face it, we all know that pastoring and leadership can be a lonely place sometimes. We have to make crucial decisions, not everyone in our churches will like those decisions or even like us. We struggle sometimes making real friends because it is hard to be vulnerable to members of your own flock, especially when sometimes some members have hurt you or stabbed you in the back with gossip, back-biting and malicious silly struggles for power.
I’m not condemning anyone today, I just wonder if this is all we can become as the body of Christ (right now, in our seemingly stagnant ways and phony pretenses) – or if there is more in store for us?
One of the hindrances of real, tangible church growth is also a two-edged sword: Trust.
Pastors, Leaders and Congregants struggle with truly trusting one another.
It’s hard on all sides. Guards are often left up. Church-goers are afraid to be open and honest with their pastors; pastors are afraid to show any weaknesses or doubts in front of their congregants. The two-edged sword slices both ways, and in this regard, it keeps us from truly experiencing authentic koinonia fellowship.
The Opposite of Trust is?
Yes, you guessed it – mistrust.
If we continue to worship in the Fake Church, we will continue to wear plastic smiles, but deep down we will be a hollowed out building made up of cold individuals trying to warm a pew on Sunday mornings – it’s just not going to work. Some have been playing this game for years. Some blame their trust issues on their upbringing or their personality type, or timing, or….but the reality is we weren’t called by God to be a church of fakers. NO! We are called to be united as one body; but what happens when the body doesn’t work together or trust one another? We get a bunch of people doing a lot of hard things but never together!
“But I’ve Been Hurt Before”
I get that! I have too. I’ve experienced the sharpening of knives in a place where God calls us to holiness. I’ve felt the scorn of supposed “loving” church members (it kind of felt more like hate at the time). I have witnessed leaders, with whom I had trusted, break my trust, burn the bridges and they stood there to watch it burn. I’m not pretending that these painful things don’t happen in Church – they do. Should they? Absolutely not! But does that mean we stop attempting to trust one another? Does that mean we put on our “church clothes” each Sunday and continue to hold up the facade while inside we’re struggling? Absolutely not!
We’ve both been hurt a time or two. Most likely (and I hope not) we’ll be hurt again. This shouldn’t hold us hostage as Christ-followers.
-I believe God WILL work all things for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
-I believe despite ourselves, He is still prompting us to be holy!
-I believe in the transforming power of The Holy Spirit – do you?
-I believe that forgiveness is a game changer!
-I believe that the only way to transform our churches is to be authentic in our struggles and real with one another.
-I believe that God still has work to do in His Church!
-I believe that the time for fakery and phoniness (if there ever was a “time” for it) is over – unless we want to die a slow painful Church-death.
Pastors, Leaders, Church Members – Stop attending the fake church!
Put down the distractions.
-Stop playing on your phones, stop keeping to yourselves, stop sitting idle in the pews!
Stop pretending to care when you don’t.
This may sound harsh – but it’s true.
I’ve been there.
I too have played the game…and it goes nowhere!
This is why the Fake Church needs to die, and die fast!
In its place, I hope we find an authentic group of people who care for one another despite their faults, issues and struggles. I might be naive, but I believe such a Church still exists, do you?
Something more to ponder today!
To God be the glory!