Before I begin…
Let us not be gold medal Olympians in jumping to the wrong conclusion.
I am not telling anyone not to go to church.
I AM saying that where you worship could be a barrier that stops you from having a relationship with God. That is all.
(Kinda) Quick Story
Before I moved to the Midwest, I attended a megachurch in Brooklyn, NY. The pastor was well known and I enjoyed going because I learned and grew with each teaching. One Resurrection Sunday, I took my niece with me to service. (She loved to go with me because we would get pizza at Target afterward. She quit me on the Sunday after I told her we weren’t getting pizza every week.) Anyway, that day as we finished worship and got quiet, I heard the Lord tell me to leave the church. I was flabbergasted. THIS WAS MY HOME CHURCH! I had finally committed and was attending regularly!
But, I left.
This was troubling for many reasons. I had no church home. So I sat and I prayed daily. I watched live streams and YouTube videos of your pastor’s favorite pastors. Maybe two months later, a group of people rang my doorbell. I wasn’t going to open. Initially, I thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. But they had on jeans and t-shirts – not the norm for my part of Brooklyn where JW’s wore long skirts and suits even in the summer heat.
So, I opened the door.
The leader of the group, the guy, tells me that there’s this church 4 blocks from my house and he tells me some other stuff about it, which the woman cosigns. They hand me a card. Then the guy said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I didn’t. He identified himself.
Well. Let’s just say HE KNEW ME WHEN I WAS IN MY LOW DOWN DIRTY SIN! Ha! I should have been mortified, but I found it hilarious! Look at who God would use to tell me about a new church! I went for a few weeks, but my stint at that church was short-lived because it was difficult for me to adjust to the lack of anonymity that I was used to. So I left. Surely there was a happy medium.
Where Does God Want to Plant You?
The night before my birthday, I begged God to go to church. I really wanted to praise and worship and thank Him for a new year – in His house.
My nephew who has autism and a limited vocabulary looked at me and said the name of the church. I hugged and kissed that boy and the next day, I took my niece, and we had a great service. We even won a t-shirt and had pizza! It was one of my favorite birthdays to date.
God had clearly weaned me off of my dependence on my Pastor and taught me to seek His face and direction by the Holy Spirit! I didn’t know it at the time, but I see it now.
When I arrived in the Midwest, I went to the first mini-mega church I could find. I had my anonymity and could gradually get acclimated.
You know what God did right after that 8AM service? He sent me on a journey to a little church in the countryside where there are fewer people than at that church near my house in NY. When I sat in the pew on the first visit, I heard the Lord say, “This is your church.” Surprisingly, I had no qualms. And, in the months that have passed, I see God is using me for His purposes. I couldn’t be happier.
What was the point of this? To help you see why YOU may need to stop going to THAT church…
Which Church? THAT church…
- Where you KNOW God has told you to leave.
- Your gift or ministry may be the answer to a prayer – somewhere else.
- The call on your life may need to be developed in a new space.
- OR, you may be the Jonah of the Body, causing unrest in your disobedience to leave.
- Where you are not encouraged or given tools to learn the Word of God.
- Your Pastor can’t be the only one who knows the Word. You may end up worshipping him and drinking the Kool-Aid! You’ve got to learn the Word so you KNOW the truth!
- Where you feel comfortable in your sin.
- Yes, we are all sinners. But, as Team Jesus, sin should make us UNCOMFORTABLE so as to push us to seek God for the change. If your church preaches forgiveness (which is beautiful, thank You Jesus), but not repentance, you may want to question where it is they desire for you to spend eternity.
- Where you “mentally leave the building” each week.
- This is a side effect of going to the wrong church. Sometimes, you aren’t alert because you cannot receive the Word of God from the messenger. Go. Now.
Your home church is supposed to help you grow – not just teach you how to shout and show out. When you don’t grow, you often wonder why you’re still in the same condition you were in last year and the year before that.
For example, your money problems keep mounting because of how you handle money, not because there is a shortage. And, not necessarily because you sow or don’t sow. But, if your church just tells you to come to the front for a financial prayer and doesn’t offer financial counsel, or tell you that you have to surrender your heart and ask for wisdom, you gon’ be mad like you played your last $50 in the lottery and didn’t even get the Powerball.
Get your church right – get your relationship with Jesus right.
Until part two,