Category Archives: churchgrowth

…then why doesn’t it work?

 

“Give your life to Jesus and you’ll never be alone again”

Or any other variation of that exact pitch. The promise that God in your life is going to make all the difference. The promise that he has the perfect spouse for you, the perfect goal or job in life or even health and wealth if you play your cards right.

The idea that making a spiritual alliance with the creator of all existence will somehow solve your deepest inner dilemma’s once and for all. Always with the disclaimer that it won’t be easy all the time.

And that’s only the starter kit. After that we have plenty of groups and programs to help you on your way to finding whatever it is you’re looking for. Prayer meetings, soaking sessions, seminars on the gifts of the holy spirit, preaching¬† and teachings on whatever we can construct out of the bible, and if that doesn’t work we’ll build on top of what was already built on top of that. Weekends where one church visits another one so you can all mingle. Weekends where we’ll tell you to be guilt free while at the same time telling you what a horrible sinful abomination of a creature you are.
And have you heard of our special one on one spiritual/therapy hybrid sessions?

Also, if you stick long enough with us you can even aspire to become part of our team.
You’ll fly like an eagle distributing pamphlets, praying for people, operating lights and sound, being on stage giving a pre-made preaching or even, yes you guessed it, doing the dishes and cleaning the toilet for the glory of God himself no less.

It doesn’t matter what you want to do in life we’ll try to make it work…just as long as you try to become like us.

And whatever you do, always say Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to you.
Did I say Jesus? I meant to say our church.

What more can we do to sell our Lord and savior, I mean Church, I mean product to you today?

*applause*
What a sales pitch huh? All of this buzz and activity around this cute and innocent idea they’re trying to sell. And surely it must work because these people are highly motivated.

Lets get back to the title. Then why doesn’t it work?
Why is it that after years and years of this crap I’m right now in a place in life where I’m putting the pieces back together again after leaving the aforementioned circus behind? Why is it that I am seriously considering getting some professional therapy to help me through the damage that’s been done by this sort of malarkey?
Why?

And please don’t tell me I didn’t try hard enough. Just don’t.
You can’t promise a God and a church that will take care of everything eventually and then shove it all in my shoes, that’s not fair by any stretch of the imagination.
That sounds more like a cheap scam.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking theism of any kind. We’re all entitled to experience the contemplative journey that lies behind that door if we so desire to and I feel we have a right to pilot that one ourselves as well in a healthy way.
But organized religion is just a scam, it’s just another way people found to exploit one of life’s wonderful innocent things and turn it into yet another gaping wound.

It’s the market place where a certain Nazarene once got quite angry.

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The silence of the sheep

Our little church fellowship was quick to adapt to the latest internet trends and implement them for their own use. That’s how we ended up with our own little private facebook group.

And the fact that it was private was great for a while, you could ask for prayer or similar things of a more personal nature that you didn’t feel comfortable sharing outside of your own church community.

That’s also how I approached church. I shared everything like it was family, some people were even surprised sometimes. Someone told me once she was impressed with how I openly shared that I had my heart broken by a girl back then (to give an example). And as much as I appreciated her positive noticing. I couldn’t help but also feel a slight disappointment.

Why was this noteworthy? Why wasn’t this commonly practiced to really share your feelings among another? It’s supposed to be a family right? But she was right, this wasn’t an everyday practice. In fact it would happen more often that I would open up about something deep during “smallgroup” like gatherings and it would lead nowhere or awkward silences. Oh don’t worry I always kept things appropriate. It’s that they just didn’t know how to deal with real conversations. Look if you’re going to encourage your church members to open up about personal feelings and experiences, don’t be surprised and stand by helplessly when they actually do come to the surface.

It’s embarrassing and hurtfull to the person opening up and it makes you look like a¬† jackass. It’s the equivalent to saying “fall backwards, I’ll catch you, just trust me” and then just letting the guy drop on his ass. (Yeah I’m a theist who uses semi-salty words, what about it?)

Which brings me to another instance. I once posted on before mentioned private facebook group an article about things that athiests and christians can find common ground in, and how we can improve living alongside one another.

In fact here it is=>
http://www.cracked.com/article_15663_10-things-christians-atheists-can-and-must-agree-on.html

It’s a long read and I don’t expect you to read all of it, it kind of boils down to this=> regardless of what your views and/or beliefs are, don’t take them too serious and cut others some slack.

I’d say that’s a healthy approach to things and one that everyone should be able to find some common ground in right? If all of humanity collectively unlenched a bit once in a while about their “way”. Maybe we’d end up with less decapitations and bombings.

But apparently this is against the agenda of the average christian church pastor. Apparently posting articles like these causes you to be called aside to receive a stern talking too. He found it necessary to point out that spreading ideas like these might be bad and confusing to the newcomers.

What newcomers? And what’s confusing? Suddenly when someone visited your church they’re automatically considered to be a convert? And those so called newcomers can not be subjected to ideas that aren’t yours? What are you going to do, lock them up until they learned to interpret existence and everything in it your way?

*cough*CULT*cough*

To close:
In all seriousness, if you find in ANY way shape or form that the church you attend shows any sign of oppressiveness towards ideas that are humane, loving towards others, and open minded, leave that place. If you are like me, a searcher of truth and honesty you will be dissapointed and disillusioned sooner or later with that place so you might as wel save yourself a lot of heartache and get going. Sadly there are more power hungry pastors out there then you’d like to know. Also, if you find that some church gatherings are awkward and leave a lot to be desired, don’t go and be honest about it. And don’t let anyone shame you or talk you into going, that is a shame on them, not you. God never wants you to go to any of these meetings if they don’t feel natural to you. God never needs you to share your personal feelings, thoughts or history with anybody from “church” in order for Him to work with it. Don’t be too trusting of “churchleaders”, they have to earn your trust just like anybody else. And they can also lose it like anybody else.

God bless you on your journey through life, I hope you’ll be safe and spared from situations like these.

 

Good flock, wicked sheppard.

Holy moly, what a title!

Alright grab a spoon, lets digg in. Now before you think “Oh boy more assisination of character of mister mc-pastor face, just find a better church or don’t go at all already”. I do want to note that I do this because I want to heed people from damage that’s been done to me.

You’ve heard it before that a warned man is worth two. I actually hate that saying, it’s so old fashion and it always seems to be used in a context of “I told you this, now respect my superiority”. At any rate I’m going to be a hypocrite and tell you some stuff now. (you can respect my questionable superiority if you want to afterwards…I wouldn’t recommend it though).

I’m in a time of winding down from a church community that, I dare say so myself, helped build from it’s early days. I was a young naive believer that attented every service and gave it my all. And it’s the first time I’ve come across this situation. Friends of mine that are in the same boat, or rather used to be, have more expierience and aren’t as suprised at all of this as I am.

They kind of treat it as “oh well, lets move onto the next one until that crashes and burns”. And I understand their sentiment and point of view at this, since most of them have been raised christian. I wasn’t in a sense that my parents never forced me anything in terms of believing this or that, or going to church. We just live life and make the best of it. Which looking back now, I might as wel have kept on doing eventhough I did learn allot during my stint with christianity. A lot of things about forgiveness, and for those behind the pulpit the words “practice what you preach” comes to mind. And also a lot about how you don’t run a community, learn from the mistakes of others so to speak.

Here’s some of those mistakes:

-Keep it human/keep it fun:

From time to time I’d try to break the mold a bit by having a little fun…which was frowned upon because church is serious business and all fun is off the devil. For example one time I brought a watering can to church (an empty one) to use during prayer as we “poured the holy spirit” onto someone. Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or the time I’d show up to church wearing bearface slippers…Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or whenever the preacher asks a question towards the crowd, regardles of the question shout back “Jesus is the answer, it always is”…try it you’ll get some hilarious results and make the congregation realise how futile most of the preached material really is.

-Show some gratitude:

This one goes out to the pastors, deacons, …anyone who feels like they somehow need to have a title of some sort pinned on themselves. This one goes out to all of you, but especially pastors and similar types of leaders. If the people from church help out with something, no matter how small or insignificant. Say thanks every once in a while.
I can’t tell you how many times I spent my valuable free time setting up sounds systems for church, trying to get their podcast recording working, picking up a mixingdesk, dropping in on a instrument when the “oh so stellar” worship team isn’t complete. Only to get the stink eye from the pastor when the music actually started getting some feeling to it. Or even just cleaning up without them asking me for it, locking the door behind them and turning off the lights….All of that stuff without a single sign of appreciation. The congregation ppl are nice, but the ones in charge…that’s a diffirent story. And that seems to go for most christian organisations around here. Grumpy people with a feeling of entitlement.

-“your flock” is more important:

Another one for the leaders. I’ve seen it up close, the sweet and innocent christian couple that wants to build a christian community. They cared, and gave it their all trying to help people from their worldviews and beliefs, and regardless of what those beliefs are, I can atleast appreciate an honest effort to help others. But…

As the community grew into a church, they wanted more connections to other churches, to other leaders, preachers, programs, networks, events, …
And the time spent on the local people made way for some sort of delusion of rockstardom within this subcommunity. Where they’re too busy sucking up to that one big shot pastor from france, or the united states…or they’re suposed to be atleast…meanwhile I saw what’s his face trying to act natural and a false prophet. At any rate, if you wanna serve your people…serve your people. Building a network and reputation by sucking up to the big shots should be the verry least of your worries (take a BIG note here all of you evangelical/charismatic pastors).

-Challenge ideas:

Don’t swallow just anything your favorite pastor/ suposed friend preaches. Challenge him, let him know you’re watching his steps and taking note of his theological views while critically analising them. Anyone who’s standing behind the pullpit week after week quickly finds himself running out of material and that’s when they turn too:

-Copying from other preachers their books. And if you know christian literature from the christian bookstore you know it’s lazy, unimportant bullcrap that’s there just because.

-Making up their own stuff as they go allong, and usually it starts with something small to break the mold but as they gotta have a little shock value every once in a while they up the crazyness of their statements…until they run into a wall when you confront them with it.

-Everybody is awesome:

I’ve seen it plenty of times, the people who live their live more “on fire for the lord” or “christian” … in other words people who live like christian versions of Ken and Barbie. Tend to get more “real” friendship from the church leaders (even if it’s little real to begin with). The guy who gets hung over every once in a while gets the pitty friendship until they start feeling like “dang this guy doesn’t seem to wanna change”. If you don’t see the pastor hanging out with a hooligan of some sort…avoid this church. If you see the pastor only high fiving Ken and Barbie couples, that should set of your bullshit detector.

-Go play outside with the other kids:

And finally if the church isn’t capable of going outside and beeing among “the world” without beeing awkward about it. Or if they can’t go out and actually do a humanitarian act of selflesness every once in a while, call them out on it. The world has had enough of religious hypocrites and so have I.

In closing, don’t get too attached to churches, they are bound to dissapoint and fall appart after a while anyway. Probably God’s way of saying “this shit ain’t healthy, move on and try again”.

This is Angryfish guy saying

poodlepoops…

because why not.

The good old days

I was reading this post by Ben Irwin

http://benirwin.me/2015/05/21/6-ways-mainline-churches-should-respond-to-decline/

And it trigered something in me. Memories of young people sitting in a living room just having a good time and enjoying just talking about God, just dreaming up ideas about how we could take the gospel to the people.

Heck we’d even delve into a little prayer and God permit a little prophecy on the side from time to time. It all seemed to innocent and refreshing.

And as time passed we moved onto the next place, where we even got to have our own little rock concerts…well the music wasn’t quite where it needed to be but hey, atleast we were jamming for God and it was still fun and exciting. There was even talks of taking our worship to the bars, to the people on the streets…

I was a brand new christian myself and as such kind of naive. I really felt like this could be the direction for my life for a while. I was genuinly excited for the adventures to come.

And then it all came to a screeching halt. Rock music had to make way for more prayer meetings and more bible studies. …But instead of hanging out and talking about life and God like we did in the beginning, now we all of a sudden had dvd’s and programs. A bit more stern and robotized. Just a little bit more…controlled into the directions they wanted.

And word got out of our new little church group so other christians started joining up. People that were tired of those old conservative chruches who we’re just aching for something new. We welcomed them with open arms and hearts…because hey, no way our church would become stale and boring like those others right?

How wrong I was.

It quickly became apparent that our church became nothing more then a group to drop of christianitys local misfits and youngsters. And an easy place for passer throughs to quickly get some worship going until their travels took them to their next destination.

I stopped going little by little. Every time I got rejected by yet another christian girl it was just another shove out of the door for me. Everytime I had to explain these people how good quality music is not made the way hillsong and the likes do it…another shove out of the door. The more mainstream church culture became the focal point of it all. And the more this little group seemed to tap into the mainstream chruch culture the more it died for me.

Until there came a point of total disconnect and bitterness.
I almost forgot there used to be good times. I did bring it up a while aggo but was met with “oh but in order to grow we have to let go of the past”…how beautifully quaint and empty.

They have their bigger location now, and they have their weekly attendance showing up…good for them. But one by one, all of the people that made this church what it is today are packing their baggs and leaving. That should mean something. That should raise some allarms.

But the “leaders” won’t even show the common courtesy of asking why. Sad. Verry sad.

So if you’re like I was back then. You’re part of a small group of christians and things are genuinly fun. It adds to your life when you hang out with these people and you look forward to the next meeting.

DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN!!!!!! => TO KEEP IT THAT WAY <=!!!!!!!

I know the pastor, leader, or whatever he calls himself would love bigger attendance and a bigger building to justify bigger tithings to be paid. But trust me, it’s not worth it. Because the good and innocent times you are having right now…will die a slow and painfull death.

And you may think your churchgroup is going to be diffirent and that you and your friends will stand the test of time. And you may, if you keep your eyes open and your senses sensible.

But don’t let it be ruiend…for the love of a donut DON’T aspire to become the next Marshill, Hillsong united, … or whathaveyou kind of church. Keep it small and innocent.

People say showbizz will kill you once you get too big… church is not a hair diffirent. Not a SINGLE hair diffirent. If not worse.

This is angry fish…also a bit bitter now.