Are Christians Losing Hope?
Growing up, it was a rare occurrence to not see me on the front pew of church. I grew up in a heavily christian family. My grandfather was a free will baptist preacher, my grandmother cooked countless meals for church fellowship dinners, my mother was the pianist, and my father ran the electronics / sound for the church. So, as you can imagine, church was very central to my life.
As I got older, not much changed. At one point in my life, my family and I were in between churches. My grandparents had resigned from the church they were serving at and moved about two hours away to another church where they felt like they were called to.
This was a time in my life where I wasn't in church. I remember missing several services or just watching some recorded service on our television. We eventually found a church near where we lived and have been going there ever since (a little over a decade now).
I have moved away from my parents now and am on my own. I will admit that I have been out of church for awhile, but have had a hard time to commit to re-attending. There are multiple factors that are influencing this which I plan to discuss in time.
First off is the fact that I am an over full time college student who also has a part time job. Recently, my job has been scheduling me full time hours with no extra pay or benefits. This has been emotionally and mentally draining for me. The only days I really have off are Sundays which makes it even harder to commit to getting ready and going to church.
Saying that, however, one good thing did come out of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 and that is live streaming of church services. Honestly, it's hard to believe that more church services weren't being live streamed until the pandemic. This allowed me to stay connected to my church while also getting in some relaxation time.
I will say that the fellowship between fellow christians is what I missed most and I still missed it even with the live stream. If you have ever gone to a church in the southern United States, you will understand the next factor pretty well. People in southern churches tend to be really friendly. They love to check up on you and make sure you're doing okay. This may seem all loving and great, but the problem I discovered is when you are from a very christian family and kind of drift away from church, they tend to get critical of why you aren't attending church physically anymore.
If only I had a dollar for every time a church member messaged me or told me "we really miss you and your husband in church". Maybe I am reading too much into this, but this makes me feel awful when christians say this to me. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, as if not going to church as a christian is just as bad as murdering someone. My mother used to tell me that if someone feels guilty, it's because they are feeling conviction and need to repent for their sins.
So what? I'm some sinner because I haven't been to a church service physically in months? Keep in mind that I do tune in to the live streaming of the service. Usually the comments of "missing you in church" don't bother me this much, but recently I had a lady from the same church, ask me "well when are you going to be back in church?" This really rubbed me the wrong way. It honestly made me not want to go to church anymore.
I'm sure she meant it in goodwill, but it certainly didn't come off that way. My husband told me the other day that it only takes six words to keep someone out of church and that is: "We miss you guys in church." It's become a degrading phrase in my eyes and my husbands and I hope christians will think of how their words come across to both believers and nonbelievers.
There is one factor that I would like to talk about. The biggest reason I quit church is because the sermons every Sunday. They weren't offensive to me at all. The problem I had was the endgame was the same. Damnation was always brought up and it made it hard to see any hope. In my experiences, the only argument for God that christians have presented is Hell. In the few churches I grew up in, the reason to believe in God is so you don't go to Hell. I hate the fact that Hell is the first thing to get brought up as why someone should accept Christ into their heart.
The point of God, in my studies, is that he is hope, light, and love. Through his love, we have hope in an eternal promise land. That is the goal for us christians. We hope to spend eternity with him and to get as many others to join us as we can. So, why are christians diverting from their path of love and always preaching about damnation. Do not get me wrong, of course teaching about damnation and hell is important, but we should also teach about God's love, his hope, but more importantly his word. the Bible is a sacred text that holds wisdom from God. I hope to find a church that gains people through more than just Hell and damnation. I want to help people find God through his love and to teach them to live their holy life based on his words of wisdom, not my own.
© 2021 Danielle Star
KC McGee from Where I belong on July 24, 2021:
Danielle Star, I can understand your feelings regarding going to church. But what is missunderstood by many "Christian is that Church is not a place where you go too. True church is something that is deep within you. It is your deep relationship with our Father in heaven and in our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is the absolute BEST form of worship. It is also the most important form of worship. It gives you the most direct relationship we have with our Father in Heaven. It lets Him know that first you acknowledge His existance and further reveals your faith in Him. You do not need to go to church to do this. Because you personally can pray anywhere. Because church is within you.
That is not to say that you can not have fellowship with like minded individuals,nor does that mean that you should not or can not fellowship or share the gospel with others. Remember the Aposltes did it all the time. And the great thing about it is it can happen anytime and anywhere for all day or just a few minates. That is church. With that said there is something else just as important that needs to be said.
In Matthew 6:33 NKJV Jesus said the following: 33 But SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
I have not seen any "church" anywhere that you can go to where the subject of God's Kingdom is the mean focus of the "Chruch" or that it's the main focus of their teachings. And yet Jesus commands us to do so. It was the main focus of His teachings. If you read the first four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, luke and John you will notice that the Kingdom of God (heaven) is mentioned 114 times. 94 of those times it was mentioned by Jesus in his own words. And yet, in the four Gospel, Jesus mentioned "Church" only 3 times.
Here's the problem as I see it. "Christian" put far more focus on being "members" of a church (you go to), than being citizens of in Kingdom in heaven. Why is that? Because most clergies have no idea what the Kingdom of God is and don't understand how one enters the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Clergies are far to focus on going and supporting the "Church they go to".
In my 20 years of deep study in the Bible I realized that as a citizen of God's heavenly Kingdom, I DON'T need to go to "church" to have a deep relationship with our Father in Heaven or with our Lord Jesus Christ. I can pray to our Father anytime and anywhere. I can fellowship with like minded individuals and spread the Gospel of the Kingdom just as I have done so with you.
Many blessings to you Danielle