Author credit: A fellow Rogue Millennial that wishes to remain anonymous
My wife and I recently quit going to church… for good.
Now before we get in to why, let’s talk about some things that are important to know:
1) I am a lesbian.
2) I am happily married to my wife for 8 years.
3) I am a Christian.
But this blog post isn’t about my gayness, so once the shock of it all wears off let’s talk about the topic at hand.
About a month ago, my wife and I came home from work one night and made a (seemingly quick) decision on something I think we both had been kicking around for quite some time- quitting church. We realized that something as simple as sitting down for dinner or enjoying a time of singing or reading the Bible together had become “back-burner” ideas that just got drowned out in the sea of leaders meetings, church services, food pantries, and hospital visits… we no longer enjoyed being members of the church. We were worn out, unhappy, irritated with our brothers and sisters, and realized that we were trying to fix problems for people that they should have been fixing for themselves.
Now, some of this was our fault- it’s easy to get sucked in to trying to fix everything for everyone, and it was our decision to get involved at that level. But some of it stemmed from a common misconception that the institution of church is so important that members should give everything to make sure it succeeds. This is an insidious thought process that traps people in to believing that the Gospel is for bringing people to church instead of bringing people to Jesus. So we give and give and give until there’s no more time for anything and “church” consumes our lives.
Now if you don’t hear anything else I say, hear this- the Gospel is for family. On a personal level, it’s about being adopted into Christ’s family. On a corporate level, it’s about bringing the Gospel and its incredible power to your family. You see, the original church was nothing more than… family. What did Jesus say about His disciples in Matthew 12 and Luke 8? He said they were His mother and brothers, and as such, they were the focus of His attention on earth. He spent all of His time with them, and taught them patiently and personally. You will notice that Jesus did not take everyone He healed with Him once they were healed or experienced the Gospel. Neither did the disciples. The Gospel was never about “growing the church” to them- it was about being part of Jesus’ family.
Look, I’m not saying that everyone should just pack up and leave church. But truthfully, our families should be the focus of our ministry efforts, and our institutional churches should never take over our lives. Maybe one day my wife and I will go back to “church”, but not until our families are healed and whole in Christ. Maybe if all focused on our families, our churches will grow in numbers in response…