I had somewhat of a shocking conversation with a friend who had led a successful church for over 3 decades. I had not communicated with him for a long time and it was good to see him. He is a wonderful, well-respected pastor both by his church and the community. His ministry and church situation is everything many younger leaders would aspire to. It is a great church with good programs, a nice building, influential people and a wonderful staff. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while and when I greeted him he said something very unexpected, “You may not have heard it yet but I am officially and really retiring now.” The next words that came out of his mouth shocked me, “I’m tired of feeding fat lazy Christians. I want to get on and do something significant in the next phase of my life.”
“I am really retiring now. I am tired of feeding fat lazy Christians. I want to get on and do something significant in the next phase of my life.” Retiring Pastor
It was unexpected because this man was one of the kindest well-respected leaders I know. He is known for his gentle approach to pastoring. My response to him was a little surprising to me and somewhat prophetic, “I hear ya! If we see our role as building a church to please and attract consumer Christians then we will become spiritual chaplains of people’s narcissism.” He agreed wholeheartedly.
This interaction made me think of a satirical Christian website’s post about the absurdity of how consumer Christians approach leaving a church titled, “Babylon Bee Signs You Should Find A New Church Home.”
Consumer Christianity is the polar opposite of the implications Jesus described in following Him, “Lay your life down…lose your life for My sake…serve others…take up your cross…forsake all and follow Me.” May this realization of consumer Christianity stir something of the zeal of God in us to fulfill the reason Jesus laid down His life. He didn’t lay His life down to have a people zealous for their own interest (consumer Christianity) but His. Titus 2:13-14 looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.
Babylon Bee Signs You Should Find A New Church
December 21, 2016
“How do I know if I should leave my church?”
It’s a question everyone wonders from time to time—and not one to take lightly. Transitioning between churches can be a messy time in the life of the Christian and his or her family and church body.
So how do you know if it’s time to say “adiós”? The Babylon Bee is here to help, with five meticulously researched and peer-reviewed signs that you should leave your church behind.
- The full-service cafe discontinues your favorite seasonal drink. If winter rolls around and the coffee shop in the foyer decides not to run its usual peppermint mocha promotional, it’s time to start Googling “good churches in my area.” It’s a sure sign that the church has abandoned the faith once delivered to the saints. (This should go without saying, but if your church doesn’t have a full-service coffee shop, its lampstand has been removed long ago).
- The church fails to immediately respond to your weekly helpful comment card feedback. When you say “jump,” your church should say “how high?” You pay their salaries after all—meaning they work for you. Pastors that don’t immediately make major changes to the worship experience, their preaching style, the decor of the building, or the genres of music on offer based on the fifteen helpful comment cards you turn in each week are not expressing love for the brethren, which may indicate they’re not saved at all.
- Someone expresses concern that you missed the last eighteen services. A church that shows interest in regular church membership is like a creepy ex-girlfriend that can’t let go. Can you say “red flag?” Run, don’t walk, away from this aberrant and apostate congregation.
- The men’s retreat features fewer than twenty fully automatic rifles. There’s nothing more disappointing than gearing up for your church’s annual men’s retreat only to discover it’s nothing more than a couple days of Bible teaching, prayer, and fellowship. In fact, Jesus Himself rebuked the church at Laodicea for being lukewarm, which scholars believe indicates their men’s ministry never once went on a week-long hunting expedition in the Yukon. (Women, substitute “fully automatic rifles” with “crafting tables.”)
- The pastor faithfully preaches the Bible on a weekly basis. Pastors who keep sticking to the same faithful presentation of the Word of God each week lack imagination, honestly. How can your church be a fun, exciting place with engaging programs and appealing special events if the pastor guy keeps rambling on about sin, repentance, and new life in Christ, while systematically preaching and teaching the Scriptures? Think about it.
Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list—there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate reasons for leaving a church, especially if the pastor isn’t making a concerted effort to appease your every whim and earn your business. But if your church lines up with any of the above points, there’s a really good chance it is time for you to move on.
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