Have you been hurt by someone in your church? Have you lost trust in the decisions of the leaders of your church? Do you struggle with wanting to go to church because you feel hurt and lonely? Trust me, after almost twenty years of ministry, I get it. I have been there. My family has been there. Do you want to give up on your church but your spouse wants to stay? Do you want to give up, but God hasn’t directed you to leave? Here are 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Church Again.
Why should you give your church a second chance?
You are frustrated. You are hurt. Why should you give these people a second chance? Why shouldn’t you just shake the dust off of your feet and move on?
As Christians, we are called to pursue unity in Christ. The fellowship of believers is one of the hallmarks of the church. As Christians, we are called to pursue reconciliation. The Bible tells us that if we come to the communion table and realize that our brother has something against us, we are to leave and be reconciled first and then return.”
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
How to Fall in Love with Your Church Again?
#1 Confess Your Sins
If we were having coffee and you told me that your church was full of sinners, I would absolutely agree with you. All churches are filled with sinners. As Christians, we are called to leave our sinful ways behind and to pursue Christ. Christians should resist sin and be intentionally be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42
But before we can remove the speck from someone else’s eye, we are called to remove the log from our own. If we want our prayers for our church to be transformed, we need to confess our personal sins. If we want others to confess their sins, we need to model the vulnerability of confessing our sins as well.
#2 Fall in Love with Your Church by Filling Your Cup
Are you upset and disappointed with your church because you don’t feel fed? Do you not feel like you are getting what you need from your church?
Here is the deal. The purpose of the church is to make disciples. We can’t stay baby Christians expecting others to feed us. As maturing Christians, we have to start feeding ourselves. Seek out the teaching, resources, and relationships that will help you grow deeper as a Christian.
The church is the bride of Christ. We know that marriage is not two halves that make a whole, but two wholes that come together. You can’t expect others to fill your spiritual cup. No one can do that for you. Your relationship with God is something that you have to work out for yourself with fear and trembling. If you want to fall in love with your church again, you have to renew your spiritual life.
#3 Is Your Church Missing Something? Create It
As we mature as Christians, our focus is not on what the church can do for us but how we can serve others. If you feel that there is a ministry or program that your church is missing, volunteer to lead and make it happen.
If you feel that there is a need that exists, what are you willing to do to meet that need? Instead of being frustrated that there isn’t a women’s Bible study that meets your needs, start one. There might be other women who have the same challenge as you and would love a new Bible study. Leading and serving others help us grow in our faith.
#4 Find it Elsewhere
Your church can’t be all things to all people. No church is going to be perfect or be a perfect fit. Your church might have amazing programs for kids and a great mission program. The only thing this is missing is a daytime Bible study. If there isn’t enough interest at your church, it is okay to go to a program at another church.
Our church youth group has many members that go to churches that are too small to have a youth group. These students are welcome at our church because we are all apart of the same Body of Christ.
Do you love your pastor’s teaching but wish that your church’s music was more contemporary? Perhaps, if you went to another church’s evening worship service that would meet that need and allow you to be more content with your church. If you want to fall in love with your church again, don’t expect it to meet all your needs.
#5 Fall in Love with Your Church Through Prayer
Prayer can change the world and it can change our hearts. When we are frustrated or upset with our church, our first action should be to pray for our church. If you want to fall in love with your church again, pray for your church.
We worship the God who led His people out of Egypt, who parted the Red Sea, and who made the walls of Jericho fall. We worship the Christ who performed miracles of healing and resurrection. Our God can certainly transform a church if it is His will.
Spiritual strongholds are broken with prayer. Miracles are a result of prayer. If you are longing for your church to grow, pray for her growth. If you are longing for your church to be bold, pray for her to overcome fear. If you are hurting because of sinful patterns, pray for your church’s healing and for yours.
Choose to Fall In Love with Your Church Again
My mother taught me that, in marriage, love is a choice that you make every day. No church is perfect and we have to make the choice to love our church. Sometimes, we have to choose daily to love our church.
We can’t expect our church to meet our every need, nor is that the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is to make disciples and to reach new people with the gospel.
We must examine if our unhappiness is really with the church or, more rightly, with our own spiritual journey. We can’t blame our church for our own spiritual stagnation. I have seen for too many church members hurt their church and church leaders, when what they really need to do is look inward at themselves.
Church conflict can be painful – for church leaders and church members. We have to discern whether the hurtful decisions were made out of fear or because the leaders are pursuing kingdom purposes. The questions you need to ask yourself are: Is the Gospel preached? Is this a pattern of behavior? Is the church focused on itself or on serving others? Is the pastor treated as an employee or a valued leader? Are new people truly welcomed? Ultimately, the purpose of the church is to equip the saints to reach others with the Gospel.
Don’t give up easily on the church. These people are also people that Christ was willing to die for, just like you. In our throw-away culture, let us slow down and be gracious in our church membership choices. Let us love the Bride of Christ.